Boston University announced that it will refund undergraduate students for unused portions of their meal plans and housing on account of the COVID-19 pandemic in an email to students Friday.
The same email from Jean Morrison, university provost and chief academic officer, stated that no refunds will be given for tuition costs.
Students who no longer live in their on-campus residence will have the cost of their housing from March 22 to May 9 credited to their account April 15, according to the email. Those who left campus prior to March 22 will receive a prorated room credit.
In the case of meal plans, students who did not use dining points following March 22 will be credited for all unused points, Morrison wrote. Unused meal refunds will be calculated based on the individual’s meal plan and the date of their departure from campus.
Since this semester’s classes remain in session remotely, the university decided against tuition refunds, according to Morrison’s email.
Morrison also wrote that students whose study abroad trips were canceled will receive a “prorated credit” based on the date of trip cancelation for residential fees.
Additional fees included in the price for Spring semester will not be refunded, but any funds leftover come semester-end will be credited to students’ accounts, Morrison wrote.
Colin Riley, a BU spokesperson, wrote in an email that, while everyone wants to get back to “normal,” this was a step the university felt was necessary to take in this unusual situation.
“We’re pleased with how faculty and students have transitioned to remote teaching and learning, and hope this situation improves as soon as possible so we can get back to a state of normality, whatever that new normal is,” Riley wrote. “Announcing prorated housing and dining for credit or refund is one aspect of this unprecedented period we’re going through.”
Riley also wrote that the university’s first priority remains helping students continue to learn through this time.
“This is an extraordinary situation and our mission is to ensure students are able to complete their semester coursework,” Riley wrote.
Refunds in the form of credits to students’ accounts is the university’s standard procedure for refunds. Students can go into their Student Link to start the process, according to the Student Accounting Services website.
Haley Paraday, a sophomore in the College of Communication, said the credit refunds are “nice,” but she would have liked a more clear-cut description on how meal plan refunds will work.
“I did wish that in the announcement, they were a bit more clear that how it was calculated with the 250 and 330 plan, because it’s not easy to figure out how many meals to be counting for,” Paraday said. “It’s kind of unclear how it’d be divided.”
She also said that she would have liked a credit for tuition, too.
“Because we are going online, it would be nice if we could get a partial tuition refund,” Paraday said. “The tuition cost is because of the credit hours we take, so it does make sense why we aren’t getting a refund.”
Jasmine Gordon, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she thinks tuition should have seen some refunding as well.
“I personally feel as though tuition encompasses so much,” Gordon said. “I think face to face interaction is far more valuable than anything else at BU. I know myself and a few other students who are watching. We’re not going to Zoom every day. We aren’t talking to our professors every day. We get into the emails and we’re watching old, pre-recorded lectures.”
She also said that her lab courses have declined in quality.
“My labs have been cut short,” Gordon said. “Skills that I would have acquired had we had class are no longer available to me and instead are being substituted for more work, which is even more frustrating given the circumstances.”
As far as reacting to the pandemic, Gordon said she thinks BU has handled itself well.
“I’m really happy with what they’ve done,” Gordon said. “Do I think it’s perfect? Not necessarily, but I think compared to all other colleges they are doing among the best.”