UTSA is offering prorated refunds to students for specific student services affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of service fees covered is sparse, and the reimbursements are coming too late.
According to UTSA’s official coronavirus web page, “The university is developing a plan for partial reimbursement of parking permits, housing costs, and meal plans. Additional student fees are under review. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”
UTSA should partially reimburse more semesterly student fees than the few listed above. Students should receive prorated reimbursements for the recreation fee ($120), Athletics fee ($240) and transportation fee ($20). These service fees should be partially reimbursed because the services they fund are now inoperable.
Further, all these reimbursements should be given sooner rather than later. Considering all UTSA students in residence halls were required to move out, with few exceptions, and UTSA shuttered most of its service, the university administration presumably has time to ensure students’ financial security.
A global pandemic is upon us. Financial hardship due to unexpected unemployment has placed students in a crisis. Withholding indispensable refunds from us will only hinder our academic success. The speedy delivery of these reimbursements would allow students to focus on completing their semester, rather than hunting for rent money or dealing with an eviction.
Concerning the timing of these reimbursements, UTSA stated on Twitter that “this is an evolving situation, and reimbursements will take time.”
Neither time nor work is an abundant commodity during a global pandemic.
UTSA needs to expedite these prorated refunds for the health and well-being of students, and UTSA should substantially increase the number of reimbursed student service fees.