Though other University of Wisconsin System campuses have reduced segregated fees this semester due to COVID-19, UW-Madison says they have no intention of doing so.

Segregated fees are amounts charged to students in addition to tuition that are used to pay for on-campus services and facilities like University Health Services and University Recreation and Wellbeing. This year, those fees amounted to $734.30.

In an email statement to The Badger Herald, UW Director of News and Media Relations Meredith McGlone said the University is not planning to refund the fees at this time.

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“If fee refunds were to occur, it might not be possible to immediately restore services for students for future semesters,” McGlone said. 

COVID-19 has shut down or limited student access to many of those services at UW-Madison. The Nicholas Recreation Center opening was postponed, but it is now open at 25% capacity.

In-person access to UHS has been limited as well, though UHS is providing many virtual services, including mental health counseling and telehealth, and the Lakeshore Drop-In Clinic at Dejope has been closed until further notice.

UW-Madison junior Breon Newble started a petition to Chancellor Rebecca Blank that has now garnered over 1,500 signatures, calling for a partial or full refund of segregated fees. The petition said the University opening campus up has spread COVID-19 and now the students have to pay for services they can’t use.

Newble spoke about the petition to the Wisconsin State Journal.

“In the middle of a pandemic, it’s not the burden of students to subsidize the university through its downturn,” Newble said. 

Other schools in the UW system have already cut segregated fees. UW-Milwaukee has reduced its segregated fees by 23%, now charging students just $582, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

According to documents submitted to the System, UW-Milwaukee made the cut because of reduced programming and staffing. UW-Green Bay branch campuses Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Marinette have also cut segregated fees by 55%.

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McGlone said UW has continued to offer as many services as possible and continues to pay fixed costs for these services. 

“The financial impact of the pandemic has been substantial, and to date, UW-Madison has attempted to shield workers from its effects, to the extent possible,” McGlone said. “The University will continue to reassess its finances in the coming weeks.”