Students eligible for prorated housing, dining refunds because of coronavirus alterations

Most students who were living in on-campus residence halls prior to the onset of the coronavirus health crisis have followed WCU officials’ recommendations to return to their permanent homes for the remainder of the spring semester.

Western Carolina University will be issuing partial refunds to students for payments made toward on-campus housing and dining services they have been unable to access because of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.

WCU officials announced the decision on making prorated refunds Monday, March 30, following guidance from the University of North Carolina System delivered during a special meeting of the UNC Board of Governors.

“It is our commitment to all UNC System students and parents to get this done as quickly as possible. It is also our obligation to get this done right,” said Bill Roper, interim president of the UNC System. “We hope to be able to announce specifics for processing and issuing refunds in the upcoming weeks.”

Mike Byers, vice chancellor for administration and finance at WCU, and the chief financial officers across the UNC System will be working together to ensure uniform processes for determining specific refund amounts.

“The devil will be in the details. We anticipate that it will take us a few weeks to figure out the logistics, because there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution,” Byers said in a message to WCU students co-signed by Sam Miller, WCU vice chancellor for student affairs. “We will figure this out, but it will require a bit more time for us to get it right.”

WCU Chancellor Kelli R. Brown announced on March 11 that the university would be extending its spring break by an extra week to enable faculty members to move from in-person classes to delivery of their course materials online or via other distance methods that do not require face-to-face classes. Spring semester classes resumed Monday, March 23.

Most students who were living in on-campus residence halls prior to the onset of the coronavirus health crisis have followed WCU officials’ recommendations to return to their permanent homes for the remainder of the spring semester. A few students facing extenuating circumstances have been granted exemptions to remain on campus, with a limited number of dining options available through delivery and carry-out.

University officials are now in the process of working through the wide variety of meal plan and residence hall room rates offered at WCU, along with individual dates for checking out of on-campus housing, in order to determine appropriate refund amounts for eligible students, Byers said.

Additional information will be provided soon, he said.