Students who spent their spring breaks away from MSU, whether it was to travel back home to their cozy beds, embark on a tropical vacation or depart to the massive red rock formations of Moab, were all shocked when the University encouraged students not to return to their on-campus dwellings. This action created a rush of emotions for each of the 3,600 students residing on campus who left behind their belongings and were now unable to give a final farewell to new and old friends. The directive also struck fear in those who rely on residence hall housing as their primary housing.
Nyah Boyd, a freshman psychology major who lived in Yellowstone Hall on campus, said, “When I first got the email, I was all the way in Mexico for spring break. I barely had any of my stuff from the dorm. Since then, it’s been a crazy transition. However, during times like these, it’s not about what’s convenient for me, it’s about taking preventative measures to keep everyone safe.”
Although no one wished for this series of events to occur, there was relief to be had when the University declared on Friday, March 20 that they will allow students to request pro-rated refunds for those not returning to campus. In order for students to be issued a refund, they must complete a refund request form (linked at end of article). Following that, the Student Accounts Office and Financial Aid Office will review student records and calculate the amount of room and board dollars that should be refunded for that particular student. If refund requests are finished by the priority date, Friday, April 3, then refunds will be distributed from MSU to those students on Wednesday, April 15.
At this time, MSU strongly recommends that students and families do not come to campus. Residence Life is formulating a plan for students to retrieve their belongings from the residence halls at a later date and will communicate this plan in the coming weeks.
The residence halls will not close their doors to the 400 residents who currently depend on the dormitories. This direction to keep all Montana residence halls open was made by the Montana Commissioner of Higher Education. According to the Vice President of University Communications, Tracy Ellig, the residence halls may be the safest place to be for the small number of individuals staying on campus. The halls are cleaned daily and students are dispersed over 12 different buildings. In addition, Ellig says that residence halls will practice safety measures by following a “strict adherence to social distancing.”
For more information on the COVID-19 pro-rated refunds, visit, https://www.montana.edu/reslife/covid19refunds.html