Many students have asked about refunds for Spring 2020 segregated fees, noting that they are not on campus to take advantage of the services those fees provide.
Segregated fees provide funding for a wide range of services, including Norris Health Center, University Counseling Services, University Recreation and other student engagement services, including Student Involvement, the Women’s Resource Center, Military and Veterans Resource Center, the Center for Inclusive Excellence and the LGBTQ+ Resource Center. These services are still operating, although they may look a little different right now.
For example, University Recreation is offering online fitness classes and recreation clinics. University Counseling is offering telehealth-based counseling. Many of the aforementioned units, along with the Graduate Student Resource Network and UWM Student Association, are collaborating on a virtual student union, which is a Canvas course where Panthers can connect and build community through discussions, one-on-one conversations and social media.
Segregated fees also pay for maintaining buildings, such as the UWM Student Union, the Klotsche Center and related utility costs. These buildings and services have costs that can’t quickly be reduced, such as heat, maintenance and professional staff. And we want to make sure that the buildings and services are available when students return to campus. For this reason, UW System has determined no UW campus will refund segregated fees for the spring semester.
It’s too soon for us to say whether the COVID-19 situation will continue beyond spring semester or what its total financial impact will be. Although some units are seeing savings with providing online services, others are facing a loss of non-seg fee revenue from things like locker fees, dining and space rentals, which also help support their budgets. And after years of state budget cuts, UWM has little in reserve to cover these losses.
As we look ahead, campus leaders are working with the UWM Student Association to determine adjustments to future segregated fees. If you are concerned about these fees, we encourage you to contact your SA representatives so that your voice will be heard.