Beginning April 3, Binghamton University will make financial adjustments to give all students a prorated refund for housing, dining, course fees and several broad-based campus fees that went unused amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the University’s website, the fees that will be refunded were determined based on which campus-based services have since been discontinued because of COVID-19. For undergraduate students the prorated fees that will be refunded are the activity fee, intercollegiate athletics fee, campus life fee, recreation fee and transportation fee. For graduate students, the prorated fees are the activity fee, recreation fee and transportation fee. Tuition fees will not be refunded because courses are continuing online.
In a B-Line statement on Thursday, President Harvey Stenger announced the refund is intended to help lift some of the financial burden students and their families are currently facing.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is creating challenges for our society unlike any I have seen in my lifetime,” Stenger wrote. “While we all worry about the health and well-being of family and friends, I know that the pandemic is causing financial stresses and uncertainties for many across the country, including our students and their families.”
According to Emma Ross, Student Association (SA) president and a senior double-majoring in political science and psychology, 43 percent of the total fees will be refunded.
Prorated housing, meal plan, parking permit and FitSpace membership charges are being determined on an individual basis for each student, according to the University’s website. The refund will not affect University scholarships or financial aid for students who plan on completing their courses online. Students’ eligibility for financial aid packages also will not be impacted if they choose to switch their classes to the pass/fail option or withdraw because of reasons linked to COVID-19.
University officials said the refund balance will not be applied as payment for future semesters to ensure BU is abiding by federal financial aid regulations. Administrators recommend that students set up direct deposit accounts to get access to their refunds as early as possible.
“We hope these financial adjustments to your account provide an additional element of assistance during this challenging time,” Stenger wrote. “All of us at [BU] are committed to helping you be safe and successful during this time of unprecedented disruption.”
Editor’s note: This article was updated at 11:53 a.m. on April 3 to reflect a correction regarding financial aid packages. The article initially stated that if a student withdrew from their classes during the spring 2020 semester, their financial aid could be impacted. This was incorrect; if a student withdraws because of reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, their financial aid eligibility will not be effected. Pipe Dream regrets the error.