The University of Kentucky has begun developing a process to refund students for housing and dining fees as coronavirus forces the campus move to remote and online learning for the remainder of the spring semester.
“We have a responsibility to do everything we can to stem the tide of this disease. It requires us to make significant changes to honor our most important principles: protecting the health, safety, and well-being of everyone in our community; and enabling our students, faculty, and staff to succeed,” President Eli Capilouto said in a statement.
“Based on the advice of health experts, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and directives from Governor Andy Beshear, we are moving quickly and changing direction to be responsive to the needs of everyone in our community,” Capilouto said
Most Univesity of Kentucky campus employees will shift to working from home.
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At Rutgers University, President Robert Barchi said the school would be issuing prorated refunds for room and board.
And on its website, the University of Georgia said leaders would be “providing guidance to campuses on refunds for housing, dining, and other services. Students should wait for their campus to contact them.”
Penn State said on its website that spring commencement will be postponed while leaders explore other options for celebrating the achievements of our students
Coronavirus outreach for displaced students
Meanwhile, organizations are stepping in to help displaced students who have had to suddenly vacate campus housing.
The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, an honor society for first-and-second year college students, has launched an Emergency Scholar Assistance Program for members “who have had their academic schedule unexpectedly disrupted.”
The organization is offering a one-time stipend of $125 to members who have experienced financial, academic and housing hardships.
“Every day schools are going remote, suspending classes or even shutting down for the remainder of the term, which is causing unplanned disruptions to our students’ lives,” Scott Mobley, the society’s executive director, said.
“The cumulative impact alone is heartbreaking, such as non-refundable spring breaks being canceled, students unable to earn money through on-campus work study, local internships being cut short, and the unknowns around whether or not graduations will take place for our seniors,” Mobley said.
Students can apply on the organization’s website
“This is only the beginning of what NSCS will offer over the coming days as we aim to make our students’ need the highest priority,” Mobley said.
In some cases, students are taking the initiative. At American University in Washington D.C., sophomore Abigail Morris has launched an effort to find housing for displaced classmates, the Washingtonian reported.
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In Ohio, community members are taking in students displaced from shut-down housing at Denison University, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
Students have shared an online document listing local residents who have housing, employment, travel funds and other support, according to The Dispatch.
Denison University will provide partial, prorated refunds for fees, including and room-and-board payments, while students are barred from campus, The Dispatch reported.
In Chicago, hotels are giving reduced rates to displaced college students, with rates ranging from $59 to $99 a night, the Chicago Tribune reported.