University Announces Tuition Freeze for 2020–21 Academic Year, Does Not Address Calls for Tuition Reduction

UChicago for Fair Tuition, a student-led group that has advocated for a 50 percent reduction in all costs for students, considers the move a start but not enough.


Looking north from 55th Street at Hyde Park and the South Side, with the Loop in the distance.

By Daksh Chauhan and Avi Waldman

The University will not raise the combined total of tuition, housing, and other miscellaneous fees for the 2020–21 academic year, Provost Ka Yee Lee and Dean of the College John Boyer announced in an email to students and their families in the College on Monday. The email also said that the University will continue financial aid programs, like the No Barriers program, but did not release the finalized cost distribution for students in the College. 

“The University of Chicago remains deeply committed to ensuring that students from every background, regardless of financial need, can find a home here,” Lee and Boyer wrote. “We recognize the economic pressure currently felt by many College students and families. The University will continue to do what it can to support its community during this unprecedented time.” 

Instituting a tuition freeze meets one of the five demands of student group UChicago for Fair Tuition (UCFT), which for the past two weeks has advocated for a 50% reduction in all costs for students in the College regardless of their financial aid status. UCFT stated in a Facebook post Monday that administrators also decided to eliminate late fees for students who cannot pay tuition by April 29. However, organizers from the group say these measures to relieve the financial burden on students do not go far enough.  

“We are so glad to see the university meeting one of our demands, a tuition freeze, at the college level and for some masters programs,” UCFT organizer Julia Attie wrote in a statement to The Maroon. “However, the current financial crisis is affecting families NOW. We need immediate tuition relief and cancellation of fees for Spring Quarter.” 

Attie said the group is disappointed that UChicago’s leadership has not chosen to negotiate directly with students, and she confirmed that the planned tuition strike will go ahead in order to push the administration to meet UCFT’s full set of demands. “We’re currently preparing hundreds of students to withhold Spring Quarter tuition until the administrators actively engage with our demands calling for fair tuition, budgetary transparency, reinstituting part time status, and more.”