Empty hallway in NEIU’s Salme Harju Steinberg Fine Arts Center (Matthew Rago)
Empty hallway in NEIU’s Salme Harju Steinberg Fine Arts Center

Matthew Rago

NEIU to reimburse students for unused services

April 23, 2020

Northeastern Illinois University’s Office of the President announced that NEIU will partially reimburse students for unused services. 

The announcement, distributed via email, acknowledged that “some student services became unavailable” following the university’s transition to remote instruction. 

In March, NEIU declared its intention to extend spring break by one week amid concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. A week later, the university suspended face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the spring semester.

Students who paid their student fees in full will receive a prorated reimbursement within two weeks in the form of a check, though students already enlisted in direct deposit should expect to receive expedited refunds. Students with outstanding balances will see the approximate 31% reduction in fees reflected on their student account. 

However, university officials elected against refunding fees supporting infrastructure, technology, health services, library services and student activities on the grounds that those services remain available to the NEIU student body.

Northeastern Illinois University student Rina Youkhana created a petition Tuesday demanding universities eliminate fees for unused or inaccessible services, specifically citing parking fees, library fees, computer resource fees and health service.

TitledTO NEIU: WAIVE CHARGES ON THINGS STUDENTS CAN NO LONGER USE DUE TO COVID-19 CLOSURE,” the Change.org-hosted petition challenged Illinois Gov. J.B Pritzker, President Donald Trump, NEIU President Gloria Gibson and Ginger Ostro, the executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, to “have charges on [student] accounts dropped.”

Referencing school closures for the spring and summer semesters, Youkhana urges NEIU to exempt students from paying fees dedicated to supporting unused on-campus amenities.

On April 9, NEIU announced that the university will continue online instruction for first-half semester and full-semester summer classes. A decision regarding second-half summer semester classes is still pending. 

Students looking to set up electronic refunding can do so by visiting NEIUPort. To authorize direct deposit, head to the “Student” tab and locate the “Payment/Refund” on the left-hand side of the page. 

Read the full announcement below:

“Thank you for your patience as we work through the issues and concerns from members of our University Community regarding the current pandemic crisis. Today, I want to share our plan to provide students a partial reimbursement of some of the student fees assessed this semester.

We recognize that some student services became unavailable when we shifted mid-semester to alternate modes of course delivery, so the University will reduce the student fees assessed that support the Student Union, Campus Recreation, Performing Arts and Parking.

We are making immediate downward adjustments to these four student fees to reflect the loss of access to the campus due to remote learning. This will translate to approximately a 31 percent reduction in these fees this spring semester. This reduction will be applied within the next two weeks to students’ accounts, which can be viewed through NEIUport. These adjustments will not affect student financial aid awards, and those who received fee waivers for the semester will not be impacted.  

Students who paid full-semester costs in advance will see a refund in the form of checks or direct deposits while those with outstanding balances will have remaining balances reduced accordingly. Those who have already signed up for direct deposit will receive their refund faster than those who will be mailed checks. Please make sure your address in NEIUport is up to date. (To set up an electronic refund account, please log into NEIUport and access the Student tab. Locate the link for Payment / Refund, and then follow the instructions to create an electronic refund account.)

Fees that support campus infrastructure, technology, health services, library services and student activities will not be refunded as these services continue to take place even during the stay-at-home period. Additionally, tuition charges will not be adjusted for the spring semester.

In regard to summer, the Provost recently announced that the first half of summer session (May 15-June 25) and full summer session (May 15-Aug. 8) will be taught remotely. Currently, no determination has been made about the second half of summer session (June 26-Aug. 6). Since summer instruction will be delivered remotely for both the first half of the summer term and the full summer term, the only student fee that will be charged will be an online course fee to support remote instruction. Student accounts will be updated during the next few weeks to reflect this change. Additionally, we will provide an option for full-time, summer-enrolled students to opt out of the U-Pass fee, which provides an unlimited ride pass on Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) trains and buses.

If you have any questions or concerns about fee refunds, contact Student Payment Services at [email protected].

I appreciate your understanding and consideration during these trying times. I work with the President’s Cabinet and other leaders around the University every day to mitigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, employees and the University. We are not done with this work, and I will continue to provide updates when appropriate. You can expect to hear from me in the coming days about emergency financial aid that students will receive through the CARES Act funds available from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

Thank you and take care.”

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