Students should research consequences before waiving any student fees

Students have until Feb. 19 to collect up to $66 in refundable semester campus fees; but the costs of getting a refund could outweigh the benefits.

In room 100 of the Henry Administration Building, students can request refunds for seven campus fees when they present their i-card at the University Student Financial Services and Cashier Operations office.

According to the student financial services Web site, all refunds will be applied toward the student’s University account. Any credit balance stemming from the refunded fee will go to the student’s bank account via direct deposit, which students can set up through the online Enterprise system.

While signs outside the office inform students what these fees pay for, some on campus further explained that getting a refund could overshadow the benefits of the fees.

The Krannert fee is the highest refundable fee at $20. It allows the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts to offer students discounted tickets to all shows throughout the year.

“We would welcome a student that did not pay the fee to any show, but that fee provides a steep discount,” said Bridget Lee-Calfas, public information director for Krannert. She added that the fee can sometimes pay for itself with the purchase of just one ticket. However, Jon Coraglio, freshman in Business, said he already refunded the Krannert fee because he has never attended an event at Krannert and does not plan to attend one this semester.

The $12 Student Organization Resource Fee, or SORF, supports Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), Student Legal Services and the Tenant Union, said SORF Board Chair Charles Blatti.

Blatti said if students are thinking about joining an RSO, they should be careful about refunding the fee, which helps pay for the organizations’ travel, advertising and equipment.

“We’re trying to use the money we give to RSOs as assistance, not as one hundred percent coverage,” he said. “When we see you have not paid the fee—if you paid for the equipment, if you bought the advertisement—we cannot reimburse you.”

Although Gabriela Pedroza, sophomore in LAS, refunded her SORF last semester, she said she is paying the fee this semester so she can afford a trip to India in the summer. She said the fee will allow her to be reimbursed for $300 of her travel expenses with International Impact, an RSO that takes students on service trips abroad.

Half of the SORF funds are given out to RSOs, Blatti said, while the other half is given to Student Legal Services and the Tenant Union.

“The most compelling reason to refuse the refund is because for that twelve dollars, you get legal advice and court representation for free,” said Esther Patt, coordinator for the Tenant Union. She said Student Legal services can help students that receive traffic tickets, underage drinking violations and other offenses without having to pay expensive legal fees. Patt said that the Tenant Union would also not be able to assist those students who refund the SORF.

“We cannot take a student’s complaint or advocate on their behalf,” she added. While the Krannert and SORF fees help the students that pay for them, other fees help students in need of financial assistance. The Legacy Scholarship fee is the second highest refundable fee at $15. The fee goes toward the Legacy of Service and Learning Scholarship, which provides financial aid to students with low and middle income backgrounds and may be renewed if the student completes 50 hours of community service every year.

In addition to campus fees, students are able to waive the Student Health Insurance Fee, which is $206 for undergraduates and $292 for graduates, until Feb. 22.

If students provide proof that they are covered under another insurance plan that provides comparable benefits, they do not have to pay the fee, said Donna Curtin, manager of the Student Health Insurance Office.

Curtin said if students waived the insurance fee during a previous semester, they are already exempt from the fee this semester and will not receive a refund. Proof of insurance can be presented at the Student Insurance Office, also in room 100 of the Henry Administration Building.