Refunds issued to students forced to vacate campus housing

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Linfield College announced it would reimburse students who were forced to move off campus due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today, these students should see the funds credited to their student accounts. 

The college announced it would discontinue in-person classes for the remainder of the spring semester on March 18. On March 23, the administration emailed students in Linfield residence buildings and told them to emergency vacate by March 25. 

Now, Linfield has committed to reimbursing students for nine weeks of housing and meal plan fees, which amounts to a total of about $3.2 million, according to Student Account Manager Tara Kleinberg. 

She said that although the college is taking a huge financial hit, reimbursing students is the “right thing to do.” These refunds should have hit students’ accounts yesterday if they chose to credit the reimbursement to this semester’s statement. 

Linfield has committed to reimbursing students for nine weeks of housing and meal plan fees, which amounts to a total of about $3.2 million.”

There was also an option to defer the refund until the fall 2020 semester, which Kleinberg said would help the college’s financial state if students and their families had the means to do so.

As of today, her office had emailed about 1000 students about their refunds. Only 484 have not responded to either request or defer their reimbursement credits. 

The push even past housing reimbursement has swept through colleges and universities across the country; some students are now arguing for partial tuition refunds. They state the financial worth of online school isn’t the same as in-person and hands-on classes, and that colleges should recognize that by paying back their students. Others also want to be refunded for unused lab fees and parking permits.  

“There will not be any tuition refunds [at Linfield] because they [students] are still getting the credits,” Kleinberg said. Although she understands the argument, she said giving students partial tuition refunds would “cripple” the college, especially because it had just balanced its budget after a long-standing battle with debt.

Brenda Rivera, who works in the Financial Aid Office, said eligible students who haven’t requested their refunds should do so by contacting Student Accounts this week.