University of Minnesota regents revisited a plan for student room and board refunds on Tuesday, agreeing to give more money back to students who had to move off campus because of the pandemic.
Students on the Twin Cities, Duluth and Rochester campuses will now receive full refunds for unused housing and dining services prorated from March 16 through the end of the semester. Crookston and Morris students will receive full refunds for these services from March 23 through the end of the semester.
Students will likely receive hundreds more dollars under this proposal than they would have with a previous plan the board passed Friday. That proposal prorated room and board refunds from March 28 through the end of the semester. The revision reflects a proration to the dates that students on each campus would have returned from spring break had the pandemic not occurred.
The new refund model underscores “our shared desire to support our students, anchored in as much clarity and consistency as our rapidly changing circumstances allow,” Gabel said.
The U approved and then revised its new room and board refund model following a wave of criticism from students who said they were being shortchanged for unused housing and dining services.
The university’s first refund proposal offered a flat amount of $1,200 to Twin Cities students and $1,000 to those on its system campuses. Most Twin Cities students pay more than $5,000 per semester for housing and meal plans. The U brought the prorated refund model forward last week after being criticized by students, regents and state lawmakers.
The latest revision passed Tuesday came after U student government leaders pushed back on the March 28 refund plan and urged the refunds to be prorated to the last day of spring break for each campus.
The U estimates it will lose $35.4 million by issuing the larger refunds. The original proposed proration of March 28 would have resulted in a $27.8 million revenue loss, U administrators said.
Students will also receive refunds for parking contracts, recreation center dues and fees for student services and transportation and safety.
“This is a virus that hit us with lightning speed. It has required lightning-fast decisions to be made,” said Regent Janie Mayeron. “I am happy that at the end of the day, we all know how to get to the right place.”