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Amid Virsus Shutdowns, Universities Offer Partial Refunds But Not Full Tuition

After the coronavirus pandemic prompted the closure of many college universities, students all over the country started petitions on Change.org requesting tuition refunds after they were forced to move to online classes.

With little precedent, universities continue to contemplate if students should get refunds. 

On March 27, students filed a lawsuit against Arizona Universities (University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University) because they refused to refund the cost of room and other campus fees for the spring semester.

However, many other universities have offered refunds for unused rooms in dorms and parking passes, including California State University, University of California, and State University of New York. 

“As of right now, the campuses are working diligently to the best of their abilities to provide the highest levels of instruction,” CSU spokesman Michael Uhlenkamp said.

“We are not in the position where a tuition refund would be appropriate to discuss.”

The UC system released a statement saying it “will continue to charge tuition and mandatory system and campus-based fees for all enrolled students,” according to Edsource.org

“California college officials insist that the online classes provide the same material, ample opportunities for interaction with faculty and the same diploma credits as more traditional classes do even if the delivery methods are very different and some students and professors miss the face-to-face connections,” said Larry Gordon, a writer for Edsource.org.

SUNY released a similar statement about no tuition refunds on their website stating, “SUNY will be transitioning in-person classes to distance learning, or other appropriate modalities, so that students may continue to have their educational needs met for Spring 2020. Therefore, it is SUNY’s expectation that all students will have the opportunity to complete their educational requirements.”

They will, however, refund or credit housing fees, meal plan fees, and other campus services that were discontinued. 

Still, that does not stop students from creating more petitions asking for refunds. UCI student Rosie Oganesian’s petition has over 7,000 signatures asking for lower the tuition for all universities.

NYU Tisch’s petition, started by Jack Ford and Noah Ozuna, has over 4,000 signatures. The status of refunds and how universities are coping with the pandemic changes everyday. To view the latest live updates, visit Inside Higher Ed

COVID-19: Universities Must Compensate Students for Their Losses