As the first week of online learning rolls out, UNF has yet to announce a decision on refunds to students for housing, meal plans, or parking. Here’s what we know so far.
In an Instagram live video on Sunday morning, Student Body President John Aloszka talked about the current discussions the university is having on refunds.
“Realize, when we’re talking about this, that 70% of the semester has gone by, so so much of really the period that would be eligible for a refund is already gone,” he said regarding refunds for parking passes.
UNF is directed by a Board of Trustees, which is in turn directed by the Florida Board of Governors, and UNF is working through both entities to make decisions on refunds and prorating.
“The university wants to make sure that, because this is a very big financial decision that affects financial aid and things like that, that they’re working with the Board of Governors and that all the 12 universities in the state are on the same page when it comes to housing and meal plans,” Aloszka commented during his livestream.
The situation with refunds for housing and meal plans will likely impact financial aid situations, which could limit the amount of money students receive back.
“When it comes to reimbursements for meal plans and housing, again its conversations that are happening, but realize that your financial aid is going to be impacted in some cases because there’s only a certain amount of money that the university is allowed to give you, per the state and federal government,” Aloszka explained. “It’s based on your income and your financial situation, and so if you’re maxed out at that level, you’re not necessarily eligible for that money right now.”
“That’s not to say that situation won’t change. This is sort of an unprecedented scenario we are all in, but do recognize that there’s only so much that UNF can do without permission from the state and federal government,” he concluded.
Later that afternoon, President Szymanski sent out a campus-wide email regarding COVID-19 and mentioned ongoing decisions about refunds.
“We know that many of you are anxious about financial matters. UNF is actively working with the Florida Board of Governors, as well as the state universities to determine options regarding potential refunds and credits, especially for housing and meal plans. There are a variety of factors to consider, such as student financial aid implications, and we want to ensure that decisions made do not negatively impact any student,” it read.
Besides this, there has yet to be a decision made regarding potential refunds for students, who are anxiously awaiting an announcement. Many have taken to social media to announce their frustration.
There was even a petition started on Change.org with over 480 signatures.
“While the university is taking great steps in ensuring students’ health and safety, the closure of the school means that almost half of the spring semester’s room and board expenses are ultimately being wasted. This means students may be losing up to $2,000 they paid towards room and board,” the petition reads.
Many universities nationwide are beginning to make decisions regarding refunds, with Stanford University deciding to eliminate dining and housing fees during its spring quarter as the university moves online, and Harvard University and Duke University offering to prorate unused room and board.
While UNF continues to work through these decisions, make sure to read all emails from the university and keep up to date with social media announcements. It is unknown when this decision will be made.
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