Hudson Buell, junior political science major, said in a text that he was charged a $105 online fee on MyRED for a class that was originally in person, but switched to exclusively online.
All online courses have a $35 per credit hour fee, according to Student Accounts. UNL students will receive a Fall 2020 Fee Reduction if their total Online Course Fees plus Program Facilities Fees are more than $722. Online Course Fees are listed as a mandatory fee for UNL undergraduate students, according to Student Accounts.
Buell said he is taking 15 credits this semester, including one class that moved strictly online and four classes that moved to a hybrid of online and in-person, but all of his classes were originally in-person. Buell’s one class going online puts him at $722 in fees because the class was three credit hours.
Leslie Reed, public affairs director of University Communication, said in an email that UNL administration recognizes that many students will be taking more online courses than usual this academic year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why the total fee amount is limited to $722.
The $722 total equals the average amount of combined program facilities and online fees paid by a student who takes one online course along with a typical in-person course load, according to Reed.
“This means, in effect, full-time students won’t be required to pay online fees for more than one online class,” Reed said.
Buell said he feels it is unfair for students to pay an online course fee when it is not their decision in the first place.
“I think it’s a little ridiculous that I get charged an additional fee when someone else decides to change their class to online,” Buell said. “If anything, classes should be cheaper.”
Justin Chase Brown, director of scholarships and financial aid, said in an email that the online course fee provides resources needed for developing and supporting both teaching and learning in a course that utilizes technology.
UNL students can contact Husker Hub about their individual student billing information, according to Nebraska Today.
Ingrid Haas, associate professor of political science and Buell’s professor for his class that moved online, said in an email that she moved both of her courses for the fall to online in June. Haas said UNL faculty were given the option to request remote work, which for faculty would include online teaching, just as students were given the options to request online classes.
Haas said she was not aware that by moving the courses online it would charge the students, because she is not involved in any decisions about tuition and fees.
Haas said students who enrolled in the in-person sections were automatically enrolled in the online versions and were notified about the change via email in June.
“They would have been free to drop the course at that point if they preferred to find a different course that would be meeting in person,” Haas said.