#mytuitionrights

Tuition Payer Bill of Rights™

About the Tuition Payer Bill of Rights™

Following the global outbreak of COVID-19 this past spring, higher education's abrupt transition to online learning sparked widespread concern that students did not receive the quality academic experience, services and activities they paid for with their tuition dollars and student fees.

This fall, many colleges and universities across the country are planning to continue providing only online instruction or a hybrid of online and in-person instruction. Yet, very few institutions have announced a willingness to discount tuition or fees.

Championed by Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust, the Tuition Payer Bill of Rights™ is a series of long-overdue consumer protections that, among other fundamental rights, will ensure that consumers either get what they pay for or a refund. Along with the initiative’s coalition partners, Partners believes students should not have to pay the same price for lesser quality instruction or be required to pay for on-campus services they aren’t able – or don’t want – to use. 

Widespread support for and adoption of the Tuition Payer Bill of Rights™ will serve to safeguard consumers’ considerable investments into higher education and will help to restore confidence in the choices students and families face in the future.

download the TUITION PAYER BILL OF RIGHTS
the rights

Every college student in America should have the:

1. Right to Advertised Benefits and Refunds

The right to receive the full benefits owed to students through payment of tuition, fees, and room and board and to be refunded for services not rendered.

2. Right to Opt Out of Non-Essential Services

The right to opt-out of paying fees levied for collegiate athletics, recreation, and other non-essential services.

3. Right to No-Cost Alternatives to Textbooks

The right to be given the option of no-cost online texts and materials.

4. Right to Financial Transparency

The right to a clear and detailed explanation of anticipated costs and those incurred to earn a college education; of financial aid and payment obligations; and of billing and how colleges spend money.

5. Right to Know the Value of a Degree

The right to be informed of the earnings premium that former students earn beyond the typical high school graduate before enrolling in an institution of higher education.

6. Right to Speak

The right to address college governing and advisory boards in a public comment period during open board meetings before decisions are made.

Take action

Sign the Petition Supporting the
Tuition Payer Bill of Rights™!

Join our broad coalition of students, parents, college alumni, concerned citizens, and advocacy organizations in a national movement supporting the enactment of the Tuition Payer Bill of Rights™! By signing this petition, we can send a unified message to higher ed policy makers urging them to provide basic consumer rights to students and families who foot the bill in higher education.

Tuition Payer Protection Checklist

This fall, students and family consumers should ask these important questions to ensure that they are informed and that their investment in higher education is protected. 

download the Tuition payer protection checklist
coalition partners

Building a strong national coalition

With the help of our coalition partners, we will build a strong national movement that permanently tips the scales towards students and families through institutional changes.

Download the Coalition Statement of support

If your organization is interested in supporting the Tuition Payer Bill of Rights™ as a coalition partner, please email Stacie Gordon at stacie@pcapt.org.

MEDIA

Stay up-to-date on the issue

Read the latest news updates on relevant topics related to the Tuition Payer Bill of Rights™, including college refunds, tuition increases/reductions, consumer rights in higher education, proportionate student fees, cost transparency, campus or system-wide student petitions, and more!

Carolina Journal: UPDATED: UNC COVID outbreaks underscore desire of parents, students for financial relief if schools close
Emma Schambach
Four COVID-19 outbreaks reported last week at UNC Chapel Hill won’t shut down the flagship university campus. Yet. Officials are dealing with the...
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Bacon's Rebellion: A College-Student Bill of Rights
James Bacon
College students should be reimbursed if they don’t receive the full benefits they pay for in tuition, fees, room, and board, declares the Partners...
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Campus Reform: Coalition aims to hold colleges accountable for 'undelivered benefits' amid shift to online learning
Maria Copeland
Several organizations on Wednesday collectively announced the national launch of the “Tuition Payer Bill of Rights,” a consumer protection initiati...
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EdSurge: Lawsuits Over Tuition Refunds Inspire New Student Consumer ‘Bill of Rights’
Rebecca Koenig
Many consumer protection laws make sure that if people don’t receive what they paid for, they get their money back. Should that apply to higher edu...
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University Business: 6 protections called for in Tuition Payer Bill of Rights
Matt Zalaznick
College and university students deserve a range of guaranteed consumer protections, according to a Tuition Payer Bill of Rights released Wednesday...
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Diverse Issues in Higher Education: Coalition Advocates for Adoption of “Tuition Payer Bill of Rights” to Protect Student Consumers
Jessica Ruf
Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust (Partners) coalition is calling for a “Tuition Payer Bill of Rights” that would constitute a se...
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CBS 6 News: Students across the U.S. sign petitions demanding reduced college tuition
Alicia Nieves
Students around the country have started to sign petitions, demanding colleges reduce tuition costs amid the pandemic. A recent survey by OneClass....
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Wisconsin State Journal: With most UW classes still online this fall, students hold out hope for reduced tuition
Kelly Meyerhofer
As University of Wisconsin System students grapple with the realization that most of their classes will again be online this fall, many hold out ho...
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Detroit Free Press: University of Michigan: We don't owe students refund for switching to online instruction
David Jesse
The University of Michigan doesn't owe students any refunds for switching to online instruction in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, largely bec...
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The Associated Press: 'Clear as mud' housing refund plans irk college students
Bryan Anderson
When Laura Comino opened the housing email from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in June, she knew she had to take action. At the di...
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The Kansas City Star: Kansas students sue for tuition refunds: They paid to be on campus, not online
Mará Rose Williams
Two Kansas State University graduates have filed a class action lawsuit against the school, claiming they did not get the education they paid for w...
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KAFF News: Dine College Is Offering A Tuition Discount For The Fall Semester
Dave Zorn
Dine College wants students to go back to college for the fall semester and work on getting their degree. The college is offering a 50-percent tuit...
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Forbes: Pandemic Highlights Value Of Higher Ed, Planning For College Costs
Robert Cole
Headlines, especially of late, can be controversial. The alleged pending death of higher education has been recent headline fodder, including “The ...
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The Collegian: Tuition won’t be refunded if classes revert online mid-semester, Provost says
Bailey Britton
Kansas State won’t refund tuition if all classes return to distance education partway through the semester “since students are able to make progres...
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The Daily Utah Chronicle: Poma: Utah College Students Have Been Right All Along: We’re Being Ripped Off
Sasha Poma
College costs a lot – that’s a known fact. At the University of Utah, the average resident student could pay well over $20,000-$30,000 a year for e...
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KPRC 2: Students frustrated that college tuition remains unchanged despite most classes moving online
Mario Diaz
With the coronavirus pandemic causing colleges and universities around the country, and in Texas, to move online in the Fall 2020 semester, student...
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Elon News Network: No tuition refund if classes go remote raises concerns for students
Isabella Seman
Frustrated by Elon University not promising to lower tuition costs if the school is forced to turn to remote learning, Elon students have started a...
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Campus Technology: Students Think Online College Should Cost Less
Dian Schaffauser
A single-question survey of more than 17,000 incoming college students across the United States and Canada has found that students believe online c...
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Minnesota Daily: Letter to the Editor: Online education is not as valuable as in-person teaching. Tuition should reflect that
Samuel Meshbesher
In consideration of the reduced value of remote learning and new financial hardships caused by this pandemic, the University of Minnesota must sign...
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National Review: College Is More Than Classes
Carine Hajjar
The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally restructured higher education for at least the next semester. Come fall, many college students are yet agai...
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Baltimore Sun: Towson University student creates petition asking for refund of athletics fee
Kyle J. Andrews
About 3,000 people have signed a petition calling on Towson University to refund a mandatory $499 athletics fee now that the university has suspend...
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WOOD TV 8: GVSU students protest tuition hike amid shift to online classes
Dana Whyte
Students at Grand Valley State University have started an online petition to protest the school’s recent 3% increase in tuition. The change will co...
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Bloomberg Law: Harvard, Duke, Other Schools Turn to Big Law in Virus Suits
Elizabeth Olson
Ivy League and other schools are turning to Big Law to defend against a flood of coronavirus-fueled lawsuits that seek millions in refunds of tuiti...
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ABC New York: NY Students Petition to Change Policy That Makes Them Liable for Boarding Cost Despite Virus Outbreak
Checkey Beckford
College students on Long Island are concerned that their room and board in the fall semester won't come with a refund in the age of the coronavirus...
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The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Case for Tuition Refunds
Sara Van Horn and Wen Zhuang
This won’t be a regular semester, and colleges shouldn’t charge a regular price. The first day of online classes, in March, turned administrators i...
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The Chronicle of Higher Education: Colleges Face a No-Win Dilemma: To Cut or Not to Cut Tuition?
Lee Gardner
They can offer discounts for online classes and take a hit to the bottom line, or they can stick with full tuition and still probably take a hit to...
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The Texas Tribune: Free laptops, esports and tuition cuts: How one Dallas college is pivoting during the pandemic
Raga Justin
Paul Quinn College serves more than 500 students. In a statement, university President Michael Sorrell announced measures it would take to appease...
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Money Magazine: Colleges Are Telling Students They Won't Get Housing Refunds If Campuses Close Again for Coronavirus
Charlotte West
Colleges around the country are beginning to tell students not to expect a refund for housing expenses if the pandemic forces another spate of abru...
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The Chronicle of Higher Education: Next Candidate for the Fall Chopping Block? Student Housing Refunds
Elin Johnson
Universities across the country have written addendums into their residence-life contracts specifying that refunds will not be issued if a Covid-19...
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The Daily Evergreen: WSU amends housing policy after petition gains over 5,000 signatures
Sydney Brown
WSU updated its housing policy, which originally told students it would not refund housing costs should the coronavirus cause another school shutdo...
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Lancaster Online: Local college students are demanding a discount for online courses, but will they succeed?
Alex Geli
Students at two of Lancaster County’s largest colleges are calling for tuition discounts in the fall as many classes shift online due to the coronavir
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MyNorthwest.com: Ursula: Making college students pay full tuition during pandemic is deeply unethical
Ursula Reutin
With the number of COVID-19 cases skyrocketing again around the country, college students are facing the prospect of taking most, if not all, of th...
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Forbes: Colleges Block Housing Refunds Due To Coronavirus
Wesley Whistle
Some universities are taking steps to keep their budgets intact in case of closures in the fall. And they’re doing so at the cost of their students...
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The Salt Lake Tribune: Utah’s public colleges are charging fees for services that many students never use, audit says
Courtney Tanner
Utah’s public colleges are frequently charging fees for services that students don’t use — and increases get approved each year with little or no i...
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Newsweek: Williams College Tuition Cuts Could Prompt Some Schools to Reduce Costs
Emily Czachor
Williams College's upcoming tuition discounts could signal similar cost reductions ahead for students enrolled at other schools, some higher educat...
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Forbes: Williams College Cuts Tuition 15% And Cancels Sports For Fall Semester
Anna Esaki-Smith
Williams College, one of the country’s most prestigious liberal arts colleges, announced today it will reduce by 15% its “comprehensive fee,” which...
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South Jersey Times: N.J. colleges must decide what online learning is worth | Editorial
South Jersey Times Editorial Board
If you want to, you can volunteer to pay the same amount and get less. Rowan University is putting a much different spin than that on its new, pand...
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Inside HigherEd: Inconsistent Information on Indirect Expenses
Melanie St. Amour
Some colleges provide detailed lists of transportation, housing and other indirect expenses, while others provide nothing. Without clear informatio...
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The News & Observer: NC legislature passes a bill protecting universities from COVID-19 tuition refunds
By Kate Murphy
The North Carolina legislature passed a bill Thursday that provides immunity for colleges and universities for legal claims related to COVID-19 clo...
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University Business: College students want online-only tuition lowered
Matt Zalaznick
While most college students say their institution has responded well to the coronavirus, a majority don’t want to pay full tuition if all of their...
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The Progressive Pulse: UNC System students protesting policy that could deny housing refunds for COVID-19 closures
Joe Killian
When students at UNC-Greensboro and Western Carolina University started getting their new on-campus housing contracts this week, something jumped o...
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Detroit Free Press: University of Michigan: We don't owe students refund for switching to online instruction
David Jesse
The University of Michigan doesn't owe students any refunds for switching to online instruction in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, largely bec...
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Newsweek: More Than 60 Colleges Hit With Lawsuits As Students Demand Tuition Refunds
Melba Newsome
At least 60 colleges and universities across the country, and perhaps as many as 100 or more, are now being sued by students who believe they were...
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Deseret News: Utah audit: Why should all college students pay study abroad fee? Library fee?
Marjorie Cortez
Some student fees assessed by Utah’s public college and universities don’t meet the “reasonable test.” That’s the conclusion of a new audit release...
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Education Dive: Some colleges say no to housing refunds this fall
Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
South Florida announced earlier this month that in order to move onto campus, students must agree to an addendum to the college's housing contract...
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US News: $24M in Virus Refunds Planned to Louisiana College Students
Associated Press
Louisiana colleges are returning at least $24 million to students because the academic year was interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. LSU is dol...
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Inside HigherEd: Colleges Woo Students With Bargain Tuition Rates
Emma Whitford
This spring many colleges announced tuition deals for students in response to the pandemic, and they’re seeing it pay off with growing application...
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Inside HigherEd: The Online Risk
Scott Jaschik
Thirty-three percent of high school seniors say they would defer or cancel an admittance rather than attend an all-online college. Plus results fro...
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The Daily Pennsylvanian: Students call for tuition refunds, citing unusable campus resources and isolated learning
Hadriana Lowenkron
Last month, universities nationwide asked students to leave campus to limit the spread of the coronavirus. But several weeks into remote instructio...
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CNBC: Demand for refunds intensifies among college students
Jessica Dickler
For undergraduates studying at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, college isn’t what it used to be. However, it costs just the same. While a numbe...
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The New York Times: Colleges Won’t Refund Tuition. Autumn May Force a Reckoning.
Ron Lieber
If you didn’t get what you paid for, and the thing you bought cost five figures, it stands to reason that you’d get some of your money back. But th...
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Inside HigherEd: Feeling Shortchanged
Greta Anderson
College students say the online instruction they're getting in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic is not the education for which they paid. Some...
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Inside HigherEd: Feeling Shortchanged
Greta Anderson
College students say the online instruction they're getting in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic is not the education for which they paid. Some...
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The Wall Street Journal: To Fight Coronavirus, Colleges Sent Students Home. Now Will They Refund Tuition?
Melissa Korn and Douglas Belkin
As colleges and universities nationwide shut down dorms and dining halls, cancel athletic events and commencements and shift to remote instruction...
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RESOURCES

Learn more

Learn more about the issue to better inform your advocacy efforts!

Did you know...?

99.5%

Nearly all college students believe that tuition should either be lowered (93.2%) or they should be allowed to opt out of fees for unavailable facilities (6.3%) if colleges go completely online this fall, according to a survey by OneClass,

66%

66 percent of college students say they should receive tuition discounts for remote learning, thinking it to be lower quality than in-person instruction, according to a survey by Student Loan Hero.

93%

93 percent of college students believe that tuition should be discounted if schools are only offering online or distance learning options, according to a survey by College Pulse.

76%

75.5 percent college students are unhappy with the quality of eLearning during Covid-19, according to a survey by OneClass.

93%

During the Covid-19 pandemic, 93 percent of college students are more concerned about being able to pay for their education, according to a survey by Niche.

57%

During the Covid-19 pandemic, 57 percent of parents of college students say they are less able to pay for their child's education, according to a survey by Niche.

68%

68 percent of higher ed students believe the emergency online instruction they've received due to the Covid-19 pandemic is lower quality than the in-person instruction they've received, according to a survey by Top Hat.

Relevant Studies & Policy Papers