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How a Clear Refund Policy Can Encourage More Registrations

Greg Shula

July 28, 2023

No class provider wants to issue a refund to students. You want your classes to happen as scheduled and for students to be satisfied with the experience. But when weather, illness, or other circumstances disrupt the best-laid plans, it’s smart to have a clear refund policy. It lets both students and staff know what to expect. 

We’ll show you how to write a clear policy that improves the student experience and makes life easier for your staff at the same time. We’ve even created an example refund policy that you can copy and customize to fit your needs.

Why You Need a Clear Refund Policy

Well-written refund policies are vital for any business providing services to the public, that includes course providers. A refund policy establishes expectations for both your business and customers and can protect you from potential financial losses and liability. 

A clear refund policy lets students know what to expect if they need to cancel a registration and can protect you from financial losses and liability.

Your policy lets registrants know what to expect if they need to cancel a registration. Having a signed or virtually acknowledged refund policy can also help you win a credit card dispute known as a chargeback. When your policy is clear, students and registrants can work with you directly without getting credit card companies involved.

Example of a Clear Refund Policy

Let’s start with a solid example of a clear refund policy. This example covers the common reasons you might cancel classes, as well as reasons students might need to cancel. It explains common situations and how you’ll handle refund requests. 

Note that we are registration software providers, not lawyers, so this isn’t legal advice. It’s just an example of a clear policy you might use as a starting point.

Example Refund Policy

This refund policy covers class cancellations and refunds for registered students. By registering for classes, you indicate that you have read and understand this policy. 

  1. Weather-Related Cancellations:

We may sometimes choose to cancel classes if severe weather makes attendance unsafe for students or instructors. If this happens, we will notify you by phone or email. You will receive a full refund or credit toward an upcoming class if we cancel due to weather. 

  1. Illness and Health-Related Cancellations:

If an instructor is ill and unable to teach as scheduled, we may bring in a substitute or cancel the class. If a class is canceled due to instructor illness, we will notify you by phone or email. You may choose to receive a refund or credit toward an upcoming class if we cancel due to instructor illness.  

  1. Insufficient Enrollment:

If a class does not meet the minimum enrollment required to run effectively, we may have to cancel or reschedule it. Participants will have the option to transfer to another class, receive a credit, or request a full refund.

  1. Personal Cancellations:

If you cannot attend a class, you must notify us 7 days before the class start date to request a refund. An administrative fee of 10% will be deducted from the refund amount.  If you cancel fewer than 7 days in advance, you will not be eligible for a refund. 

  1. No-Shows or Missed Classes:

Refunds will not be provided for no-shows or missed classes without prior notification.

  1. Refunds Requests and Processing:

You must submit refund requests by email to refunds@myprogram.com. Refunds will be processed within 14 business days after we receive the request. If you paid by credit card or online payment system, the refund will be issued back to the original payment method. If you paid by cash or check, refunds will be provided by check. 

We strive to be fair to our students while ensuring the smooth functioning of our programs. Please contact refunds@myprogram.com for any questions or concerns related to our refund policy.

You can adjust this policy to meet your needs. You might want to add or remove items depending on the kind of classes you teach. 

How to Write a Clear Refund Policy

The example above can help you write a clear refund policy for your program. Whether you use our language or write your own, keep these best practices in mind. 

  • Be concise. People tend to breeze over terms and agreements when registering. Keeping your policy brief will increase the chances that your registrants will read it. Your refund policy shouldn’t be longer than one page.

  • Use plain language. Legal jargon might make your refund policy sound official, but it won’t make it clear. Try to write in plain language an 8th grader could easily understand.
  • Write one policy for all classes. Your refund policy should be standard across all of your classes. Consistent rules make it easier for students to remember and apply your policies. 

The Best Refund Policies Include These 4 Items:

4 parts of a clear refund policy: time limit, policies, procedures, exemptions

Your refund policy should clearly outline what students or registrants can expect. That means it should cover all common situations as well as the procedure for requesting and processing refunds. Check that your refund policy includes these 4 items:

  1. Time limit for refunds. Be clear about your refund timeframes. For example, “no refunds after the first day of class” or “refunds must be requested 48 hours before a class begins.”

  2. Policies for class cancellation. There are multiple reasons why a class may be canceled. Cover the most common ones (weather, illness, low enrollment) so students know what to expect.

  3. Specific exemption information. Tell students which fees you will refund in each situation. For example, some programs offer a special exception if the student gets sick. Others may refund a materials fee but not the class fees.

  4. Clear refund request procedures. Describe the procedure that a registrant must follow in order to request a refund. Link to necessary paperwork and tell them exactly where to send it or whom to contact. 

It’s also good practice to review and update your policy yearly. If you make changes, email existing students and let them know. 

How to Share a Refund Policy

A clear refund policy is only useful if your students know about it. To make sure your registrants see your refund policy, share it in at least one of the following places: 

  • Your main website menu
  • As a link in the footer of your main website
  • As a link at the bottom of each course description

CourseStorm customers can share their refund policy in two useful ways: as a link on their CourseStorm site or as a waiver on their class registration form.

If you’re a CourseStorm customer, you can share your refund policy in two other useful ways. Adding it as a link in the intro text of your CourseStorm site can make it more visible. You can add it as a waiver on your class registration form. The waiver should include a checkbox indicating that the student has read and agreed to the policy.

Share Your Policy Internally

Your staff should also get a copy of your policy so they are ready to answer questions from students. Sharing the policy internally ensures that everyone is following the same rules. If you decide that certain staff members should have the power to make exceptions, tell them where to document those exceptions. 

Clarity Makes Registrations Simple

Nobody wants to issue a refund, but it’s good to know you have a clear policy in place when needed. Your straightforward approach will help students feel more confident in their purchase. Staff members will save time by having a clear policy to reference. Your program might even save money by avoiding chargebacks and other headaches. 

Simplifying the class registration process is something we know a lot about here at CourseStorm. Our online class registration and payment software simplifies everything from policy sharing to group registrations, so your students get a seamless registration experience every time. Try a free trial for yourself, or contact us to learn more.

Greg Shula

Greg has spent a decade analyzing business and marketing performance metrics of the companies he has worked with. He uses his analytical mind and investigative skills to find trends and simple answers from complicated data sets. Greg is also an amateur photographer who loves to capture nature from new perspectives.

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