Spring 2020 Campus-based Fee Refunds

University issues small refunds to students for portion of Spring 2020 campus-based fees

UC Santa Barbara students who were registered during the 2020 Spring Quarter will receive a refund of some fees for that quarter due to the modifications to some campus services necessitated at that time by a rapidly growing pandemic.

The refunds are $63.34 for undergraduate students and $32.29 for graduate students who were registered at UCSB at that time. Those eligible for the refunds who are still enrolled at UC Santa Barbara today will receive them as credits in their BARC accounts. Those who are eligible but are no longer registered at UCSB will receive refunds electronically, or by check to their mailing address of record, assuming they have no fees outstanding.

As COVID-19 began to spread across the U.S. in spring 2020, in response to public health orders meant to stem transmissions, UC Santa Barbara — as did institutions nationwide — sent students home and transitioned to remote instruction. Some services also moved to remote delivery, while many on-campus activities were suspended and refunds were issued for unused campus housing and dining plans.

UC President Janet Napolitano on June 29, 2020 asked the chancellors of each campus to analyze campus-based fees and, where appropriate and feasible, issue refunds or their equivalents, for all net fees unexpended and unencumbered due to COVID-19 for spring 2020.

Analysis and results vary by campus. Undergraduate students and graduate students pay different fees, and will receive different refunds based on the fees each group pays. The forensic accounting process undertaken at UC Santa Barbara revealed that many campus-based fees were directed to long-term, ongoing or other planned expenditures, or to services that were provided remotely. These things factored into the calculation of net fees unexpended and unencumbered, and therefore into the amounts to be refunded.

An analysis of student fees paid and spent at UC Santa Barbara in academic years 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 was conducted to ascertain average spend rates by program/fee. Those spend rates were then used to determine eligible, refundable amounts by program/fee. Some fees or portions thereof were excluded from the refund-eligible amount, including fees allocated for financial aid, fees that were expended, and fees encumbered for long-term ongoing or other planned expenditures.

The total amount to be refunded by UC Santa Barbara for spring 2020 campus-based student fees is $1,456,697. Of that total amount, $1,364,028 is being refunded across 21,534 undergraduate students; $90,195 is going to 2,793 graduate students. Refunds are calculated based on fees paid and the unexpended and unencumbered portions of those fees.

Other UC campuses are also issuing refunds in varying amounts, based on the fees their respective students pay and the services those fees cover. 

Then-President Napolitano’s June 2020 letter was limited to campus-based fees assessed for spring of that year.

For subsequent quarters or semesters following spring 2020, tuition and fees are set regardless of the mode of instruction. UC Santa Barbara has published this information on relevant websites.

More information about this process can be found in an FAQ from the UC Office of the President.

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