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Florida universities discuss payback plans for students who left early due to COVID-19

Students wondering if they'll get their money back
Posted: 9:19 PM, Mar 24, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-30 09:21:59-04
Florida universities discuss payback plans for students who left early due to COVID-19

Public colleges and universities across Florida have encouraged students who lived on campus to move off campus as a way to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: CASES, LOCATIONS & LIVE UPDATES

Maxwell Goldstone, a junior at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa is among the thousands who heeded that advice and moved back home.

“My parents helped me move out basically,” he told us recently.

But now the music major is voicing concerns over whether his school will reimburse him for the campus meal plan he’s no longer using or the campus apartment he’s no longer living in.

“I have now lost half of a semester of eating in the dining halls, using the facilities for studying, living there obviously. Now that’s all gone by the waist-side. Why should I have to eat that check,” he asked.

We’ve learned Florida’s University System, which oversees public colleges in the state, is aware of these concerns.

Several universities we contacted on Tuesday told us they’re actively working with the Florida Board of Governors and other state universities to determine the best solutions for applying refunds and credits to students.

“To minimize the economic burdens that the COVID-19 emergency may place on students, we encourage each state university to develop a plan for providing a refund, rebate, or credit to students who may no longer be able to utilize their university residence hall and/or dining plan contracts,” said Renee Fargason, spokesperson for the Florida Board of Governors.

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We contacted several major universities in the state.

USF is still working on its payback plan and, according to its spokesperson, details of the plan are expected to be announced this week.

Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers made its plan public on Tuesday. According to its website, residential students will be reimbursed up to $1,200 depending on the size of their dorm.

A spokesperson for the University of Florida in Gainesville and Florida A&M University in Tallahassee said discussions are still underway, but no decisions have been made yet.

Other major colleges and universities we contacted did not respond to our requests as of the time this article was published.

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Data from The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.