RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– With VCU moving to online classes for the spring semester, many students are upset that the college isn’t refunding any tuition or mandatory fees.
VCU says it will be issuing refunds/credits for housing and dining but will be keeping the fees paid for services such as libraries, technology, activities, the health center, etc.
On its COVID-19 website, VCU said, “Although VCU has moved to remote instruction for the Spring 2020 semester, we continue to provide essential services that promote, facilitate and support student learning in a remote environment.”
Students spoke out to 8News saying it doesn’t make sense for them to pay fees for things like the gym if they aren’t able to use the facilities.
“The university is withholding money from us that they don’t really need anymore,” Raelyn Davis, a VCU junior and member of student government told 8News.
However, Davis, who is home in northern Virginia, said she is paying hundreds of dollars for services she cannot access.
“Students don’t feel like they’re getting their holistic VCU experience because it’s all online,” she said.
A breakdown of Davis’ payments to the university for the Spring 2020 semester include a $1,017.50 University Spring Fee. VCU said that is a flat rate students pay to support things like recreational sports facilities, student commons and career and counseling centers. Other fees Davis paid but will not be reimbursed for include a $112 Spring Health Fee, $35 Spring Library Fee and $41.50 Spring Technology Fee.
“It just doesn’t make sense why the money isn’t being given back when it’s not being used anymore,” Davis said.
The university said VCU Libraries and VCU Rec Sports are making services and programs available online. VCU isn’t the only school that won’t reimburse tuition and mandatory fees. A spokesperson for Longwood University said they will not be reimbursing for tuition, but they will be giving some money back to students for housing and dining.
University of Richmond said they also will provide prorated adjustments on student housing, as well as credits for meal plans. A spokesperson for Old Dominion University said the school intends to issue a partial credit or rebate to students. What specifically will be credited is still under discussion.
VCU, just like other Virginia schools, is also offering refunds for housing and dining, and the school will release how to get that money by April 9.
“Our students, faculty, and staff have been forced to cope with a variety of changes in response to COVID-19,” the school said. “We understand the frustration and our doing our best to continue to offer a quality education under challenging circumstances.”
For Davis, tuition and fees at VCU warrant a refund, in addition to housing and dining.
“I would like VCU to reconsider this decision and give us back a percentage of our tuition that is not being used because it would go into people’s pockets and be very beneficial during this time period,” Davis told 8News.
The university said more information on reimbursement for housing and dining will come by April 9. You can learn more about VCU’s COVID-19 response here.