Students question if $1,200 compensates for lost experience

Miranda Jacobson, Editor

Sierra Nevada University provided all Incline undergraduate students with a one-time $1,200 reduction for the fall semester 2020 as a COVID financial relief measure, and the reactions were mixed among the staff and students.

This year, as a result of the ongoing pandemic, SNU began the fall semester online, with plans to resume on-campus classes Oct. 12. According to Shannon Beets, executive vice president and provost of Humanities, the total amount was decided based on the funds provided by the CARES Act, as well as other funding provided during the course of the pandemic.

Although for the first few weeks students will miss out on the traditional campus experience, Beets is optimistic that the adapted schedule will work.

“The location may be an asset,” she said, but she feels SNU is still able to market to potential new students through an experienced and educated faculty, applied learning, and lots of tools to promote creativity. For example, professor Mary Kenny mailed art sets to her students for them to be able to fully participate in their classes.

On the other side of efforts like this are students like senior Frankie Slattery, who is currently taking an outdoor leadership class, which is normally a heavily outdoor, hands-on class.

“The reduction in tuition is always appreciated,” Slattery said. “But it should definitely be more.” He says $1,200 doesn’t make up for the reduced personal value of his education.

“Even in courses I enjoy, I find it hard to get interested when it’s not in person. When I’m sitting at my house the distractions multiply and it’s even harder to focus on the course,” he said. “The ODAL teachers work extremely hard on planning and getting these trips organized, and to have them be on the on a computer while I sit on a couch is contradictory to the name of the course.”

Slattery isn’t the only student to feel that way. As an off-campus student, Slattery is past the point of the on-campus excitement, as well as the on-campus payment plan, but other students like sophomore Xanna Pederson, are now held up. Although she felt the dorm reductions of 40% this semester were much more reasonable, she felt that the COVID grant this semester wasn’t enough.

“I am taking anatomy and physiology with online labs, and I feel like I’m missing out on key learning opportunities,” she said. “The experience I am missing out on is worth more than $1,200.”

Both her and Slattery are on the same page with SNU’s successful ODAL program and their perception of missed opportunities due to COVID 19 that go with it.

“Being online, we are missing out on being outdoors, as well as creating longstanding relationships with peers and teachers,” Pederson said.