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2 Temple University Students Fighting For Partial Tuition Refund After COVID-19 Outbreak Forces College To All Remote Learning

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Temple University students who were forced to go fully remote due to a coronavirus outbreak are now pushing back on the price of tuition. A group of undergrads put together a social media site and are demanding a discount.

This semester, Temple University started with in-class learning.

"I was extremely excited. I was like, 'all right, we're doing this,'" senior Lynn Darby said.

Unfortunately, that lasted just two weeks and after an outbreak of COVID-19 on campus, all classes are now being taught online.

"It's been difficult to an extent," Darby said.

That's because Darby says online learning requests require more concentration and more restraint.

"Try to find out a system to hold yourself accountable with online learning and to teach yourself a lot of content too, considering you're not in the classroom," Darby said.

On top of that, many student services are limited on campus like full access to student labs, sports fields, and the gym.

"You can only register for limited equipment," Darby said. "So I just said forget about it, I'm going to get a gym membership downtown."

So Darby and his friend, junior Herby Boucard, think the university should cut a break on tuition for students this semester.

Does Boucard still consider Temple University affordable?

"For what we're doing now and the quality of remote education, I don't think so really," he said.

They've created an Instagram page, RefundUs_TU, and are collecting signatures demanding a partial refund of tuition.

"We're not having the same access to what we had previously," Boucard said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Temple pointed out the university has offered a tuition freeze "as a way of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic while maintaining the university's finances."

"Instituting a tuition freeze allowed Temple to save students money and keep the university financially viable during the pandemic," Temple spokesperson Ray Betzner said.

"Simply freezing tuition when tuition is already extremely high is not an answer when you're participating in remote learning," Darby said.

"It seems weird to me that we have classrooms empty, buildings empty and we're still paying the same amount," Boucard said.

The spokesperson also says the technology costs associated with creating virtual classes are significant and even with many classes online, the college still has fixed costs like building security, utilities, and maintenance as well as paying faculty and staff.

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