Update on Credits and Refunds for Unused Room and Board

By President Shirley M. Collado, April 8, 2020
A message from campus leadership.

Dear Ithaca College students and families,

I hope this message finds all of you healthy and well as we continue to grapple with this major public health crisis. I deeply miss the vibrancy and energy of our students on this campus, and I am very much looking forward to seeing both students and their loved ones here on South Hill again, as soon as it is possible.

As we move through this moment together, I know that one of your most salient and critical questions is around the issue of credits and refunds for unused room and board. I fully understand the importance of this issue for all of you, and on behalf of my senior leadership team and the many people at IC who have worked diligently through our decision-making process, I offer my sincere appreciation for your patience. This is a critical decision that requires us to be fair and thoughtful to our IC families, and we wanted to get it right.

I want to share now our decision that the college will provide students with prorated credits or refunds for the unused portion of their spring 2020 room and board charges, based on the percent of the semester that most students were no longer allowed to utilize campus housing and dining.

As a result of this decision, approximately 4,000 students will receive a credit to their account, which, after being applied to any outstanding balance to the college, they may roll into the next academic year or request to receive as a refund. The amount of the credit for each individual will vary. In the spirit of equity, we felt it was critical that the formula take into account such factors as the cost for the student’s specific residence hall room and meal plan, less any Ithaca College funds that had been applied toward housing and meals costs.

For your convenience, please see the FAQ below, which can provide answers to key questions you may have about the credit/refund process. We’ve also posted this information on our coronavirus website, and I encourage you to continue to visit that page for ongoing updates.

I also would like to note that I am writing to you now on behalf of the entire senior leadership team at Ithaca College. This decision affects this institution and our IC family on many levels, and I want you to understand how deeply our leadership values and centers our students and their families.

Stay safe and well.


Shirley M. Collado

La Jerne Terry Cornish
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Guilherme Costa
Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary to the Board of Trustees

Rosanna Ferro
Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Life

Bill Guerrero
Vice President for Finance and Administration

Hayley Harris
Vice President for Human Resources and Planning

Wendy Kobler
Vice President for Philanthropy and Engagement

Laurie Koehler
Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment Strategy

Spring 2020 Room and Board Credits/Refunds FAQ

Q. What procedure is being used to determine the prorated amount of credit a student will receive?
A. Ithaca College determined the following formula to be an equitable approach to providing prorated housing and/or meal credit:

  1. Begin with the total cost of housing and meals assessed to students during the spring semester.
  2. Add room, board, and tuition together to get our (simplified) institutional charges.
  3. Take the total amount of institutional aid and divide it by total amount of institutional charges. This is the percentage that was paid by the college. 
  4. Multiply the room and the board charges by the percentage paid by the college. This is the amount of room and board that was paid by Ithaca College institutional money (IC grants or scholarships).
  5. Whatever is left is what the basis would be for the rebate; multiply that by the prorated room and board percentage (see below) to get the actual rebate amount.

Q. How did you calculate the percentage of the spring 2020 semester that the college prevented the student from utilizing campus housing?
A. We counted the number of days remaining in the housing contract after March 15 when the residence halls closed to all students who did not receive approval to remain on campus, and divided by the total number of days that the housing contract allows a student to reside on campus.

Q. How many students are eligible for credits or refunds for housing or dining?
A. Approximately 4,000 students will receive notice that they are eligible for a partial room and/or board credit.

Q. Can a student either get an actual refund or carry a credited amount forward? How does it work?
A. There is a sequence that will happen for each eligible student. First, the appropriate prorated amount will be applied to any outstanding charges on the student’s account. If there is a positive balance remaining on the account after this, the student may choose to leave the credit as is and allow it to roll over to be applied to their fall 2020 college charges.

Students who prefer a refund on their credit balance should request it through their HomerConnect account. Students requesting a refund can either have it direct deposited into a bank account of their choice (the preferred and quickest method) or have a paper check mailed to an address of their choice (requires additional time for processing). Students who wish to set up a direct deposit can go to the Student Financial Services website for step-by-step instructions.

Families who used money from a 529 college savings plan to pay for spring 2020 expenses may want to consult with a qualified tax adviser about possible tax implications of a cash refund.

Q. I received a housing and/or meal credit, but I’m unable to request a refund. Why?
A. Students who have an outstanding balance greater than the amount of the housing/dining credit will have that credit applied toward their remaining balance and will not have any remaining credit to be converted and issued as a refund.

Q. Will off-campus students get some kind of financial help from Ithaca College for their lease payments to their landlords?
A. Not as part of the Credits/Refunds for Unused Room and Board.  However, the College has created an IC CARES Fund that will provide emergency relief funds for students.

Q. When will credits be applied?
A. In most cases, housing/dining credits will be applied to students’ accounts by April 30, 2020.

Q. What if I have additional questions not answered above?
A. You can email icroomandboardcredit@ithaca.edu with any questions regarding your specific situation.