A Refund for Coronavirus

Among the chaos and cancellations that came with COVID-19, a serious question came into consideration: should colleges refund their students? Students all over the country continually worry about their financial well-being, especially since the majority of them are being denied stimulus checks. The lack of compensation has been the topic of discussion: Should schools should refund at least a portion of a student’s tuition.

The university has refunded room and board for students, but our tuition covers much more than that. Full-time students have noticed the plethora of campus resources that are not available to them, despite still being funded by tuition money. For example, an art student in Washington had to leave campus and did not have any art materials at home. She left behind necessities such as canvasses, paints, and solvents.. The same thing can be seen happening at our own university. We pay for countless supplies and amenities that we can no longer use, so wouldn’t at least a partial reimbursement be in order? Who is using the recording studios in Dodds? We are not using the Rec Center, library, labs or even regular classrooms and still we have paid around $40k before room and board. If refunds cannot be given, perhaps a free credit or two is doable? Some students are even starting to sue their own universities.

Kunal Pasrija of Northwestern University came up with a great analogy. He said, “Would you pay $75,000 for front-row seats to a Beyoncé concert and be satisfied with a livestream instead? It doesn’t make sense for universities to charge full price while delivering a fundamentally different product than their customers paid for.” He also said that universities often have multi-million dollar endowments, some of which could be used to fall back on. Shouldn’t they use them in times of crisis (such as this one). And if they won’t, why should we donate to them?