UB has not yet provided a specific date that fee refunds will be applied to student accounts, but a university spokesperson said students will see prorated refunds “prior to the end of the semester.”
The prorated fee refunds –– the percentage of money that will be refunded from the total fee –– will be “calculated on an individual basis” and “based on actual services provided,” according to UB spokesperson Kate McKenna.
McKenna wrote in an email that UB Student Accounts and administration are still determining “how best to prorate” fees for different areas, but prorated rates will likely vary between different fee areas. UB is looking into refunds for students’ parking and transportation, athletics, recreation and campus life fees.
UB will not refund students for their tuition, as classes are ongoing through “distance learning” formats. But students who vacated campus for the semester will receive “a prorated credit” for their on-campus housing contracts and meal plans for March 23 until the end of the contracts. Students who live off-campus with meal plans will also receive a prorated credit. Some students think UB is handling refunds appropriately, while some said they feel UB should refund students’ tuition.
Alexander Marino, a sophmore civil engineering major, said he thinks refunding certain fees “is in the right direction” but said students should receive partial refunds for tuition as well. He said he thinks “distance learning” is insufficient because his labs were cancelled and he’s struggling to adapt to remote-learning. He said his professors are making tests more difficult to combat “mass cheating.”
“Students who pay to come to school deserve to be refunded for at least the portion of the semester that hasn’t taken place on campus,” Marino said. “... Remote learning limits the education and practice required by many majors.”
UB also rescinded the late payment fees for March and April, and will not place holds on accounts for students with outstanding spring semester balances, according to an April 1 email.
If student accounts have a positive balance after credits are applied, UB will issue refunds. McKenna wrote that students who anticipate refunds should enroll in direct deposit to speed up the process. McKenna wrote that “it is anticipated” that students who wish to apply their credits to next semester will have that option.
Nimish Manoj Naik, a junior biological sciences major, continues to live on campus with an “Any 19” meal plan so he doesn’t expect a refund for room and board. Naik said he thinks it is “appropriate” to distribute refunds based on “actual services provided,” but he wishes UB communicated more quickly with students about refunds.
“What I’m not so happy about is the time that [UB] is taking to relay the information. They should send out emails about the refunds as soon as they can.”
Adam James and Bobby Jellinick contributed reporting.
Julian Roberts-Grmela is a senior news editor and can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @GrmelaJulian.
Julian Roberts-Grmela is a senior news editor for The Spectrum and an English and philosophy major. His favorite book is “White Teeth” by Zadie Smith and he hopes that one day his writing will be as good as hers.