College to issue grants for partial spring 2020 room, board refund
Observer Staff Report | Friday, April 17, 2020
Saint Mary’s will refund its students’ room and board payments for their time away from campus in the form of monetary grants, according to an email from vice president for strategy and finance Dana Strait.
It was determined students would be refunded 40% of room and/or full meal plan costs for the semester. All students who were paying room and board to the College for the 2020 spring semester, lived on campus, studied abroad and/or maintained a full dining plan are eligible for the grant.
Because cost adjustments could impact students’ eligibility to receive institutional scholarship funds, it was determined the room and board refund will be returned to students in the form of a grant. In this way, “students would receive the monetary benefit and their financial aid packages would not change,” Strait said in the email.
The College is calling the funding to be returned to students “Cost of Living Grants.” The grants will be posted to students’ accounts.
“Surplus balances will be sent by direct deposit if your bank account information is on file in TouchNet or by check to your permanent address. If a check will be issued to you, please ensure that your permanent home address is up to date in PRISM,” Strait said.
Strait encouraged students to set up a direct deposit via TouchNet.
“This is the fastest and most secure way to receive your grant,” she said.
If students do not set up a direct deposit method by Tuesday at 11 p.m., a physical check will be sent to their permanent home address. Processing of the grants will begin Wednesday and will be completed for all eligible students by the end of the month.
“Our intention is for these funds to provide some relief for the financial challenges induced by students’ sudden return home — including expenses related to travel, food and housing,” Strait said.
Strait also said many families have expressed a wish to donate their grants to Belles in need. The College has created the Coronavirus Relief Fund in response, which will, “provide grants and scholarships for students who have incurred additional and unexpected expenses due to the pandemic, but who do not have the financial means to meet them,” she said.
Students and families interested in donating their grants back to the College as a tax-deductible gift should contact Addie Cashore at [email protected] by May 1 at 5 p.m.