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VCU says it will not refund tuition for online education

Art students will receive a small refund

Students at Virginia Commonwealth University will not receive a tuition refund for this semester, the school’s president announced this week, ending speculation as to whether the university would return students’ money due to their having to attend classes online for the rest of the semester.

The school “will not refund tuition and mandatory fees, but will give students in its art school a partial reimbursement,” The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on Tuesday.

The school announced in mid-March that classes would be held online for the remainder of the semester out of fears the coronavirus could spread on the school’s campus. Since then students have petitioned the school for tuition refunds, arguing—even at a “virtual town hall” last week, as The Times-Dispatch reports—that they should be charged a lesser rate for remote learning.

The school said last month it would issue refunds on both housing and dining plans, but President Michael Rao said this week that that policy would not extend to tuition:

“Although we realize this is not the semester you or your faculty planned, it is the reality for college students in the United States and around the world,” Rao wrote. “Faculty, staff and administration have poured enormous effort and resources into making sure that courses can be completed, credits earned, degrees received and challenges surpassed.”

Rao specifically highlighted the work of VCU’s library and technology departments in helping with the change to remote learning.

“Tuition and mandatory fees ensure that all of this happens and can continue to happen this semester; therefore, no refunds will be issued for tuition or mandatory fees,” he said.

Average in-state tuition at VCU is currently around $7,300. Full-time art students “will get $350” in refunds, Rao told the community, while “part-time students will be credited $42 per credit hour.”

Read the report here.

MORE: Many universities refuse to reduce spring tuition costs as classes move online

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