U of M implements student refund plan due to COVID-19, stay at home order
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents on Friday approved a plan proposed by University President Joan Gabel to issue refunds to students due to changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and response.
The systemwide plan takes into account fees and expenses that students may have paid for things they no longer could use due to the pandemic and Gov. Tim Walz's stay at home order.
“Governor Walz’s statewide ‘Stay at Home’ order quickly changed the dynamics of how all Minnesotans live, learn and work. It also triggered the need for the University to revisit previous decisions to address this new way of operations, particularly for students who were told they could not return to campus,” said Board Chair Ken Powell. “I’m grateful for the decisive leadership President Gabel has shown throughout the University’s response to COVID-19. The plan approved by the Board today reflects our shared priorities to focus on students first as the University responds to this pandemic.”
The plan offers a 100% credit for charges related to student housing and access to university services, prorated from March 28, the first day of Walz's order, through the last day of finals. The expenses include:
- Housing and Residential Life services (housing, dining plans for on-campus and off-campus residents, flex-dine/dining dollars and voluntary meal plans);
- parking fees (on campuses with University-owned parking);
- recreation and wellness fee (the comparable fee in Rochester, from the YMCA, will not be charged in April and May);
- transportation and safety (fee only applies for Duluth and Twin Cities campuses), and;
- student services fee (will be refunded at 50% of fee that would have applied March 28 through the last day of finals in May).
The total refund for students will vary depending on their home campus and how they used services covered by the plan. Students won't have to take any action to receive their credit, as it will automatically appear in each students' individual account within a month. The university still recommends each student review the details of the plan to ensure they receive the proper credit.
“The rapid evolution of the public health response to COVID-19 has forced us to make significant, real-time decisions. I know these decisions affect many lives and I don’t take that lightly,” Gabel said. “Our world has continued to change since our initial decision on student services and fees and I’ve heard from our students during that time. As a tuition-paying parent, I welcome and appreciate student feedback. We considered what we heard and what we’ve learned and adapted our plan to reflect not only what students were requesting, but additional fees that we felt were fair to refund based on conditions. We will continue to take this approach as this unique public health challenge persists.”