DULUTH, Minn. — The University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved yet another change to the way students will be refunded for housing, unused dining and other fees.
On Tuesday, April 7, the board unanimously approved President Joan Gabel's proposal to expand the date from which students will receive a prorated refund to the day classes would have resumed after the originally scheduled spring break.
On the Duluth, Rochester and Twin Cities campuses that date is March 16. At the Crookston and Morris campuses that date is March 23.
The amendment comes four days after the Board of Regents approved the "comprehensive student fee refund plan" that originally would have refunded students at a prorated rate beginning March 28, the night Gov. Tim Walz's statewide stay-at-home order went into effect. The Board of Regents approved that plan with a 8-4 vote, with some believing the start date should be pushed back.
Board Chair Kendall Powell said during the meeting that Gabel contacted him over the weekend with a desire to obtain a stronger consensus.
"I want to thank her for that reflection and her willingness to bring this up one more time," Powell said.
Over the weekend, students on the U of M Twin Cities campus called for a re-vote to the plan approved Friday, saying that the start date for the refund should be the last day of spring break on each campus.
UMD Student Body President Neal Bhakta said he was pleased with Tuesday's decision while adding that the dollar amount might not make a huge difference on an individual basis.
"Personally, I knew a lot of students who had been expressing how much they wanted a refund and I know a lot of people were just happy to hear we were getting a refund in general," Bhakta said, later adding: "During this whole pandemic, President Gabel and the Board of Regents have shown exemplary leadership and I couldn't be more proud to be attending school at a University of Minnesota campus."
The "comprehensive student fee refund plan" also includes a prorated refund from the end of spring break to the end of the semester for parking and several student fees, including recreation centers, transportation and safety. Students will also get back a portion of their paid student services fees.
The revised plan is estimated to add another $7 million to the university's revenue loss system-wide, bringing the total loss to $35 million.