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Ohio State Summer Semester students receive refunds for reduced fees

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Ohio State students who enrolled in Summer Semester classes may have recently got some money back from the university.

Due to a fee adjustment, OSU refunded approximately 19,000 to 20,000 students up to $81, OSU spokesman Gary Lewis said in an email.

“In converting from quarters to semesters, The Ohio State University made a pledge to students that tuition and fees for an academic year would not cost more under the semester system than under quarters,” Lewis said in an email.

“To extend that pledge to students enrolled year round, the university has reduced the student activity, student union, recreation and COTA (Central Ohio Transit Authority) fees that were charged for summer term 2013, which includes May session and summer session,” he continued.

For Autumn Semester 2012 and Spring Semester 2013, full-time students paid $37.50 for their student activity fee, $74.40 as a student union fee, $13.50 as a COTA fee and a $123 recreation fee. The adjusted fees for Summer 2013 are $25 for student activities, $51 in student union fees, $9 for COTA and $82 for recreation, according to the Office of the University Registrar website.

The difference for a full-time student adds up to $81.40.

The fees were adjusted July 15, and money back was issued as either credit applied to the outstanding balance for Autumn 2013 or as a refund to students who are no longer enrolled at OSU or whose financial aid paid for Summer 2013, Lewis said.

Some students received more than others because “the amount of each student’s adjustment was dependent upon the total hours enrolled over summer and the amount of fees originally assessed,” Lewis said.

Undergraduate Student Government President Taylor Stepp, a fourth-year in public affairs, said the refund has been a goal of USG’s for a while.

“The issue was something that USG had begun addressing probably back in March,” Stepp said. “We’ve been advocating for quite some time … I actually got the money back into my account maybe last Monday, so we were pretty glad to get that done.”

In a blog post written by the Council of Graduate Student president, Josh Coy, a second-year Master’s student in arts policy and administration, explained how the fees had been calculated.

“Fees for Autumn and Spring were calculated using a 3/2 model; three quarters were divided by two, and this rate was then applied to each of the academic year’s semesters,” the blog post said. “Unfortunately, this rate was also applied to Summer semester, causing students to overpay on their recreational, student activity and student union facility fees.”

Autumn Semester 2012 and Spring Semester 2013 were both 70 days. May Session was 19 days and Summer Session was 34 days. Under the quarter system, there were between 47 and 49 teaching days each quarter.

Coy said when he brought the issue to the attention of OSU Chief Financial Officer Geoff Chatas, Chatas “immediately agreed that there was clearly an error.”

Although Stepp said he was the first to bring the issue to Chatas’ attention, he said CGS played a “major role” in getting the fees adjusted.

“I think that we all had conversations over time with Geoff (Chatas) and with the Registrar,” Stepp said. “A lot of these issues affect (all) students … We all kind of team up on them.”

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