On Friday, April 24, the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Office of Housing and Residential Life sent out an email informing former residents of the campus dorms that they will be receiving credits to their housing accounts. The credits will be sent out on a prorated basis from March 23 on.
The email from the Office of Housing and Residential Life containing the reimbursement announcement stated that the refunds were “following suit” with other refunds that had been distributed at the university. Melynda Davis, Director of Housing Operations, elaborated on this through email correspondence, saying that “credit discussions took place between various partners of the residence halls, including UMass Boston, UMBA, Provident and COCM. The final decision was to mirror the University’s decision of prorating accounts from March 23 forward.”
MBTA pass, parking, and meal plan refunds had already been announced in an email from Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman on March 30. The email stated that at that time, active work was being done to “advocat[e] for adjustments for our students” in regards to housing refunds. A town hall meeting held by the UMass Boston Undergraduate Student Government on April 14, 2020, also involved discussion about residence hall reimbursements.
The email from the Office of Housing and Residential Life stated that students will be able to see all credit amounts and balances by logging into the resident portal. Once logged in, students must simply go to the “Lease” section of the page, and from there, click “View My Statement.” The Office sent out an email on Wednesday, April 29, saying that “all credits have been applied to housing accounts.” When asked via email if there were any steps that students must take in order to receive their credits, Davis responded: “No. All resident student accounts will have the credit automatically applied to their Resident Portal.”
The email stated that any student with a balance remaining will be offered a payment plan for those experiencing financial hardship. If a student would like to request a payment plan, they should contact the Office of Housing and Residential Life at firstname.lastname@example.org. If a student finds that they have a negative balance once the credit is applied, they will receive a refund check at the permanent address that they have on file with the Office. In an email, Davis assured that students who chose to pay for housing in installments will receive the same credit to their housing account as those who paid for housing for the semester all at once.
The residence halls closed on Saturday, March 14. Students with special circumstances were initially granted permission to stay on campus until it was set to reopen on April 6, however, upon the announcement on March 15 that UMass Boston would be switching to remote learning, those students were required to move out on March 18. Through email, Davis confirmed that there were still a “small number of students that remain in the residence halls ... [that] have extenuating circumstances” at this point, and that these students will not receive a credit to their housing account.
Students can expect to receive their refund checks during the month of May. The Office of Housing and Residential Life states in their email that the “timeline for refunds will be longer than usual” due to the large number of checks that must be processed. They will send out a notification when refund checks have been disbursed. Anyone with questions regarding the reimbursement process should reach out to the Office at email@example.com.