BGSU students express their concern for refunds as school changes to online classes.
On March 30, President Rodney Rogers sent out an email discussing refunds that will be offered for students at the university. An emergency grant would be used to refund students housing, dining and parking for students who lived on campus, had a meal plan or Falcon Dollars and bought a parking pass, according to the announcement.
“We want to provide a fair, equitable amount of support to each student and their family, so BGSU has chosen to absorb the fixed costs associated with housing, dining and parking that have already been incurred for the entire semester,” Rogers said in the email.
There were mixed responses from students about this refund. Junior graphic design major Stephen Linsky said he felt left out in terms of financial support from the university.
“It is nice that they are giving refunds for students on campus but everyone off campus, like myself, don’t get anything,” Linsky said.
Other students who live on campus think the refund is the right move for those with housing expenses and meal plans. Shelbie Wargo, a freshman biology major, is one of those students who feels the university is doing the right thing.
“It’s honestly the best outcome of a bad situation, and I’m glad that it’s happening because I can use the money towards paying for next semester,” Wargo said.
Not only did many students have to leave behind their living areas and friends but also in-person classes. Students have expressed their concerns for the difference in cost between online courses and in-person lectures and labs.
“They think that since they are offering all these special services to help with online classes that it makes up for the hundreds of dollars that off-campus people are losing. I don’t think it makes up for anything,” Linsky said.
Students are also facing a lot of anxiety with the transition. Online classes are a different learning style and can be harder for some students to adjust to as they are forced to learn through a screen.
In the email Rogers said the university would not be giving out refunds for classes.
“Regarding tuition and fees, students are being provided online courses, virtual advising and coaching so that they can continue their academic career, along with a virtual experience of student activities,” he said.
Morgan Ward, a senior broadcast journalism major, said she doesn’t believe she’s achieving the same quality of learning while online.
“I’m concerned about being focused and getting my tasks done at home because there are more distractions here. At school I had good time management and now I feel like I lost it,” Ward said.
The distance and disconnect from professors and academic resources like office hours are obstacles for some students.
“I understand why we aren’t getting a tuition refund, but I think professors could be doing more so it feels like we are still in face-to-face classes. It would be nice to have virtual office hours over Zoom,” Ward said.
Wargo said even some money back in students’ pockets for what they’re missing out on with online classes would help.
“I think there should be some sort of refund but not necessarily equal to a half of a semester because teachers are still teaching us just in a different format,” Wargo said.
For students who take classes that require lab spaces, instruments and special equipment, the academic experience is not the same now that they’re online. Linsky reflected on his film photography classes and can’t see how students are getting the same experience remotely.
“I actually just talked to a student taking a film photography class, and that has been turned upside down into them just taking pictures with their phones because they can’t develop the film anymore,” Linsky said. “Online classes cost much less, and we are not getting the proper education we signed up for.”
BGSU also allowed students to change classes to pass/fail to try to help with students who may struggle with the transition to online courses. Those who may struggle with the learning style of learning online can change to pass/fail classes and that way grades would be more flexible.
Even with the adaptations and emails students are still concerned with financials.
“I think BGSU is doing all they can to help the students succeed in the short amount of time they had, but I think they should start thinking about the student’s financials more,” Linsky said.
Students are also concerned and worried about what’s to come as classes change to online. Financials isn’t the only concern students are facing.
“I have concerns about how final exams and presentations will go and if I will end up with the grades, I want at the end of the semester because of what’s going on in the world and the overall transition,” Wargo said.
Overall, students are facing mixed feelings about the email over refunding. Those who live off campus feel as though they aren’t getting anything and are still paying for their housing. Students who are on campus think the refund is fair and that the president is doing the right thing.