The global COVID-19 pandemic has sent college students into a world of the unknown. As you were kicked out of your dorm room, you may have been wondering where you would land and how you would get there. Campuses were scrambling to close and all of the money you invested in tuition and fees was hanging in the balance. Now that the dust is settling, you may be wondering how you can recoup some of your costs. After all, you paid for an entire semester of on-campus living and learning.
Ask for a full refund
Begin by asking for a full refund. You may not be successful, but it’s not a bad starting place to make your case for reparations. Keep in mind that most college campuses took a financial hit during the pandemic. Facilities and payroll had to be maintained, and many institutions had to spend additional money to provide technical assistance for remote learning. At the same time, you paid for something you didn’t get, so asking for a refund is not out of line.
Negotiate a partial refund
Create a list of the additional expenses you incurred as a result of having to abandon your residential experience. Include travel expenses, new housing, food costs, technology needs, and anything else that would have been provided on campus. Write a letter to your campus and ask for a partial refund to cover the expenses you have incurred. Discuss the hardships you have experienced, as you have had to restart your life without the necessary resources.
Take collective action
If your campus isn’t responsive to your requests, use your voice and harness the power of student action with a formal request for a refund. Students across the country have created petitions and have even filed lawsuits demanding the return of unused activity fees and tuition. Colleges are dependent upon students returning in the fall, so leverage this to yield even a partial refund of your tuition and fees.
Seek credit for future classes
In addition to a refund of tuition and fees, consider asking for a scholarship or grant that can be used toward classes you’ll take in the fall. The federal government allocated $14 billion in aid for higher education. Some of this funding must be used for direct aid to students. If your college is reticent to offering you cash now, you may be able to negotiate a free or partially free semester of college tuition to be used in the future. Exercise all of your options as you look for a way to get something back for what you had to endure.