Paul L. Caron

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Legislation Would Force Kansas Colleges To Give Students 50% Tuition Refunds For Classes Shifted Online Due To COVID-19

Kansas City Star, Kansas Lawmakers Want Tuition Refunds For College Classes Put Online Due to COVID:

Kansas (2021)Kansas lawmakers want to refund tuition to college students who lost class time or were forced into online courses as a result of the pandemic.

A House panel amended the state’s higher education budget Wednesday to require that colleges, community colleges and technical schools reimburse students for 50% of the tuition paid every day they spent online instead of in the classroom. The amendment would reimburse at 100% for days that students missed class entirely.

The move is the latest in a string of actions taken by lawmakers to show their disdain for online learning in colleges and k-12 schools. ...

[R]efunds would involve thousands of students. Though an exact cost is unknown, it would likely run into the millions, stretching a proposed budget that already assumes a 5.5% cut in higher education.

Some students are already asking for and receiving these refunds.

Over the summer, a Kansas State student filed a lawsuit seeking a tuition refund. Such actions have been filed nationwide. Louisiana passed a bill last year requiring some refunds and New York is considering a similar measure, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Members of the House Appropriations committee described their own children’s pandemic-era experiences, arguing that colleges are not providing the education students have paid for. ...

“It was reckless,” Rep. Brandon Woodard, a Lenexa Democrat. “We literally just made a decision to wreck the budgets of our universities without allowing them to testify.”

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