UMass students to get $70M in refunds

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan and the chancellors of the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth ,and Lowell UMass campuses announced last week that they will adjust room, board, and parking fees in response to the coronavirus-driven closures of residence halls and the transition to online-only instruction.

Students should be notified of their cost adjustments by April 17, the UMass officials said. They will be applied to student accounts, and students will receive their net balance by direct deposit or check.

The university said the planned adjustments to the room, dining, and parking charges will decrease its revenues by approximately $70 million this fiscal year.

The UMass line item in this year’s budget is $558 million. More than 20,000 students were living in the university-owned dorms at the Amherst, Dartmouth, and Lowell campuses.

“UMass Boston is adjusting dining and parking costs and is working with the private owner of its 1,070-bed on-campus residence halls concerning housing cost adjustments for its students,” the university’s statement said.

In a joint statement, Meehan and chancellors Kumble Subbaswamy of Amherst, Katherine Newman of Boston, Robert Johnson of Dartmouth, and Jacquie Moloney of Lowell said the public health crisis and its financial impacts are “causing real hardship for many of our students and their families.”

They added: “We hope that this adjustment of housing, dining and parking fees will help alleviate some of the stress they are enduring. The challenges that lie ahead for the university, its students, faculty, and staff will be complex and difficult.”

Earlier this week, Higher Education Committee House Chair Jeffrey Roy said he expects student charge refunds to be a “huge issue” with students no longer able to live on-campus.