As COVID-19 continues to affect the daily lives of everyone, it is important for the powers to accommodate the everyday person. So far, East Carolina University has done a lot to provide a safer learning environment in the face of this pandemic, from moving classes online to putting an optional pass/fail policy in place.
I think ECU (and really any university) needs to take one last step to ensure it is best serving its students. I believe students deserve a partial refund on the fees they paid to attend school.
As it stands right now, we were about halfway through the second semester when everything started shutting down. In light of the fact that we realistically only got about half of what we paid for, I think it would just be fair.
As anyone who has attended college knows, there are many fees you are charged beyond just tuition. You also pay for things like room and board, a meal plan, health insurance if you don’t already have it, parking, and other university fees.
Currently, many of those things are no longer available to us. When campus was shut down indefinitely, students were forced to move out of their dorms that they paid thousands of dollars to live in for a full semester. So, on-campus students only got half of what they paid for, and yet were still charged full price.
Another major thing I think should be refunded is parking passes. As I have written before, I am opposed to paying for parking at a university in the first place. It is a scam that we pay so much to be here and yet we have to pay even more just to have a place to leave our cars.
Now, students who bought a parking pass basically have a useless piece of paper attached to their windshields, as there is virtually no reason to be on campus with classes being all online. If there is any one thing that should be refunded, I think it is parking passes.
Students should also receive a refund on their meal plans. Meal plans are another thing that serve no real purpose when students are being actively encouraged to avoid being on campus. At the very least I hope administration allows these plans to roll over into the next semester, as they are pretty expensive and that would be a lot of money down the drain.
Aside from simply being the right thing to do, if the university were to give out refunds on certain fees, it would show support for the students who attend in a difficult time. I know that any extra money helps me right now, since my other job was on-campus and no longer meets as long as buildings are closed.
The one thing I don’t think needs to be refunded is the actual tuition portion of the college fees. While it sucks that classes have moved online and the learning curve may be more difficult than before for some students, we are still in classes and will still end with these credits towards graduation when all is said and done.
I am not demanding a full refund on any of these fees, because we did get to take advantage of these resources for a little over half of the semester. However, I think a partial refund on housing, parking, and meal plans would not only be fair, but would really help out many students who lost jobs because of COVID-19.