WIU BOT gives authority to Abraham regarding refunds

MACOMB, Ill. (NEWS3) — Western Illinois University students could soon receive refunds for room and board after the COVID-19 crisis forced schools to cancel in-person classes and transition online.

The WIU Board of Trustees met Monday morning to give Interim President Martin Abraham the power to decide on student reimbursement for the spring semester.

More than a dozen students wrote to the board during the public comment section. All 18 students said they should receive refunds for room and board since they only completed half the semester on campus.

During the meeting, the board agreed to allow Abraham to have the authority to make decisions regarding refunding or crediting students mandatory fees and special fees for the current semester. The resolution gives Abraham authority until the state of emergency is lifted or the next BOT meeting. 

Board member Kisha Lang asked Abraham where the money to reimburse students would come from. Abraham responded by saying the refunds would come from the auxiliary funds, which is the same account students pay into for their room and board. 

Abraham said the administration has not finalized how the refunds will be dispersed, but he expects students to receive credit to their university account. 

NEWS3 reached out to WIU regarding if and when students could receive their refunds. Officials did not have an answer. 

Also during the meeting, the board approved a resolution to keep fiscal year 2021 student health insurance rates the same as the current year. This means students will pay $795 per half year and $1,590 per full year. 

The next BOT meeting is scheduled for June 11 and 12 at the WIU Quad-Cities campus.