Colleges draft policies to meet students’ financial concerns as COVID-19 spreads

Two women, surrounded by people, embrace.
Students embrace following the announcement March 11 which said that students will be leaving campus indefinitely. (HuxleyAnn Huefner • The Student Life)

In the wake of the announcement that the 5Cs are sending students home and moving classes online due to the threat of the novel coronavirus, many students have been left wondering about housing and financial issues.

Pomona College, Claremont McKenna College, Scripps College and Pitzer College all plan to reimburse their students for a portion of their housing and meal plan payments for the spring if they leave campus.

Harvey Mudd College, which is recommending but not requiring that students leave campus, will refund students for their meal plans.

Mudd did not respond to questions about housing reimbursements, financial aid or student workers before press time. 

Information is forthcoming about whether Scripps students’ financial aid packages will be affected after the move to online classes, according to an online FAQ page.

The college will pay students with federal work-study allotments their expected wage for the remainder of the semester, based on their average earnings in the February pay periods. Students with non-work study on-campus jobs will not be paid for the rest of the semester. 

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Pomona College and Claremont McKenna College will be adjusting their students’ financial aid packages based on the move to online classes, according to Pomona’s FAQ site and CMC spokesperson Gilien Silsby

“Students who live away from the college, in apartments or with their parents, have lower costs for housing and food,” Pomona’s site says. “The college is evaluating an appropriate cost of attendance that accounts for a semester that includes a mix of on- and off-campus housing and food expenses. Once finalized, your financial aid will be adjusted and you will receive notification from the office of financial aid.”

Silsby confirmed that CMC will be following a similar process. She added in a separate statement that “CMC is committed to fulfilling our students work-study awards on an individual basis.”

Pomona also said student workers who can complete their work remotely will continue to be paid. They will be given projected earnings for the final nine weeks of the semester in three installments, based on their average earnings from January 21 through March 13.

Pitzer will adjust aid based on reimbursements, spokesperson Anna Chang told TSL via email, and will provide more information on its coronavirus webpage.

In a later email, Deanna Caballero, Pitzer assistant vice president of human resources and payroll services, told students that those working in federal work-study positions would continue to be paid their work-study wages.

This article was updated March 13, 2020 at 12:01 p.m. to clarify that CMC will be also be readjusting its students’ financial aid packages when they move off campus.

This article was updated March 17, 2020 at 3:50 p.m. to reflect new information from Pitzer about its financial aid plans.

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