From preschool to 12th grade, most of us probably jumped for joy when school was canceled. But now that I am in college, whenever I get an email from a professor or see a sign posted on a classroom door saying class is canceled, I wonder whether I should be celebrating or feeling indignant.
Though there are some students who spend thousands of dollars on their college education to skip class or surf the web while in lecture, there still needs to be an expectation for instructors to come to class.
With tuition increasing and student debt exceeding $1 trillion, I think universities should consider a policy that ensures students get reimbursed if a significant number of classes are canceled for a course.
The cost for a 3-credit hour course is $1,146, which does not include fees related to the course. The course includes about 40 hours of in-class time so that a student would be paying $28.65 per hour. A student spends two hours and 40 minutes in class per week, which is about $76.40 per week per class.
For a class that takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour and 20 minutes each, a student would be paying $38.20 per class. If a professor canceled class just one time, that $38.20 went down the drain.
Instructors then have to either cut out material from the syllabus or squeeze it into the remaining class time. It does not matter where a student goes to school because it can happen anywhere. But with student debt becoming a major problem, maybe it’s time to ensure students are getting their money’s worth for classes.
Ohio State has never reimbursed a student for any canceled classes, said Brad Myers, the university registrar.
“I have worked here for a long time and have never seen any arrangement for students to be reimbursed for canceled classes, but it has also been rare for a class to be canceled except for unusual circumstances,” Myers said.
Typically, an instructor would find a substitute from his or her department to take over for the day, he said.
“Certainly unforeseen circumstances can come up and someone to sub isn’t always instantly available,” Myers added.
However, from my experience, there are instructors who do cancel class for various reasons such as illnesses, transportation issues and even personal issues. I think many of these reasons are understandable, but it’s also important that teachers do everything in their power to ensure class will be in session.
Tara Paranjpe, a second-year in neuroscience, said cancelling class is acceptable occasionally.
“It’s a nice little surprise now and then,” Paranjpe said.
But Paranjpe said if a professor continuously cancels class without explanation, students should get reimbursed.
“I’m not getting anything out of the class (if classes were canceled),” Paranjpe said. “I think if he (or she) does it more than half the semester it would be a problem, but if they do show they have personal problems then I can understand that.”
Ryan Sosby, a third-year in geography, agreed with Paranjpe.
“It wouldn’t be a big deal if it happened once but it would if it happened repeatedly,” Sosby said.
Therefore, universities should hold the expectation for students and teachers to come to class.