U of MN reverses course on student refunds during COVID-19 pandemic

Original plan left students, parents feeling short changed

Mark Freie
April 03, 2020 - 1:24 pm

University of Minnesota

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Students forced to leave any of the five University of Minnesota will now receive a full refund.

The University of Minnesota Board Regents voted 8-4 in favor of a new proposal on Friday that reverses an original plan to refund students on the Twin City's campus $1,200 and students at other campuses $1,000 for unused room and meal plans.

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel said the state's Stay At Home order influenced a new course of action.

"That prohibited anyone from returning to campus who was not already living there, or staying there, or who was designated as an essential employee who must perform their work on-site," Gabel said.

Most students who live on one of the five campuses spend in excess of $5,000 for room and meal plans. Under the newly passed proposal, students will also receive refunds for parking contracts, recreation center dues, student services fees and transportation and safety fees.

U of M officials estimate the cost of the refunds to be just over $27.8 million. Refunds will be prorated from March 28, the day Gov. Walz's Stay at Home order took place, through the end of the spring semester, which is May 13.

Regent Michael Hsu argued the U should prorate refunds from March 16, the first day after spring break. In-person classes were originally cancelled on March 11 and students were told to not return after spring break.

Other state colleges and universities have announced plans to help student recoup close to half of their costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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