Virginia Commonwealth U. Refuses to Refund Students for Services They Can’t Use

An employee at a money changer counts USD 100 bills in Manila on October 25, 2012. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS
AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS

Virginia Commonwealth University announced this week that it will not refund students for various services that they can no longer access during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. Students around the country have demanded refunds for on-campus services that they can no longer access such as fitness centers and libraries.

According to a report by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, students at Virginia Commonwealth University will not receive a refund of their mandatory student fees. Students demanded a refund of these fees after leaving campus to quarantine at home. Mandatory student fees typically fund on-campus resources that students can no longer access like fitness centers.

VCU President Michael Rao announced this week that the university will not refund tuition or student fees as a result of the switch to online learning. “Although we realize this is not the semester you or your faculty planned, it is the reality for college students in the United States and around the world,” Rao wrote in a statement. “Faculty, staff and administration have poured enormous effort and resources into making sure that courses can be completed, credits earned, degrees received and challenges surpassed.”

“Tuition and mandatory fees ensure that all of this happens and can continue to happen this semester; therefore, no refunds will be issued for tuition or mandatory fees,” Rao added.

Rao did announce, however, that the university would offer pro-rated refunds for campus housing and dining service plans. But VCU students say that the university has not yet done enough. One student said that she is “getting frustrated with the refunding predicament. It has been stressful and unsettling.”

Despite the impact of the crisis on American families, VCU is planning to raise tuition for incoming students. Rao announced this week that tuition will likely increase between one and six percent for the upcoming academic year.

“However, understanding the economic uncertainties that the COVID-19 crisis has caused, the budget office has also modeled other state funding scenarios resulting in a range of tuition increases between 1% and 6%,” Rao stated.

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