It’s been almost a month since students vacated campus and all classes moved online — and since Loyola student Milo Keranen started an online petition for Loyola to lower tuition for this spring semester. The petition amassed more than 2,000 signatures before being sent to Loyola officials.
Keranen, a junior double majoring in French and economics, said she started the petition for two reasons. She said one reason is many students work on-campus jobs or in the restaurant industry, meaning they might not have a stable source of income right now. She said as a result, some students might not be able to keep up with the high cost of tuition, especially if they’re paying for their own education.
Secondly, Keranen said “this isn’t what we signed up for.” She also said some students paid for on-campus resources, such as lab fees, but weren’t able to utilize those resources for the entire duration of the semester like they paid for.
“It’s out of Loyola’s control but I think they should be accommodating to students in this time,” Keranen said.
Since moving off-campus, Loyola administration has sent out multiple school-wide emails concerning campus finances.
On March 13, an email from the Office of the Bursar said “Loyola will reconcile all students’ housing and meal plan costs to reflect the shortened on-campus period,” and adjustments to housing, meal plans and other fees will appear on students’ accounts by the end of March. The email also said any resulting refunds would be issued in April. Development fees — which fund programs and services on campus — will also be refunded 44 percent, The Phoenix reported.
“The University is making every effort to keep as many students working remotely as possible, if they are able to perform their duties remotely at the direction of their manager,” another email sent by the Office of the President March 28 said.
When campus was vacated, the semester was more than halfway complete and students had already completed their midterm exams, Loyola spokesperson Anna Rozenich said in an email to The Phoenix. She said Loyola empathizes with students and educators as they “navigate these unchartered waters.”
“Loyola has taken many factors under consideration and refunded students’ housing and meal plan costs, as well as student activity fees, on a pro-rated basis,” Rozenich said.
Although Keranen said she was aiming for around 3,000 signatures before she sent the petition to university officials, she said she emailed the petition to the Office of the President with nearly 2,100 signatures. As of publication, she said she hasn’t received a response yet. President Jo Ann Rooney didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Keranen said she isn’t attacking Loyola because she knows this is out of everybody’s control.
“It’s more of starting a conversation with them and seeing what we can negotiate … to help students who are struggling during this time,” Keranen said.
One student who commented on the petition said it’s not fair for students to pay full price for online classes and no on-campus activities.
“Everything about my last semester here was pretty much taken away from me: my favorite classes I’ve ever taken, the senior send off activities, my last show with my Acappella group that I’ve been apart of for all four years, and possibly graduation,” the commenter wrote.
Another commenter wrote that “families are struggling during this challenging times and every bit helps.”
Keranen said she was inspired by students from other Chicago universities, such as DePaul University and Northwestern University, who started similar petitions last month, urging their administrations to lower tuition. DePaul’s petition has since acquired over 5,600 signatures and Northwestern’s has nearly 5,000 signatures.