Students displaced from college campuses in the Valley amid the novel coronavirus pandemic can expect reimbursements for room and board.
Bucknell, Susquehanna, Bloomsburg and Penn State universities all developed procedures to provide credits for next school year or pay prorated refunds to students for housing and meal plans they’re no longer using.
The reimbursements don’t include tuition as all four institutions shifted to an online learning model for the remainder of the spring semester.
Bucknell University will credit or pay an estimated $9 million combined to roughly 3,000 students, most but not the entirety of the student body. Some students petitioned to remain on campus while some others live off-campus.
“We hope to have the refunds paid out by the end of March,” Mike Ferlazzo, director of media relations, said.
In a lengthy message posted this week on the university website, Bucknell President John Bravman said the start to the next academic year could be delayed.
Susquehanna University expects to refund about $5 million to students paid for the time the campus is closed this semester due to the pandemic, Amanda O’Rourke, media specialist, said.
Students continue to benefit from the Student Care Fund which the alumni have been supporting, she said.
The fund helps students acquire materials and access technology as they transition to online learning; provides grocery gift cards to students facing food insecurity at home; provides gas cards to students unable to afford last-minute travel and stocks the on-campus food pantry that is available to the 70 students remaining at SU housing during the shutdown.
Bloomsburg University began charge adjustments Wednesday, Tom McGuire, director of communications and media relations, said. He cited information from the university’s Bursar’s Office. A review process for refunds is pending completion of charge adjustments and an estimated amount wasn’t available.
According to Bloomburg’s website, the university is reducing charges for room, meal plans and various fees like activities and parking by 50 percent. Resulting credit balances will be refunded by April 1, the website states.
Ben Manning, media specialist, Penn State University, estimated that school’s prorated refunds at $41.8 million. Like Susquehanna, Penn State offers emergency assistance to students through its Student Care and Advocacy office within Student Affairs, according to the university’s website.
The fund provides short-term funding for unforeseen challenges, Manning said. It isn't a loan and doesn't need to be repaid.
"The staff in Student Care and Advocacy also work closely to counsel the students to help them with any related challenges they may be facing and to help them think through long-term financial options," Manning said.
Reporter Marcia Moore contributed to this story.