Cornell University, a school with an endowment of $4.3 billion, apparently charges its students to use the Internet. That’s right, despite that fact that students are expected to use the Internet to research and communicate with students and professors, Cornell limits student bandwidth to 50GB/month. If students go beyond that they have to pay the school money to use the service.

Cornell sophomore Cristina Lara thinks this policy is quite unfair, writing that:

Cornell students in particular face a great deal of stress, and one of our outlets is to “surf the web”, read the news, watch movies, and make online purchases. By charging us for our internet usage, the Cornell University administration hinders our ability-and our willingness-to use the internet for recreational purposes.

If Cornell were situated in a major metropolitan area with a vast nightlife that could accomodate the interests of most, if not all, our undergraduates, then many Cornellians wouldn’t be so inclined to stay in their rooms and get on the internet. But that’s not the case. Cornell’s greek life dominates the social scene, making “nightlife” a dividing factor in the community.

Cornell students rely on the internet for recreational purposes, and are unwilling to pay the price for that any longer. While some students opt to partake in drug-related pastimes, other students stay in and watch movies, talk on Skype or iChat, or even just surf the web. We should not be penalized for this, and implore the Cornell University administration to completely eliminate its policy of charging students for the internet.

While it’s a little difficult to develop much sympathy for this girl (“I use the Internet a lot because I have no social life”), seriously Cornell?

You’re charging to use the Internet now? And you wonder why students are so unhappy there. This is a school that also charges students to use their own gym and print things out when they’re in the library. The Internet is a service that is free at virtually every other campus on earth else in the world.

And this is at a school that costs $57,000 a year. The Internet should probably be included in that fee.

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer