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OU student petition seeks partial tuition refund after coronavirus causes classes to be moved online

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Coronavirus COVID-19

An OU student started a petition seeking a partial tuition refund for this semester that has received more than 4,000 digital signatures.

The petition, which seeks a refund because OU moved the rest of the semester’s classes online in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, was started by OU student Colton Steele, according to the petition, and is addressed to the OU Board of Regents. The petition was started two days ago and has 4,330 signatures as of 11:30 a.m. Friday.

“As an OU student, I completely understand why OU had to make the call to move online for the remainder of the semester,” Steele said in the petition. “However, we, as students who attend class on campus, deserve a refund. When we pay to go to OU, we are paying for the use of the campus and all it’s amenities. We no longer have access to that and we didn’t pay to take online classes for 1/3 of the semester. Please consider giving us a refund especially in a time where many of us have either lost hours at work or lost our jobs altogether.”

The university announced Friday that it would provide “appropriate refunds for those students with housing and food service contracts,” and that more specific details would follow later Friday. The statement did not explicitly say whether the university might consider partially refunding or reducing tuition or fees.

Based on reporting from other parts of the country, many universities are giving prorated refunds for room and board, and some have announced they would not give any tuition refund.

MarketWatch reported Monday that Harvard University and others would give prorated refunds for unused housing and food contracts, but had explicitly said it would not reduce tuition.

USA Today reported Friday that the University of California San Diego would fully refund housing costs, and Ohio State University would give “appropriate” housing and food refunds.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported that University of Wisconsin students would receive prorated housing and food refunds.

Pennsylvania State University and Arizona State University said they would not give tuition refunds.

The University of San Diego offered a 60 percent tuition refund to students who withdrew by Friday, NBC San Diego reported.

Scott Kirker is a letters and Spanish senior and assistant news managing editor for The Daily. Previously he worked as summer editor-in-chief and as a news reporter covering research and administrative searches.

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