Brooklyn Boro

CUNY refunds booted dorm students, waives activity fees in light of COVID-19

March 31, 2020 Victoria Merlino
Brooklyn College after CUNY enacted full remote learning for the rest of the semester.

CUNY will refund students who were forced to leave their dorm rooms due to COVID-19, and will waive a portion of all students’ activity fees, the CUNY Board of Trustees voted on Monday.

To compensate for the interrupted semester, dorm fees will either be credited or refunded to students based on the day they moved out and whether or not they will be graduating this semester, the Board said. CUNY will also waive 25 percent of student activity fees for students who enrolled for 15 weeks of instruction, such as students enrolled in senior colleges, and 50 percent for students enrolled for 12 or six weeks of instruction, such as students enrolled in community colleges. 

The entire CUNY public school system canceled in-person classes and moved to online learning March 12, but the transition has been rocky. It has taken several days to distribute necessary technology like laptops to many students.

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CUNY had also initially told students that campus facilities like libraries and dormitories would remain open. An announcement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo that CUNY dorms might be used as temporary hospitals prompted CUNY to evict students from residences at Hunter College, College of Staten Island, Baruch College and City College

Students across the system who had no other place to stay were transported to Queens College

The board, which sets rules and standards for the university system, acknowledged the massive upheaval that students have experienced.

“As New York has become the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in the United States, the university has had to make difficult but critical decisions to limit the spread of the virus and protect the health of our students and the city at large,” the board wrote in its calendar for the meeting.

“The lives of all students are being interrupted this semester as the coronavirus has caused extreme disruption and hardship, forcing difficult decisions on a global scale,” the board added.

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Student activity fees help fund campus events, clubs, student government and other student life functions at the various colleges. 

Student dorm fees and student activity fees vary from college to college, with dorm fees reaching several thousands of dollars and student activity fees ranging from $60 to $180 for a full-time student. 

Refunds will be issued automatically


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  1. Cynthia

    I think this is very unfair, I currently attend a CUNY and refunds needs to be issued immediately for the spring semester. They provided us with laptops 2 -3 weeks after the school was closed and expected us to catch up on courses that can’t be taken online. How does one take a chemistry lecture with no lecture and a chemistry lab course from home without a lab, lab equipment or chemicals? They want us to pay a activity fee, when we there are no activities, and a technology fee when we can’t even use the computers or the library. How is this fair to students?