WSU will not refund student fees

Parking passes can be partially refunded if students call WSU Transportation Services



Mary Jo Gonzales, Vice President of Student Affairs, said students fees are used to help WSU pay for outstanding deficits.

SYDNEY BROWN, Evergreen reporter

WSU officials confirmed in an online town hall that the university will not refund spring semester student fees, following a national trend of universities who either only partially refunded fees or did not at all.

Mary Jo Gonzales, vice president of Student Affairs, said the Center for Civic Engagement, student media as well as the telehealth and telemedicine services are examples of only a few of the programs that rely on student fees and were voted on by students. 

Gonzales said WSU will not refund fees to help the university fiscally deal with outstanding deficits that needed to be paid before the pandemic, and will still exist if the university opens in-person classes for this fall. For example, the Chinook Student Center, which opened all its floors for recreational use in May 2017, is still being paid off through fees that were voted on in March 2015, according to the Chinook web page.

“All of these critical programs are needed for our students whether they are here with us on all of our campuses or getting these services remotely,” Gonzales said in the town hall. 

Some universities in densely-populated areas, such as Harvard, Smith, Tufts and Duke University in North Carolina, partially refunded unused room and board fees because students were ordered off-campus during the pandemic, according to an article in MarketWatch. For WSU students in Pullman, WSU encouraged but did not require students to finish the semester at their permanent residences.

WSU students living on-campus were given options for refunds in their emails early on in the shutdown, Phil Weiler said in an email. They had to fill out a survey by April 10 to determine their eligibility for room and board refunds. It is unclear whether students who missed the April 10 deadline will still be eligible for a refund, so students who did not fill out the survey are encouraged to contact WSU financial aid directly to discuss their options.

Some students expressed their discontent about the decision on the WSU Reddit page, writing comments that they had to pay “$300 in fees for resources we don’t have access to.” Others in the thread agreed with the university that students voted on the fees and school officials could not ignore standing debts because of an unforeseen shutdown.

Parking fee refunds have also been in question. In the town hall meeting, Stacy Pearson, vice president for finance & administration, said students may call WSU Transportation Services to cancel their pass. Any unused time on the pass will go back to the student. 

This procedure is standard, Pearson said. However, students should do this as soon as they can because parking services will not automatically refund all passes.

Other student news

Students may have already gotten their Federal CARES funds, but those who have not may fill out the eligibility form here: 

Brian Dixon, assistant vice president for financial services, said students may get anywhere from $500 to $1,500. 

The next town hall meeting is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. Friday on WSU’s YouTube channel. People may submit questions here: