UI will not refund students’ tuition during virtual instruction, will refund some housing and course fees

Amid the rapid spread of COVID-19, many university buildings and activities have come to a close. While tuition will not be refunded, the UI is looking at other ways to compensate students.



Lauren White, News Reporter

While the University of Iowa will not refund students’ tuition during virtual instruction amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the UI is currently looking at ways to refund students for things like housing, recreation, and course fees. 

In a university-wide email sent Monday, it stated that the UI will refund a prorated amount to students who lived in residence halls and said they are looking at specific course fees.

“The university understands this is not what students or their instructors signed up for at the start of the semester. The decision to move to virtual instruction was not made easily, but it was determined that proactive steps were necessary to maintain the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff,” the email said. 

Tuition, it was stated, will not be refunded in order to maintain the UI’s ongoing operations. However, colleges in the university are reviewing course fees and offering refunds on a course-to-course basis. 

“Teaching and learning experts from across campus collaborated with faculty to transition courses to a virtual environment. So, while the format for delivering instruction may have changed temporarily, the UI remains committed to continuing to provide a world-class educational experience for its students during this difficult time,” the email said. 

Due to the closure of the residence halls, UI Housing and Dining highlighted three important aspects to the financial adjustments in the email. 

Each student’s remaining room and meal plan charges will be credited to their U-Bill by May 1, 2020 and the credit will be equal to about 49 percent of their room and meal plan. This was calculated based on 119 contract nights in the spring semester, while 58 remained when the residence halls and dining facilities closed. In addition, students who purchased meal plans but live off campus will be issued a credit of about 49 percent. 

Off-campus students are given the opportunity to continue to use their meal plan in the open locations for the remainder of the semester.

Students’ with Herky Booster Packs will not be refunded, but instead will have their booster packs extended to May 2021, however, those who will not be returning to campus in the fall can apply for a refund.

“Students who have been granted approval to remain in the residence halls will maintain their spring 2020 housing and dining contracts and will be sent a separate email regarding their remaining spring housing and dining bill,” the email said.

In addition to room and meal plans receiving a rate adjustment, the university will refund on an allocated basis the recreation fee and the arts and cultural events fee. 

The recreation and arts and cultural event fees are being refunded due to the closure and cancellation of campus recreation and cultural events and buildings, and the rate adjustment will be applied by May 16. 

The UI will not charge late payment fees for university bills for the remainder of the Spring semester. 

With the closure of the university libraries, students may have overdue books or materials, but the university asks that students keep track of those materials until the libraries open back up and all fines and due dates will be waived. 

Financial aid recipients will still receive the refund and it will not cause any reduction in their overall financial aid.