LSU Residential Life charged early move-out fees to students who left their on-campus housing due to COVID-19.
The University can charge a 75% move-out fee if the move-out wasn’t for the University’s convenience, according to the University housing contract. The University followed the guidance of local and state health officials and encouraged students to go home if the students were able to do so since March 12, but the decision was not for the University’s convenience, according to Associate Director of Residential Life Catherine David.
“We believe the right thing to do is to abide by our current contract, which provides a credit for a portion of a student’s remaining rent for the semester,” David said.
If students are required to move out of the residence halls for the convenience of the University, they will be refunded the remaining prepaid rent for the agreement term, according to the University housing contract.
The only people permitted on campus now are essential personnel, or students that had difficulties returning home and filed a special request to stay on campus. Students were asked to notify the University of their plans to leave or remain on campus by March 18 by filling out a form in the housing portal through myLSU.
A March 17 Division of Strategic Communications email recognized the burden this may place on some students.
“Academic and administrative staff will try to be as understanding as possible with any students who need additional support,” the email read.
Partial refunds are determined individually based on the student’s check-out date, type of housing, meal plan usage and rent rate. Reimbursements are provided within seven business days, and will first be applied to any remaining balances owed to the University before being directly deposited into the student’s account.
Many students disagree with the University’s decision not to provide a full refund.
“Really hope the stories of @LSU penalizing students and families for moving out of dorms early after being told by the university to do so due to the coronavirus are false,” @Tyler_Mallams wrote on Twitter.
Really hope the stories of @LSU penalizing students and families for moving out of dorms early after being told by the university to do so due to the coronavirus are false. Stupidly embarrassing to read about.— Tyler Mallams (@tyler_mallams) March 25, 2020
Students also seem to agree the move-out should be considered at the University’s convenience, because it was for the health and safety of the University.
“I can’t believe @LSU @LSUResLife are really gonna charge students a 75% move out fee for leaving after they ASKED US TO!” @Jonathan_Barham wrote on Twitter.
I can’t believe @LSU @LSUResLife are really gonna charge students a 75% move out fee for leaving after they ASKED US TO! When you try to talk to them, all they send you back is the normal move out policy. NOTHING about why we all moved out is normal! It’s a PANDEMIC! #Shameful 😡— Jonathan Barham (@Jonathan_Barham) March 31, 2020
One Twitter user calculated the amount she was owed based on the amount she paid and the time left in her dorm.
"Okay, so if my housing is $3,710 and doing the math, a day in my dorm is $31.18 and there were 49 days left when I was basically kicked out of my dorm, that would average to about $1,527.82, but my mom is only getting $628," @DejaMGordon wrote.
Okay, so if my housing is $3710 and doing the math, a day in my dorm room is $31.18 and there were 49 days left when I was basically kicked out of my dorm, that would average out to about $1527.82, but my mom is only getting $628... I'm no mathematician— Deja Gordon (@DejaMGordon) March 28, 2020
LSU has not issued refunds for other on-campus resources a student can no longer access, such as parking fees and UREC membership.
"To make services available on the first day of the semester, we have to make commitments for several months in advance and your fees go to securing those commitments, as well as covering other ongoing obligations," according to a statement on the LSU Coronavirus Updates & Information page.