Half of parking fees to be refunded, but “enrollment fees” unclear
April 27, 2020
By Isis Piccillo, Editor-in-Chief
After weeks of deliberation, Peralta Community College Chancellor Regina Stanback Stroud announced that the district will be offering refunds to students who opted for an Excused Withdrawal (EW) when dropping classes in response to COVID-19. Whether all students will receive direct refunds, and how refunds will be distributed, remains unclear.
The announcement came during the April 21 Board of Trustees meeting and was repeated by Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Siri Brown during the April 23 student virtual town hall meeting.
“We are in the process of working on the back-end processes for issuing refunds to students for enrollment fees and 50% prorated parking pass fees. So, you may know that there are some students who paid all their fees this semester and some who did not. And so, if students have not paid their fees this semester, then the refund would be applied to the balance that’s still owed.”
Brown said the district will make an announcement with more details when more information becomes available. The refunds will be offered for students who used an Excused Withdrawal from March 10 to the end of the semester.
Although Excused Withdrawals usually require documentation, the district has made an exception for spring 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19. Students can use an Excused Withdrawal up to one year after the completion of the course, meaning that if they are dissatisfied with their grade, they have until the end of spring semester of 2021 to replace their grade with the EW. Unlike Withdrawals (W), Excused Withdrawals do not negatively impact a student’s grade-point average, ability to retake the class, or student academic progress that can influence financial aid.
According to the district website, all students who drop spring 2020 classes on or after March 26 will automatically receive an EW on their transcript. Students who dropped between March 10 and March 26 will need to fill out a Request for Excused Withdrawal form.
A March 20 executive order from California Community College State Chancellor Eloy Oakley suspended requirements to make it easier for districts to give refunds to students who withdraw due to hardship from COVID-19. On April 14, during a student media teleconference, Oakley said he “expects” districts to give refunds to students who ask for them.
Multiple requests for clarification regarding how and when students should expect to receive refunds from the district were not responded to by the time of publication.
Jacquelyn Opalach contributed reporting.