Students should submit form to receive refunds for Excused Withdrawal

May 7, 2020

By Jacquelyn Opalach, News Editor

A formal announcement from Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration Carla Walter outlined Peralta’s plan to issue refunds to students who take an Excused Withdraw (EW) during the spring 2020 semester due to COVID-19 related circumstances. The notification came in an email distributed to the Peralta community on Monday, May 4. 

According to the announcement, students should submit a Request For Excused Withdrawal form to get an EW and the associated refund. The content of the email is reproduced in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the district emergency website safe.peralta.edu

Refunds will be distributed by the same manner in which they were paid. Payments made by credit card will be refunded to the same card by Official Payments. Cash, check, money orders, or payments made by payment plan will be refunded by check from the individual college’s Bursar’s Office. 

Students can expect their refunds within 10 business days after their EW is “approved,” according to the announcement. Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Siri Brown said an EW request takes 48 hours for the district to process.

As of Monday, May 4, almost 4,500 students had received an EW, consisting of over 20,000 units. The drops amount to $1,023,187 in refunds, Brown said. She predicted that by the end of the semester, “we might get close to 6,000 students.”

Previous comments by the district said they planned to apply refunds to students’ existing balance if they owe fees to the school. Brown reiterated in an email to the Citizen that “if students owe fees they will be credited.” Brown also said that if students are enrolled in future summer or fall 2020 courses, the refund will be applied to those fees. 

However, at the May 5 District Academic Senate (DAS) meeting, Brown said that the only students who won’t receive a direct refund will be those who haven’t yet paid for spring 2020 semester classes. 

“If a student owes for prior terms, it’s not going to go towards their balance, they’re going to get the refund. If the student didn’t pay for the spring classes in which they’re doing the EW, then we can’t refund it,” she said. “Otherwise, we’re trying to put the money back into the hands of students.”

At the April 1 Student Virtual Town Hall, Brown said that students who withdraw through their student portal will automatically be given an EW. In Monday’s announcement, Walter specified that students should fill out the Request For Excused Withdrawal form to receive the EW and refund. At the District Academic Senate meeting, Brown clarified that students should follow this process to receive an EW and refund if faculty has not already assigned an EW to them. 

The email announcement said that refunds will only be available to those who took an EW on or after March 11, but Brown clarified that the cutoff date is actually March 10, in alignment with the date given at the April 23 Student Virtual Town Hall. 

The request form, which can be found here, asks students to provide a letter grade for the classes they are withdrawing from. In recognition that grades are not yet available, Brown said that students can write the grade they think they are getting, but if the space is left blank, the form will still be processed. In the space on the form that asks the reason for withdrawal, Brown said that students should write “Challenges related to COVID-19” or just leave the space blank. 

Walter’s announcement also requested that students include a current mailing address on the form. 

Upon completion, the form should be emailed to [email protected] or [email protected]

In addition, those who bought a spring 2020 parking pass will be reimbursed by check for half of the amount paid.