The University of Connecticut Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to refund unused housing and meal plan fees to students who left campus due to COVID-19.
In a letter dated Wednesday from Scott Jordan, Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer to the Board of Trustees, Jordan announced the UConn administration’s recommendation to the board to initiate the refund.
“The University administration recommends that the Board of Trustees approve the resolution below authorizing the administration to refund student housing and dining fees to students required to vacate campus as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter said. “Such fees will be refunded on a prorated basis, in a manner determined by the University Bursar.”
During the meeting, UConn President Thomas Katsouleas said there will be about a total of about $30 million in refunds to students worth of housing, meal and parking fees. Each student will receive a unique refund specific to them, depending on what meal plan and housing type they had, UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said.
Those students returning to campus next semester will be credited, while those graduating or leaving campus would receive a refund.
In cases where a student’s housing and meal plan are covered by a scholarship, the refund would go back to the fund itself, according to Jordan and Reitz.
The move comes the same day as the Connecticut State College and Universities system (CSCU) announced they would be crediting students for unused room and board, according to CSCU President Mark Ojakian.
“We have yet to find a single university that would not be refunding students,” Jordan said during the teleconferenced meeting.
The board expressed concerns about the future financial impact on UConn from COVID-19, especially in the case of international students.
“UConn is very much dependent on international students, particularly students from China,” Jordan said.
If international students are unable to come to UConn for the fall 2020 semester, Katsouleas said UConn will be out about $70 million.
Currently, Katsouleas said there are about 1,000 students left on-campus who had nowhere to go, or said it was safer to stay on campus than return home. The South Dining Hall has remained open for these students for take-out meals only.
Also at the meeting, the board discussed the notification of a proposed bylaw change regarding tenure-track professors. The proposed change would extend the tenure clock by one year for faculty members who did not submit a dossier to be considered for tenure due to COVID-19. The bylaw change will now be reviewed by the Academic Affairs Committee for vetting and is expected to be voted on by the board at the next meeting.
Luke Hajdasz is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.