MN colleges give room and board refunds after coronavirus moves classes online

After sending most students home due to the spread of the novel coronavirus and shifting classes online, Twin Cities colleges are now offering students and parents refunds for room and board.

University of St. Thomas vice president of student affairs Karen Lange wrote in an update last week that the school would be providing prorated refunds from the date of their March 16 announcement. They will also be prorating refunds on meal plans.

St. Catherine’s is providing a prorated credit for housing charges for the rest of the semester, as well as processing refunds for unused balances from meal plans. At Macalester, the college will provide refunds for students who move away from residence halls, covering March 30 through the end of the semester, as well as giving students with commuter meal plans partial refunds.

And at the University of Minnesota, the school is giving a flat credit of $1,200 for housing and dining fees, which will be applied to student accounts. But some University of Minnesota parents are underwhelmed by the refund being offered to students who vacate the dorms in an effort to slow the novel coronavirus.

Steve Wilson said his freshman son will have spent just 54 days on campus this semester and the other 60 days back home in Inver Grove Heights. Yet, he’s only getting about one-fifth of his $5,902 room and board payment back.

“I understand we’re all in this together,” Wilson said, “but it takes me months to save up the $2,000” in pro-rated payments he figures he’s due.

Wilson said the U explained that it has certain fixed costs it has to cover, such as custodians and food service workers. Some students with no other place to go remain in university housing.

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