Students sent home by the University of Minnesota called Sunday, April 5, for a revote by leadership, asking that prorated refunds for housing and dining fees date back roughly two weeks further than approved.
"Our ask is that refunds be prorated differently for each system campus depending on the last day of their spring break," Katy Briggs said. "Each day that students pay for services they aren't receiving impacts their bottom line and financial well-being."
Briggs is the spokesperson for the Minnesota Student Association, which balked at the March 28 date approved in President Joan Gabel's systemwide refund plan last week by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.
Most universities and schools systems throughout the country have closed their campuses because of the threat presented by the spread of COVID-19.
In a position statement sent to regents, the student association requested they amend the date and revote at their Tuesday, April 7, meeting. The regents have not yet publicly responded to the student association's proposal.
In a virtual meeting last week, the board of regents approved Gabel's revised systemwide proposal for refunding students' housing and dining. The proposal will refund students 100% of their housing and unused dining fees, prorated from March 28 through the end of the semester in early May.
"(W)e strongly oppose ... the timing of proration being arbitrary, recognizing that every day counts for the financial well-being of students," the student association's position statement said, encouraging regents to "do better by the students of the university."
The student association used a timeline of events to show that impacts of the spread of coronavirus began to affect students on March 11, when it said Gabel first encouraged students not to return to campus from spring break.
The currently approved refund plan will require 11,000 different calculations because of a wide-ranging variation in student services across campuses, Gabel said last week, making it difficult to ballpark the average dollar amount students will be refunded.
In total, the currently approved refunds will leave the University of Minnesota system with a revenue loss of $27.8 million.