Desperately seeking refunds

Katie Greenwald

Students must drop classes early for bigger returns

As we enter the third week of classes, some students are finding themselves in over their heads.

So they have to decide if they will sink, swim or drop some classes.

Students who choose the third option and are no longer enrolled full time (12 credit hours or more) will only receive 65 percent of their tuition back.

By next week, students who drop to part time will receive 60 percent back, and by Feb. 14, students will receive no refund.

Full-time, in-state undergrads pay $3,752 for spring tuition. Part-time students pay $343 per credit hour. Full-time students who drop to part-time by the end of this week will receive a $2,438.80 refund.

“It’s critical (students) make decisions as early as they can,” said Sara Lynn Charleston, manager of accounts receivable. “The first week, if possible.”

Refund amounts are established by the Board of Trustees at the Bursar’s Office, and Charleston said it’s a generous schedule.

The University of Akron and Indiana University both refund 50 percent of tuition through the third week of classes, while Pennsylvania State refunds 60 percent.

But by the fifth week, when Kent State and Indiana stop issuing refunds, Akron and Penn State are still issuing 20 and 30 percent, respectively.

Bowling Green offers students more time to decide if they will be sticking with their classes. By the third week, students who drop classes and are below full-time will receive 80 percent of their tuition back, and by the fifth week they still receive 40 percent back.

Ohio University offers a different kind of refund schedule. Students there receive a 100 percent refund for the first two weeks of class, and nothing after that.

Some students who receive financial aid may actually save money by Kent State’s refund schedule, Charleston said.

The government may require money back if students drop after the fifth week. Kent State acts as a mediator between the government and student.

If the student were to drop after the fifth week, and the university was still issuing refunds, “they end up owing the university that difference,” Charleston said.

Charleston said that not all students seem to be aware of the refund schedule, even though a copy of it is sent to each student and it is available online at

“I’d settle for a penny for every time I heard ‘no one showed it to me,’ ” Charleston said.

Charleston said it is beneficial for the student to use electronic deposit because there will be no mix-ups with the mail and the student will receive the refund days sooner. The university must have the student’s correct address if the student doesn’t have electronic deposit.

Electronic deposit is available online at

Betty Scardina, sophomore hospitality management major, dropped classes in Spring 2004, which put her below full-time. She was issued a refund but never saw it.

“I owed from the semester before, so they took it,” Scardina said. “It was maybe $100.”

She said she didn’t keep close track of the process.

“I just give them the money, and they let me take the classes,” Scardina said.

Contact finance reporter Katie Greenwald at [email protected].