Will colleges refund students for tuition, room & board and other related expenses?

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(Photo: Sinclair Broadcast Group)

WASHINGTON (SBG) - Many college students are feeling a financial strain brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Now, some are calling for refunds on certain parts of their tuition.

Across the country, college students are finishing their semester online from home. Many unable to live in the dorms and eat the cafeteria meals they’ve already paid for.

“Now the university has forced them off-campus, and students have said, ‘Well, I paid for four and half, five months of housing. I only lived there for three months. Do I get my money back for the final two months,’” said Cabot Phillips, the editor-in-chief of Campus Reform.

Conservative watchdog group campus reform is calling on colleges and universities to give refunds for things like meals and housing.

Some students are banding together to make demands. Thousands at UC Irvine have signed this online petition to get some of their money back.

Some schools, like Harvard and The Ohio State University, are pro-rating room and board costs while students are out.

“These schools are kicking students out and saying, ‘You’re on your own.’ So, if that’s the case, they need to be refunding these room and board costs,” said Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas.

Officials at other schools say issuing refunds would be too big of a financial blow. Georgetown College, a small Christian college in Kentucky, states on its website it cannot issue refunds because while students aren’t on campus, its operating costs are the same.

Many schools are already suffering financially because of other lost revenue.

“Universities are no longer getting revenue from sports programs, and so that is playing a role in them not having as much money to spread around,” said Phillips.

More economic trouble could be on the way for schools if, as Phillips predicts, students realize they like online classes better than being on campus.