This semester, my math professor required online homework, meaning each student had to pay a $100 in order to enroll and complete the coursework.
I realized how expensive this was compared to how much I paid for the course. My college provides enrolled students with unique student services for under $200. I checked the schedule and calculated how many students were taking mathematics during the fall 2019 semester. The number was 6,600 students. Almost 33 percent of these students were required to complete online homework, meaning that they were paying almost $250,000 a semester simply for doing online homework.
By calculating this number for every student enrolled in similar classes, it equates to students spending millions of dollars.
After calculating the data, I went to the administration to ask if they receive any of this money. They answered that the school does not. I was shocked.
I told myself there should be a way to provide the same services and not cost students millions of dollars. I asked the college if it could make the website for doing online homework more affordable or even free because of its usefulness to students and teachers. The answer was because of freedom in education, the college cannot force professors to choose a specific website.
Students should not tolerate these companies taking advantage of freedom in education in this way. My chemistry professor negotiated with the company, and they decreased the price by more than 30 percent. This is an example of a direct action a professor can take to lessen the financial burden on students.
I think this is a good start if all the professors would take this action.
However, to solve the problem completely, students and the college should encourage the teachers to use a free textbook, like the nonprofit educational initiative based at Rice University. Their mission is to give every student the tools they need to be successful in the classroom. I am full of hope students do not need to pay these millions of dollars next year.
Zuhair Belal, OCC student