Students welcome increased refund with open arms

The Board of Regents adjusted President Joan Gabel’s student fee refund proposal to include money back for an additional 12 days.

Illustration by Eva Berezovsky

Eva Berezovsky

Illustration by Eva Berezovsky

Jiang Li

The University of Minnesota decided to refund students for fees dating back to March 16, giving students larger funds than what was originally proposed. 

The Board of Regents adjusted President Joan Gabel’s student fee refund proposal Tuesday to include an additional 12 days. The plan originally gave students a prorated refund beginning March 28, but now it has been moved back to the first day of online instruction amid student complaints. 

The refund plan grants students on all five system campuses a 100% refund on housing, meal plans, parking, recreation and safety fees. Meanwhile, students will also get a 50% refund of student services fees.

Many University students said they are satisfied with the decision, like University first-year graduate student Esteban Perez Cortez.

“This should add an extra boost to individuals who might have sensitive living situations or have to help with family finances,” Perez Cortez said. “The Board [of Regents] boasts about having a diverse student body, but this will help out more of the students who are neglected and forgotten about.”

To advocate for a better refund for students, ​the Minnesota Student Association released a statement on Sunday that called for the Board of Regents to refund fees based on prorated rates going back to the last day of spring break for each campus.

University sophomore Matthew Croft said he thinks a prorated refund based on the beginning of remote instruction is a fair and sensible way forward. 

“I hope the entire board will continue to show their support for the students, faculty and administration during this crisis,” Croft said.

Some University students are also seeking additional refunds for tuition and U-Passes, semester-long unlimited public transit passes.

In the past few weeks, University students have circulated a Change.org petition demanding the University grant a partial tuition refund and a partial refund of the Student Services Fee. The petition has received more than 3,200 signatures as of Wednesday. 

Though the 50% Student Services Fee refund was granted, the University does not anticipate across-the-board tuition refunds for the spring semester, said Caitlin Hurley, a University spokesperson. 

“Classes continue to be taught by our world-class professors for the remainder of the academic year, and students still have the opportunity to earn academic credit that advances them toward a University of Minnesota degree,” Hurley wrote in an email. 

In terms of a U-Pass refund, Metro Transit Public Relations Manager Howie Padilla said that they are evaluating the situation. 

“At this time, no final determinations have been made on a path forward,” Padilla wrote in an email.

University students who were studying abroad and had their University-sponsored programs suspended before completion are also eligible to receive a refund, Hurley stated in the email.

As of Wednesday, there were more than 418,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the U.S. and at least 14,000 deaths. The number of confirmed cases in Minnesota has jumped to 1,154, according to the New York Times.