On May 20, JCJ College Fellow Dahvi Cohen, who is a student at George Washington University, penned an op-ed for Mic.com titled “Universities should offer tuition refunds to ensure students like myself can return when campuses reopen.” Read the full piece here.

In the article, Dahvi argues that universities and colleges should offer prorated or partial refunds to students who have paid full tuition costs but are no longer able to access the myriad services that those fees provide. Dahvi writes:

“Most universities have made good-faith efforts to provide an uncompromised learning experience by quickly transitioning to online courses and exploring ways to engage students remotely. However, when college students resumed classes online to fulfill our academic obligations, we did so without our schools acknowledging the fact that our situation had fundamentally changed; we might still be in classes, but we’re no longer able to access the myriad services that our tuition fees are also supposed to provide for us. Tuition can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 annually at U.S. universities, and that doesn’t include the housing that many students have paid thousands for and now can no longer use.”

Dahvi also warns that while universities themselves are struggling, cutting back on financial aid could be devastating for students who are just as deserving of an education but who may lack the financial and other means to deal with the fallout from coronavirus.

Universities too aresuffering financially due to coronavirus, with many already warning of substantial decreases in financial aid offers for the upcoming academic year. Not only will this discourage students from pursuing a higher education, it will likely be a deciding factor for many already-enrolled students in determining if they are able to return in the fall. Fromprivate polling toTwitter threads, indications are that high school seniors across the country are deferring enrollment for at least a year, and potentially longer, as they struggle to justify paying outrageous tuition costs in exchange for online classes and a pared down version of the “college experience.” Furthermore, a significant portion of college students who are only a year or two away from graduation are contemplating not returning to school next year at all, some due to the fact that financial aid packages have been slashed and others because the educational experience awaiting them this fall is fundamentally different.

To learn more about the JCJ College Fellow program, go to the Program page on our website.