Education

UNC system says no refunds on tuition, fees if pandemic forces return to online-only classes

Posted July 23, 2020 12:44 p.m. EDT
Updated July 23, 2020 6:02 p.m. EDT

— Students at University of North Carolina system schools won't get a break on tuition or fees this year if the coronavirus forces campuses to return to all online classes.

Colleges and universities around the country are cutting tuition and fees when in-person classes are shifted online because of the pandemic, but the UNC system won't be following their lead

The UNC Board of Governors voted Thursday to keep tuition and fees, including athletics and student activity fees, the same this year, regardless of whether students are physically able to attend classes on campus.

Some board members argued that a lot of families are struggling and that online classes via Zoom are educationally inferior.

"I think, if we have to shift back, we’re almost overcharging them with tuition. To throw fees on top of that is adding insult to injury," board member Marty Kotis said.

"We believe that we have to support the services associated with the campuses and all the different aspects that continue to support our students while they are getting their education in one of our campuses," Chairman Randy Ramsey said.

Ramsey said individual campuses cannot decide to close without approval from the Board of Governors and incoming system President Peter Hans.

Separately. the board voted to suspend the requirement that students submit a standardized test score as part of their application for admission to any UNC system school next year.

Standardized testing has been hard to come by since the pandemic started, as a lot of test dates have been canceled.

Some Board of Governors members said students who have taken an SAT or ACT should have those scores accepted and considered as part of their application. Those who couldn't take one could submit a waiver request, they said.

But admission to some UNC campuses is fiercely competitive, and North Carolina State University Chancellor Randy Woodson told board members that removing the standardized test requirement entirely would take some pressure off already stressed families who don't want their students to be at a competitive disadvantage.

"Just this week, a family in North Carolina had no access to ACT testing in the state and drove all the way to South Carolina to be tested, only to be turned away when test was canceled at last minute for COVID-19," Woodson said.

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