In an effort to protect students and abide by state mandates to close “non-essential” businesses during the COVID-19 epidemic, schools closed and moved students to an online learning platform. Access to libraries, learning spaces, equipment, faculty and labs were thereby limited among other education necessities.
Students at NYU Tisch School of Arts approached administration with a request for partial tuition refund for the Spring 2020 semester but did not like the response they received.
Dean Allyson Green responded to their request with a video of herself lip syncing and dancing to R.E.M’s “Losing My Religion” in an attempt to explain how it would be challenging to give the students’ their money back.
In an already stressful time, some criticized Dean Green’s video as “embarrassing” and apathetic to the student’s plight. Dean Green however, explained her dance was an attempt to use art to keep people connected.
The question, however, of will students get a partial tuition refund for being off campus, remains to be answered.
Thousands of students have petitioned their respective schools, asking for partial reimbursement of tuition, housing and food. Some universities will be offering refunds for dormitory and food expenses paid. But offering tuition refunds may be more difficult as much of that money is spent or accounted for in the school budget, and not easily liquid if they cannot displace funds for salaries and rent with government stimulus money.
Students who pay tens of thousands of dollars in tuition each year however are frustrated that their fees including labs, equipment, security, parking, facility access, campus transportation, medical clinic, student government, etc. are not justified when they are home engaged in online learning.
So many have turned to Change.org and created petitions to the following schools, as well as others:
- NYU Tisch School of the Arts
- John Hopkins University
- Vanderbilt University
- Maryland Institute College of Art
- San Jose State University
- University of Central Oklahoma
- University of Oklahoma
- Western Washington University
- University of Washington-Seattle
- Ohio State University
- University of California Schools (1)
- UC Schools (2)
- University of California-Irvine
- California State – Dominguez Hills
- University of Central Florida
- University of Northern Colorado
- University of Illinois-Chicago
- University of Kentucky
- University of Minnesota
- Minneapolis College of Art and Design
- University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
- Ohio State University
- Cleveland Institute of Art
- Penn State
- University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
- University of Texas -Arlington
- Texas Woman’s University
- Ringling College of Art and Design
- Collin County Community College
- Oral Roberts University
- Allen University
- Columbus College of Art and Design
- Cornish College of the Arts
As stated previously, headway has been made for those students living in dormitories and requiring meal plans. However, a partial tuition refund for the conversion to online learning can be very challenging and has yet to be seen.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.