SORF refund prevents you from using services

By Esther Patt

Before students follow the advice to “Fill out University refund request,” it would be wise to find out the purpose of the fee and what the student loses with a refund.

The Student Organization Resource Fee (SORF) funds the Student Legal Services, Tenant Union and programs sponsored by hundreds of registered student organizations.

If you get a SORF refund, you cannot use Student Legal Services for advice or court representation. If you get a traffic ticket or an underage drinking ticket or your landlord sues you, you’re going to need a lawyer. The family friend who freely gives your parents off-the-cuff legal advice about your problem is rarely willing to drive to Champaign-Urbana to actually appear in court for you. If you have to pay a private attorney, that will cost you at least $200 per hour.

That’s the real cost of getting a $14 SORF refund. At Tenant Union, where I work, every year we have some clients whose problems end up in court. When that happens, Tenant Union refers the student to Student Legal Services, unless the student got a SORF refund.

It breaks my heart to see a student lose a battle with an unfair landlord because the student can’t get a lawyer after taking a SORF refund. Too often students who take SORF refunds don’t even know what SORF is. If you think Tenant Union and Student Legal Services are valuable services, please don’t take a SORF refund. A refund prevents you from using the services, and without SORF funds, neither service would exist.

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