Opinion: Students question tuition refunds

More stories from MaryClaire Nichols


Going to college during a pandemic is no easy task, but adding hefty tuition costs certainly makes it even more difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted everyone’s lives and forced many people to adjust to new ways of living. Earlier in the year, administration at BHSU decided to send students home at Thanksgiving break and require they stay home until the spring semester begins, to prevent the spread of the virus. However, this means that for two months, students won’t be living on campus in dorms and apartments and using meal plans when they are typically preparing for finals. Refunding students for this lost residential experience is something the administration at the college should consider. Rayne Hermsen, a student at BHSU, knows the joys of living on campus and the impact of a possible refund on her family. She believes that there should be a common ground when it comes to refunding students. She explained that colleges still need a source of income, especially during a pandemic. But, she also doesn’t think that colleges should be charging students for a college experience they are missing out on. Many families have faced unemployment, paycuts and Covid-related medical bills since early spring. Additionally, colleges all around the US have lost millions due to campus closures. Finding that healthy balance of refunding money and making payments to colleges is a necessary decision that many administrative members are going to have to make in the upcoming months. Last spring, students were refunded for room and board costs, which was roughly $2,000 per students. Considering the fact that BHSU has around 4,000 students, the campus took a large hit when it comes to funding. That money generates funding for the campus clubs and orgs, and also allows students to attend events throughout the semester for free. That doesn’t dismiss the fact that families could use that money, however. Many students have voiced that fact they were able to use their refund money to pay for housing back home, bank payments, or tuition for the 2020-2021 schoolyear. Many students, like Hermsen, feel that they didn’t get the almost$3,000 experience out of her apartment and buildings on campus. Hermsen also explained that the refund money allowed her to partially pay for this year’s tuition. She added that it was a big relief, considering the pandemic and the financial strain that it put on her and other families across the state of South Dakota. So many students have been robbed of a normal college experience because of the pandemic ,so why rob them of their unused tuition/room and board? Many students are currently asking themselves this, while they wait to see what mayor may not appear in their bank accounts.