Miami reimburses students for student center fees

Complaints from parents and students led Miami University officials to repay $205,244 in fees to students who are taking summer courses through the Oxford campus.

Summer fees the university charged and earmarked to pay down the $53.1 million Armstrong Student Center (ASC), which opened in January of 2014, were recently reversed, according to Claire Wagner, the university’s spokeswoman. Students taking courses during any summer session in Oxford or through online classes, were reimbursed for the charges.

Senior Alex Kirkpatrick was one of many Miami students charged a student fee for the center this summer. Kirkpatrick said he likely won’t even step foot in the center this summer, so he was taken aback to see the $27.48 charge for his three credit hour online course through the Oxford campus.

“I was surprised when I saw the Summer Term Armstrong Student Center Fee on my account…I was just taking an online class this summer,” Kirkpatrick said. “I knew of other students who were complaining about the fee, none of us knew about it. When I checked my bill again later, I saw that I had been reimbursed.”

The university first began charging undergrads $9.16 per credit hour – or $110 for a full-time student – this year when the building first opened in January.

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“The bursar (treasurer of the college) said it heard from students and realized that we hadn’t given an appropriate heads up,” Wagner said. “It really only takes one well-written communication for us to look into something.”

Wagner said that the university waived ASC fees for all summer sessions after realizing these charges hadn’t been well-communicated to the student body.

According to Wagner, this is a facility fee that will be “indefinitely applied” to future student bills — including Miami’s recently added winter term. Summer fees supporting the new student center will now be implemented in the summer of 2015, charging students per credit hour.

“Fees for the student center contribute to operating expenses, as well as reducing the debt on the center,” Wagner said.

Students will be charged a fee in the coming semesters, even if they’re taking an online course, Wagner said.

“We are, first and foremost, a physical campus, and I think the formulas are written to budget for us going forward for overall service and infrastructure that are provided,” Wagner said.

Summertime students like senior Chloe Cooper were pleased to see that the fees for summer session 2014 had been waived, and that the university had been responsive to the students and families that had expressed their opinions.

“I think this is a great example of Miami not only listening to the opinions of its students and families, but also taking action upon their input,” Cooper said.

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