VCU to partially reimburse housing, dining, VCUarts students

Volunteers help students move into Gladding Residence Center during August's freshman move-in. Photo by Jon Mirador

Hannah Eason, News Editor

VCU will not reimburse tuition and mandatory fees for the spring semester but will credit students for housing, dining and courses for art majors, according to a statement from VCU and VCU Health System President Michael Rao.

The release states that tuition and mandatory fees are necessary to continue with online courses and resources, and refunds given are “in line” with other Virginia universities.

“Faculty, staff and administration have poured enormous effort and resources into making sure that courses can be completed, credits earned, degrees received and challenges surpassed,” Rao said in the statement.

VCUarts: The university will issue partial reimbursements to School of the Arts majors. Full-time students will receive $350, and part-time students will receive $42 per credit hour.

Housing: All students who moved out of dorms due to COVID-19 will receive a refund, including those that have not been able to remove their belongings. Students with a 9-month lease will receive $1,150, and 12-month leases will be credited with $1,450. Refunds will be visible on student accounts on Thursday.

Dining and other fees: On-campus students will receive a reimbursement for any unused dining swipes or dollars. Dining plans for those that remain on campus will not receive a refund.

Students will be refunded for the remaining months on parking passes, and employee refunds are dependent on the permit type. 

The university plans to hold fall semester classes on campus, the release stated, even if the academic calendar has a late start. Summer classes that start before July 9 will be held remotely, and a final decision about summer sessions beginning July 9 and 20 will be released by May 29.

A virtual commencement ceremony will be held on May 8 for spring graduates. The “interactive” online platform will individually recognize students through the virtual ceremony and a yearbook website.

May graduates are still able to attend the December graduation ceremony. The release states that graduates will be contacted for more information. 

There will be $14 billion allocated to higher education by the federal relief bill, but the release states it is unclear how much will be allocated to VCU.

In accordance with the U.S. Department of Education guidance, half of any money received by VCU would fund emergency grants for students facing financial hardship due to the virus.

If Virginia moves forward with its tuition affordability plan, which allocates state money to reduce the need for increasing college tuition, the university recommends that the Board of Visitors does not raise tuition. 

Due to the “economic uncertainties” posed by the COVID-19 outbreak, VCU’s budget office has modeled a tuition increase between 1% and 6%. The university is required by law to give public notice of proposed tuition and mandatory fees, although Virginia’s budget for fiscal year 2021 has not been finalized.

In response to COVID-19, VCU has initiated a hiring freeze to contain costs for the next academic year. 

The university has started two emergency funds to help with the economic impact of COVID-19. The Student Life and Learning Fund allocates emergency funds for students facing unexpected costs. Students can apply for the program through VCU’s Student Affairs or Financial Aid offices.

The COVID-19 Response Fund supports patient care and research as well as medical staff and students impacted by the outbreak. 

Donations to the Student Life and Learning Fund and COVID-19 Response Fund can be made at www.support.vcu.edu.

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