UNC officials clarify refund policy for upcoming fall semester

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — UNC system leaders have released an updated policy regarding refunds for students, which states that it’s only “possible” students may not get money back if the semester is cut short. 

On Monday night, FOX8 learned that the university systems policy that was in place stated that the university would not be obligated to pay back funds to students. That includes those who attend any of the 16 campuses, including UNCG and WSSU. 

At that time, representatives with UNCG stated that the language of the policy was still being reviewed. However, it did mean that students would not be paid back for housing and student fees even if they were not allowed to be on campus or to stay in their dorms due to COVID-19. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the system officials clarified their policy. It now states that it’s only “possible” students may not receive a refund. 

University leaders state that the future of the systems refund policy rests on whatever state or federal financial assistance the program can receive. 

Students, like incoming WSSU freshman Amari Eaton, reacted to the policy.

“That would most likely impact me a lot. It’s clearly taken a lot for me to even get the funds to go up to school. I’m not really sure how I’ll feel about that in the future,” she said.

If students at UNCG wish to cancel their current housing policy, they have until July 11. After that, they will face a cancelation fee.

As a new or returning resident, if you do not feel comfortable living on campus given the unique circumstances, do not like the changes made for the health and safety of residents, or the 2020-21 Housing Contract Addendum, you may cancel your housing in ARTEMIS by July 11, and you will be refunded the $200 pre-payment, and you will not be charged any cancellation fees.

If you do not cancel your housing by July 11, 2020, the 2020-21 Housing Contract Addendum will be incorporated into your housing contract.

After July 11, if you cancel your housing, you will forfeit any pre-payment, and you will be charged cancellation fees as listed in the 2020-21 Housing Contract.

WSSU representatives tell FOX8, “The only thing that students pay in advance is an application fee. They wouldn’t pay for housing if we don’t open.”

The following is the full policy update from UNC:

“We recognize the challenges and uncertainty associated with potential changes in operations at UNCG and other public universities in the coming year because of COVID-19. 

As a result of practical and financial considerations UNCG has shared with our incoming residential students a contract addendum drafted with guidance from the UNC System that indicates the university is not under any obligation to provide refunds as occurred in the Spring of 2020. 

We know that this addendum has created some concern. We recognize this language has been interpreted as a comprehensive decision not to issue refunds in any circumstances. We would like to clarify this position. 

Consistent with UNC System guidance, we are advising our students of the possibility that refunds may not be available, particularly absent state or federal financial relief, to aid in student and family decision making.  

The current economic environment for UNCG and the UNC System makes determining our future refund strategy extremely difficult at this time. 

The financial implications of these decisions directly impact our ability to provide meaningful educational programs, experiences, and student services in the future.

However, if we are able to find ways to offer financial relief – in the form of refunds or other measures – to support our students, we will do so.”

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