Dear Students and Parents,
We know many of you have questions about how the move to remote learning for the spring term will affect your student account and financial aid package. Thank you for your patience as we considered the implications of this unprecedented situation to arrive at solutions that are fair and equitable, and in the case of financial aid, comply with state and federal guidelines.
Students who were charged room and board for the spring term, yet will not be on campus, have received a credit on their student account. The credit represents a 100 percent reduction in room, board, and laundry fees and totals $4,712. Financial aid that was offered to cover room and board charges has also been adjusted. Any adjustments to your student account will be made by March 27 and can be viewed in WebAdvising, the College’s online billing system. We are extending the date to which your bill is due. The original due date of March 27 has been changed to April 3.
After the start of the spring term, seniors living within the United States, with a credit balance on their student account will be issued a refund check. Checks will be mailed to the student’s home address on Thursday, April 9.
Credit balances for returning students will remain on the student account and will automatically be applied to the fall 2020 term charges. If a refund check is preferred rather than applying the refund to the fall term charges, please email the Bursar’s office at email@example.com. Please provide student ID, student name, and applicable address in the request.
Given the unique circumstances faced by our international students, those who do not wish to have their credit applied to the fall term may request the refund be received through the issuance of a check or through a wire payment. To request a refund, please email the Bursar’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide student ID, student name and applicable address in the request. When requesting an international wire, please include all banking information including bank name, bank address, name on account, address on the account, account number, and foreign swift code. Your refund will be processed on Thursday, April 9. Please note that depending on the country to which the wire is sent, it could take a few days for receipt of the funds into the bank account.
For families that have a payment plan, the final payment is scheduled for April 1st. Please review your plan and make any necessary revisions.
2020 Spring Term Billing FAQs
What is the Spring Term Credit?
The College will be crediting 100% of Room, Board and Laundry fees previously charged for the Spring 2020 term, less the proration of any financial aid received directly from the College.
Will I get a refund check for the room and board adjustment?
For students who are not graduating this spring, your room and board adjustment will be applied to your student account and if this creates a credit balance, this credit will remain on your account and be applied towards your fall term bill.
Domestic Graduates will receive a check from the College, which will be mailed on 4/9, for any credit balance the room and board adjustment creates.
International Graduates will receive a check from the College, which will be mailed on 4/9, for any credit balance the room and board adjustment creates. International students can request a wire payment instead of a check, but will need to provide the Bursar’s office with your bank information.
Questions about refunds should be directed to the Bursar’s Office email@example.com.
I’m staying on campus. Will I get a room and board credit?
Any student that remains on campus with permission from Residential Life will be charged at the regular room and board rate.
When and how will I get my room and board credit?
These credits will be applied to your student account by 3/27 and available for view through WebAdvising.
I am currently enrolled in a payment plan. What is the impact for my remaining payments?
The final payment plan installment is due April 1. Please review your account in WebAdvising and make any necessary adjustment to your payment plan through CashNet.
Why was my financial aid award changed for spring term?
With the move to online instruction the original charges for room and board for the spring term have been removed from your student account. Due to the reduction in spring term charges, eligibility for need-based financial aid is impacted. Union College is one of a small number, less than five percent, of colleges and universities in the country that commits to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need. We use a combination of federal and institutional guidelines to calculate how much a family should be expected to contribute towards a Union education, and then we use loan, work study, and grant aid to cover any gap between the cost of attendance and expected family contribution.
Your original financial aid offer was based on being charged the full comprehensive fee (tuition, fees, room and board). Now that the 2019-20 comprehensive fee has been reduced to reflect changes for spring term, the gap between expected family contribution and cost of attendance has also been reduced. Students with need-based financial aid will see their grant aid adjusted accordingly.
Your revised financial aid award can be viewed on your Self Service portal accessed through WebAdvising. We continue to do our best within our resources to help all Union students during this time of challenges and uncertainty.
We realize such conversations are hard to have over email and are happy to discuss further over the phone. You can reach Financial Aid at (518) 388-6123.
To view a video with additional information from President Harris and Vice President Malatesta, please click here.
My financial aid includes work study. How will that be affected?
Since you have been participating in this employment program, the College has decided to replace your spring term work-study in the form of a grant which will be credited directly to your student account.
Will Union refund any portion of spring term tuition?
Union College believes strongly in the value of a residential liberal arts education. We understand that having to deliver classes remotely can never fully replace the full experience that students have when they are on campus and interacting with their peers, faculty and staff.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on our country and our community, we made the extremely difficult decision to move the full spring term online. We have not become an online college; rather, we are a residential college with all of the infrastructure, expenses, resources, and prestige that implies. We will be offering instruction, career counseling, student activities, and as many of our usual services and experiences as possible, albeit remotely.
Given that students will not be on campus, we have decided to remove room and board charges from spring term bills for all but the small number of students who must remain in Union residence halls. Although this means reducing revenue even where some expenses will remain fixed, such as costs associated with maintaining facilities, we believe strongly that this change is the right thing to do. Students will be living off campus and will not be eating in our dining halls. They should not pay for these basic needs twice.
Tuition and student activities fees are different. Our faculty and staff are committed to ensuring that students receive an outstanding academic experience that still allows them to gain the knowledge and experience they need to move forward and thrive in their studies, careers, and lives.
There are a number of factors that enhance our remote delivery of classes and ensure the highest quality of academic experience:
- All classes are being taught by the same faculty who would be teaching classes on campus. Union is not hiring adjuncts to teach online classes, as do many online programs.
- Class sizes remain small. Many schools who offer online classes regularly, and do so at a discounted cost, dramatically increase class sizes for online education. Union classes will remain small and allow for the kind of personal, individual attention that is the hallmark of a liberal arts college.
- Students will still have access to faculty. While office hours will be “virtual” and conversations will be conducted remotely, our faculty are committed to supporting their students through this new challenge.
- Your degree will still be a Union degree. This one term of remote education (1/12th of your overall time at Union) will in no way diminish the value of your Union degree nor the overall educational experience you have at Union.
- Our student affairs team is developing innovative ways to connect students and enhance their academic experience throughout the term.
No one could fully anticipate the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in now. And there will be more changes to come. However, in Union’s 225-year history we have adapted to meet many previous challenges. There is no doubt that we will do the same through these troubling times, and that we will thrive.
What happens with the Declining dollars on my meal card?
Graduating seniors with funds remaining on their card have received a credit on their student account.
Underclassmen will have all credits remaining applied to the fall term.