With the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, UC Santa Barbara was tasked with transitioning to remote learning and working, and many UCSB students took issue with paying full tuition while their in-person learning experience was cut short.
Almost two years later on March 15, UC Santa Barbara returned financial credits to students who were enrolled during Spring Quarter 2020, with credits ranging from $32.29 for graduate students to $63.34 for undergraduate students. The money was also returned to students who had since graduated.
According to a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document from the UC regarding the financial redistribution, the amount of money UC students received depended on the campus they were enrolled in, though the specific amounts were not specified.
“Campus-based fees vary by campus and spring 2020 expenditures varied by campus as well. The comprehensive forensic accounting, applying the Guiding Principles, took into account these differences, which resulted in different refund amounts at different campuses and among different groups of students within campuses,” the FAQ document stated.
The money was redistributed through students’ BARC accounts, and any alumni received their money through direct deposit. For those who did not have a direct deposit set up, a check will be emailed to their address as listed on UCSB GOLD.
“In June of 2020, UC President Janet Napolitano called for all UC campuses to analyze Spring 2020 campus-based student fees, and where appropriate and feasible, issue refunds or their equivalents in response to the shift to remote instruction necessitated by public health orders,” according to an email from the University of California, acquired by the Nexus.
Napolitano issued a letter on June 29, 2020 acknowledging that the “temporary measures we [the UC System] took in response to the pandemic altered the student experience.”
“For some of the campus-based fees, there was simply no appropriate or effective substitute for the particular service provided, for which those particular fees could be used,” the letter continued.
According to the recent email, though a majority of the funding was put toward “the student service departments, programs, and facilities continued to operate, either in-person or virtually, throughout the pandemic,” the leftover funds were then accumulated and redistributed to students “following a comprehensive analysis performed with the aid of external accountants.”
Though many students have called for a partial return of tuition for all remote quarters, the FAQ page stated that the UC will only offer financial redistribution for Spring Quarter 2020.
“President Napolitano’s June 2020 letter was limited to campus-based fees assessed for spring 2020. While students received notice of remote instruction and services in advance of the spring 2020 quarter, in subsequent terms, students received additional notice that UC would not be reducing any of its fees,” the FAQ page stated.
“Students who enrolled in those circumstances were aware and thus understood there would not be refunds of campus-based fees for terms after spring 2020,” the page continued.