Student appeals to Dept. of Education over U of M’s no-refund dining policy

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — University of Memphis political science major Corrine Couch spent Thursday reaching out to school officials about the school’s controversial new dining policy.

Students who use the Tiger Eat$ program are no longer refunded the unused money at the end of the semester, even though the $300 fee is mandatory for all full-time students.

“I sent an email this morning to the president, the vice president, the CFO, the provost, the dean of students,” Couch said.

When she learned she wouldn’t be getting a refund Tuesday, she also reached out to the United States Department of Education to file a formal complaint.

Couch said she was automatically charged $300 this semester for the Tiger Eat$ program. What she hasn’t used will be rolled over to the spring semester, but after that, the funds disappear without a refund.

“Money doesn’t expire,” she said. “That’s not how that works. Money goes somewhere.”

She’s demanding to know where the money is going because she pays for her education with a federal student loan, and she’s paying interest on the $300 dining charge.

“If my federal financial aid dollars are going somewhere that isn’t used for educational purposes, I want to know where and why because I think that’s a gross misuse of funding,” Couch said.

The U of M didn’t respond to specific questions about Couch’s complaint, but the school sent WREG the following statement Wednesday about the Tiger Eat$ program.

“Our goal is not to get a financial benefit from any remaining unused Tiger Eats funds, but to continue to invest in more and innovate dining options for our students.”

The U of M also said as of last week, 82% of all Tiger Eat$ funds had been used.

But Couch said most of her funds haven’t been used, and she’s still demanding a refund.

“We would go so far as to sponsor a boycott of the student dining services if our refunds aren’t given,” Couch said.

The U of M provided WREG to a link where students can dispute dining charges, but the deadline for the fall semester has already expired. Couch said she was never told she could file an appeal.

The DOE responded to Couch late Thursday and said this is not an issue the department can get involved with.

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