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UNR Changes Decision And Will Offer Prorated Dorm Refunds

Exterior of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Alexa Ard
The University of Nevada, Reno suspended all non-essential operations on Wednesday, March 18, for a minimum of 30 days. As students begin to adjust to remote learning, many have questions about their housing contracts.

The University of Nevada, Reno said it will issue partial refunds to all students who are being asked to move out of the residence halls. Friday's announcement comes after the university ordered all students to stay home, amid concerns over the novel coronavirus.

The new refund policy is a reversal of UNR's earlier plan, announced on Thursday, to not issue any refunds to students with residence hall contracts.

The announcement drew intense criticism from many students who would have had to pay for another eight weeks of on-campus housing, even as they live and study back home, once classes go online starting Monday.

UNR President Marc Johnson said he took those concerns into account.

"Things have been very unusual. We've never done these things before. [It's] been a very fluid situation and we do modify our policies with the interest of student safety and finances in mind," Johnson explained.

Johnson said students will receive a 25% discount on their housing contracts, which corresponds to the 25% of weeks left in the academic year. The same goes for student meal plans.

Students with extenuating circumstances will be allowed to keep living and eating on campus. Those students will not receive refunds.

KUNR's Benjamin Payne is a graduate student of the Reynolds School of Journalism.

As a note of disclosure, KUNR is licensed by the Nevada System of Higher Education.

University Of Nevada, Reno Changes Policy To Accommodate Residence Hall Students
University Responds To Feedback, Understands Hardships And Inability To Travel With Extremely Trying Circumstances; #StayHomeForNevada

Press Release from the University of Nevada, Reno
March 20, 2020

CORRECTION – Please note, the University will prorate occupancy for refunds (see correction to bullet #1). RENO, Nevada – The COVID-19 pandemic is worsening. Whole states are encouraging shelter-in-place philosophies to protect community members and increase prevention efforts. We understand that families may be experiencing hardships and inability to travel as they deal with extremely trying circumstances related to the outbreak of coronavirus. We want to make our best effort to support the health and safety of our students, families and community and lessen any turmoil that is being felt during an uncertain time. This is why, effective immediately, the University of Nevada, Reno is modifying its decision about on-campus housing for the remainder of the spring, 2020 term, to protect the health and safety of our student residents and also to reassure their families that we understand the circumstances many of them now face. The following accommodations will now be made: The University will prorate occupancy and provide a refund to all student residents who have been asked to stay home in order to receive remote instruction. These refunds will be processed as these residents are identified and issued within 14 days. Those students with extenuating circumstances who have been approved to remain in on-campus housing (for example, international students, students who are homeless, in foster situations, or from areas where travel has been ordered to cease) will continue to be responsible for completion of their rental and meal plan contracts. If a student resident has belongings remaining in the residence hall room after spring break, those rooms will be locked and the owner of these belongings will remove materials by May 13. One does not need to return immediately nor does one have to fill out a survey with explanation of extenuating circumstances. As always, students unable to meet the May 13 deadline should notify the Housing office by May 1 so that accommodations can be made. For those who purchased meal plans and cannot use them due to their absence from campus, a prorated refund will be issued for the number of weeks remaining in the term. If there are any questions or the Residential Life, Housing, and Dining Services team can help in any way, please call 775-784-1113 or email housing@unr.edu. Please continue to look to Novel Coronavirus Information Page for the latest information about coronavirus and University operations.

Benjamin Payne is a contributing reporter and floating host at KUNR. He is currently pursuing his master's degree at the University of Nevada, Reno's Reynolds School of Journalism, where he also works as a teaching assistant.
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