CT colleges refund students for room and board amid coronavirus crisis
Connecticut colleges, having moved classes online and sent students home because of the coronavirus, are trying to figure out a refund plan for room and board payments.
UConn’s Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to authorize administrators to issue refunds for student housing and dining fees, which have been repeatedly requested by students since the campus closures were announced.
The refunds will total about $30 million, Executive Vice President Scott Jordan said.
About 12,000 students live on UConn’s Storrs and Stamford campuses. About 1,200 students are remaining in residence halls in Storrs and 63 in Stamford because they are unable to return home or do not have a safe place to go.
The refunds will be calculated by prorating housing and dining costs for the remaining seven weeks of the semester, starting March 23 through the end of the academic year. The amounts will be credited to students’ accounts through the university bursar by the end of the semester, Jordan said.
Graduating seniors, students leaving the university or others who request it will receive cash refunds, while returning students will have that amount carried over to the next semester.
Amounts will range from about $1,600 to $3,200 for housing and $1,200 to $1,400 for dining for Storrs students while Stamford students will receive about $2,800 to $3,100.
Board Chairman Dan Toscano said the university needed to act quickly, and has not yet assessed the impact on UConn’s budget or how to make up for the financial loss.
“We hope, and hope very loudly, that there is federal and state assistance with this, but we couldn’t afford to wait and find out,” he said.
Connecticut State Universities, including Southern, Western, Central and Eastern, were directed by CSCU President Mark Ojakian to credit student accounts for unused room and board by next week, said spokesman Leigh Appleby. If there is a credit balance, students will get a refund.
Each institution is in the process of reaching out to students to outline the timeline and procedures. The refunds are projected to be about $24.5 million, Appleby said.
Amounts will vary based on university, type of housing, and other factors, but students who paid room and board fees should expect a credit covering the period beginning with the closure of residence halls through the end of the spring 2020 term, Appleby said.
“This is a complex process, but our universities are working to issue credits and refunds as expeditiously as possible,” Ojakian said in a statement. “We understand that these housing refunds are important monetary sources for our students as they begin to adjust to a new normal of online learning.”
Prorated refunds are also planned for students at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Quinnipiac University in Hamden and Yale University in New Haven.
In an email to the University of Bridgeport community, President Laura Trombley said she would address the topic of room and board fees in a message this week.
At Fairfield University, President Mark Nemec said in an online message to students that the university intends to make “certain equitable adjustments” for room and board to families as a result of the pandemic.