With college back in session during COVID-19, maybe things aren’t quite what you expected. Are you locked down in your dorm room staring at a screen instead of going to classes? Locked in your dorm room at night instead of going out with your friends? Wearing a mask all day, and worried if you have to cough or sneeze in public? Yes the 2020 fall term is unlike any other in recent history, and might have you questioning even staying in school this semester. So you might ask yourself, can I get a refund for my tuition and other expenses?



Tuition and Room and Board Policies

When it comes to tuition refunds, typically the earlier you withdraw the more money you get back. The refunds are offered on a sliding scale, so the longer you stay enrolled the less you will get back. If the campus stays open you probably won’t get anything back for your room and board so consider that as well. If there is an outbreak at your campus and your school goes remote, you won’t get a break on your tuition or room and board either. If your campus totally shuts down and students are sent home, then you can probably get a refund of your room and board. Colleges and Universities are in a financial bind this year as well, and they depend on tuition to stay open. So while they are unlikely to offer refunds, it can’t hurt to ask for a discount if you do go remote only.

What can you do?

You should contact your school to find out what is their shutdown contingency plan. If your state or county has strict guidelines, the college has to follow these so the chance are higher that they will have to close. On the other hand, some states have more lenient policies so a lot of it depends on where you go to school.

Once you know your school’s closing criteria, depending if it is a switch to remote only / lockdown or a complete campus closure with students sent home your backup plans should take that into account. If you go to remote only, you can ask the school about a refund or discount tuition for remote only. If there is a closure, besides the tuition break you should ask for a refund for your room and board, and have a backup housing plan.

The Higher Ed Model is questioned

No matter what, the COVID 19 pandemic is forcing a rethinking of the higher education model. Students feel let down, with high tuition bills, remote classes, and trapped in their dorms. The higher ed model in the US and the UK is unsustainable and it remains to be seen how higher ed will look after going through the pandemic crisis.