Administration plans to issue partial refunds to students who have vacated on-campus residence halls this semester due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Students living in on-campus residence halls were required by the university to vacate their rooms by March 31, unless approved to the exception process. Exceptions are students who have permanent residence outside the United States and are unable to return, students whose academic department has determined their in-person internship, clinical or practicum will continue with their acceptance or students with personal circumstances that may prevent them from returning home.
The available refunds include 40 percent of each student’s meal plan to be credited to that student’s account this semester, 100 percent of each student’s remaining Bean Bucks balance to be converted to Campus Cash this semester and will carry over to future terms and 40 percent of each student’s room costs to be converted to a scholarship in that student’s financial aid package for Fall 2020, not limited to room or board.
Partial refunds for student dormitory housing do not apply to students living in University Park Apartments, which ACU does not own or operate. Remaining Bean Bucks will be converted to Campus Cash because Campus Cash rolls over from semester to semester and can be used for any point-of-sale across campus.
Dr. Tamara Long, vice president for enrollment management and interim vice president for student life, said the university considered both what other schools were doing and what was best for the students.
“I am proud ACU made decisions swiftly to the benefit of students,” Long said. “We realized the immediate needs of our students.”
Students that are eligible for a partial refund can choose to designate it as a charitable gift by April 15. All donations will go directly towards assisting students experiencing financial hardship.
“SOAR is often a first point of contact for a student who receives funds, but not always,” Long said. “When it becomes clear there is a need for a student, I am proud of the ways faculty and staff rally and connect students to resources. SOAR is often that place, but academic advisors, financial aid counselors, resident directors and many more connect students to resources.”
In a campus-wide email from Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university, he said many students and families had reached out to see how they might support students who have been especially impacted financially by the pandemic.
“This spirit of generosity led us to create the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund, an opportunity for you to donate your housing and meal plan refunds for ACU to use to help our most adversely affected students,” said Schubert.
Long said the university decided to create the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund to allow for funds to be raised to support current students, just as the previously established Katie Kirby Student Relief Fund was created to do. the fund will be helping students with various needs outside what their typical financial aid can support.
“We knew right away this pandemic would have long and lasting implication for both students and their families,” Long said. “We want to help as best we can.”
Students looking to request a refund or designate it as a charitable gift, must follow the link to the COVID-19 Student Refund page. If students do not designate their refund as a charitable gift by April 15, it will be automatically refunded to their student account and future financial aid package.