Frustrations Rise as New York Colleges Refuse to Give Tuition Refunds
Colleges in New York State have been operating with online-only courses during the coronavirus pandemic, and students are increasingly voicing their frustrations about a lack of refunds.
SUNY Oswego students received an email Tuesday morning outlining the refunds they will receive, which include a 50% reimbursement of room fees, meal plans, and the athletic, transportation, parking, washer/dryer, fitness center and Resnet fees, since the university suspended on-campus classes about halfway through the semester. Course-related fees will also be refunded based on usage. However, tuition was not on the list.
SUNY Oswego senior Lauren White is an out-of-state student from Washington and said she is still paying her regular tuition rate, $8,490, even though all of her classes are online. Tuition for online out-of-state students normally costs $4,240.
"I wish tuition, for me, could have gone down to $4,000 instead of $8,000 because I'm not even seeing my professors in-person or even living at the school right now," White said.
White is at SUNY Oswego on a scholarship for out-of-state students, which the university said "will be adjusted 50% (25% of the annual amount) in alignment with the reduction in charges."
"So here's all the out-of-state students still paying that $4,000 extra right now while we're doing online, and then having to pay back to the school 25% of our scholarship," White said. "It just doesn't make sense."
SUNY did not respond to multiple calls and emails requesting an interview.
White is not the only student frustrated with how New York universities are handling the pandemic. According to The Daily Orange, an undergraduate student filed a class-action lawsuit against Syracuse University, asking to be reimbursed for tuition and fees since the university moved online.
The Daily Orange reports that Jonathan Yin filed the lawsuit in federal court on Friday, stating that the Syracuse University's online learning options have been "subpar in practically every aspect."
SU has only reimbursed students for housing and meal plans, but has yet to refund students a prorated amount for tuition and fees since classes moved online, according to The Daily Orange. The lawsuit reads that although the university had no choice in suspending in-person classes, students "did not choose to attend an online institution of higher learning."
KEEP READING: 50 community resources supporting Americans financially impacted by COVID-19