The University of Colorado regents have a creative solution for COVID-19 budget woes.
On Tuesday, the Regents passed a resolution establishing a new tiered tuition model, with various benefits for higher-paying
customers students. CU Regent Jack Kroll, D-Denver, thinks that the new plan will really excite “the young people on campus.” In an exclusive interview with Earth Muffins, Kroll shared the details and intent behind the new proposal.
Earth Muffins: Thank you for being with us today.
Jack Kroll: My pleasure.
EM: This seems to be a very controversial measure: it mandates easier grading and preferential conduct processes for Platinum Tuition® payers at all CU campuses. Can you explain the reasoning for such a drastic measure?
JK: Absolutely. Passing this resolution was a tricky decision for me. But our hands are really tied: CU is facing a dual crisis over the pandemic and our dependence on out-of-state revenue. Over 90% of our revenue comes from out-of-state students, and we know that without them we would crumple. In that sense, this Platinum Tuition® plan is really the only way to save our campuses.
EM: So, what’s in the Platinum Tuition® program?
JK: Our guiding philosophy behind the program was to make students pay extra for things that they never have paid for in the past. So, for example, Platinum members get to use Canvas while non-Platinum (or Brown) members’ classes are pushed back to Desire2Learn. Platinum members now can access our Twitch model: these students can donate to professors during their lectures to encourage better performance.
EM: In addition to the Platinum Tuition® program, the regents also passed a separate lootbox measure. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
JK: Sure, that program will really meet students where they’re at. We know that more and more young people are playing video games and maxing out their parent’s credit cards on games. Similarly, we’re hoping to corner that market and offer University of Colorado lootboxes for students. That way, they’ll spend all of their parent’s money on us instead.
EM: What makes the college experience different from a video game at this point?
JK: Well…really nothing at this point, CUB is just ten times more expensive and has worse DLC.
EM: Could you share a little more about what students can get out of lootboxes?
JK: Absolutely. The lootbox system is set up to provide a wide range of prizes for our students. Some of the high tier prizes include:
- The Grade Booster, which lets students increase any single class grade by a letter grade
- The Class Question All Access Pass, which permits a student to ask as many questions in their Zoom lecture as they’d like, at no fee*
- The Conduct Eraser, which removes any record of student conduct violations at CU
- EZ Registration™, which provides early-access course registration for any semester here at CU
* Without the Class Question All Access Pass, asking questions during Zoom lectures now costs $2 per letter.
EM: Wow, those sound like pretty awesome prizes. What are some of the less desirable rewards?
JK: Well, obviously, not everyone can get the good prizes because then we’d just go broke. Most of the prizes are things like a semester bus pass or a waiver to loft your bed in the dorms. The real low tier prizes give students free condoms or let students have 15 minutes of office hours with one of their TAs.
EM: Aren’t these just normal components of paying for tuition?
JK: Initially, they were, yes, but with this new payment structure, we are focusing more on breaking up the tuition components. We’re really encouraging students to either grind through school or pay their way out of it.
Lootboxes will be available in the campus bookstore for only $20 each, starting February 20.