The WELL offers partial refunds to Sac State faculty, staff, alumni

FAQ says students cannot receive refunds, contradicting cited CSU policy

The+WELL+at+Sacramento+State.+According+to+an+email+obtained+by+The+State+Hornet%2C+they+are+offering+refunds+to+faculty%2C+staff%2C+alumni+and+sponsored+members.

File Photo

The WELL at Sacramento State. According to an email obtained by The State Hornet, they are offering refunds to faculty, staff, alumni and sponsored members.

Madeleine Beck, Deputy Copy Editor

The WELL at Sacramento State will offer refunds to faculty, staff, alumni and sponsored members according to an email obtained by the State Hornet. 

“We are emailing all of our Monthly-EFT Faculty, Staff, Alumni and Sponsored members to inform you that we are currently processing a 50% refund for your March member dues, due to these unprecedented circumstances,” the email said.

RELATED: The WELL at Sac State to close indefinitely citing coronavirus concerns

According to Sac State’s COVID-19 FAQ page, the university cannot offer students refunds on mandatory student fees such as the University Union and The WELL, according to a California State University policy. 

This policy states that “tuition and other campus mandatory fees will not be refunded except as provided for by existing campus refund policies and procedures consistent with Title 5 CCR § 41802.”

Title 5 CCR § 41802 (e)(2) states that tuition and mandatory fees may be refunded if the student or an authorized representative petitions the university for a refund demonstrating “exceptional circumstances” and the chief financial officer of the university or designee makes a determination that the tuition and mandatory fees have not been earned by the university.

In response to that portion of the policy, Jonathan Bowman, Sac State vice president of administration and business affairs, said that Sac State’s chief financial officer determined that mandatory fees are “being earned by the different entities.”

According to Brian Blomster, Sac State director of news and communications, Bowman fills the role of chief financial officer.

“Some areas, such as the Student Health and Counseling Center are still open for in-person services,” Bowman said in an email sent through Sac State’s University Communications. “Some areas that are physically closed due to the shelter-in-place and social distancing orders are still working to determine if there are virtual opportunities for students.  Additionally, these entities have ‘debt service’ (which is like a mortgage) on their buildings and salaries of those employees that are still working.”

An Instagram post by The WELL Wednesday confirmed those expenses.

Story continues after Instagram post.

Bowman added that the university wants to ensure that in-person services can be resumed quickly when the “local situation” changes. Bowman also said student financial aid packages are impacted when mandatory fees are adjusted.

“This consideration is not taken lightly, as more that 80% of our student body receive grant or loan aid,” Bowman said in the email. “Across the board ‘refunds’ would likely require aid or loan payback by a large number of students. That is why we are only approving and processing case-by-case refunds due to withdrawal and/or other academic situations, based on our previously existing pro-rata refund policies.”

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect comment from Jonathan Bowman, Sac State vice president of administration and business affairs, sent via email through Sacramento State’s University Communications.

UPDATE: Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

This story was updated to reflect an announcement on social media from THE WELL stating mandatory campus fees cannot be refunded.