April 20, 2020
April 20, 2020 Update
It has been just over a month since life as we know it on our campus and around the world has been disrupted by the outbreak of the global pandemic COVID-19. Government declarations and orders required the university to move students, faculty, and staff off of our campus while we continued teaching, learning, and making progress toward graduation. I am very thankful for the monumental efforts to transition to virtual and remote learning to keep students on track with their studies. Students have stepped up by adapting, adjusting, and continuing with their classes.
I know this disruption has been difficult for many and has presented financial complexities and hardships. I have experienced this personally, as I have a daughter in graduate school in South Carolina who was displaced and had her student teaching abruptly ended. Mars Hill University has been working through a number of complex issues so that we can provide clarity to you as you move toward either graduation or registering for the fall semester and summer school.
We have found that each student account is different. Some students receive Pell Grants, some athletics scholarships, and some receive both. Some of our students receive endowed academic scholarships, institutional academic scholarships together with work-study, community involvement aid, and other assistance. Some rely upon a mixture of these items together with student loans. Because we provide over $19 million in institutional scholarships, many students’ room and board charges are paid at least in part by MHU institutional financial aid, which assists many students with the costs to attend the university.
In consultation with our university leadership, we are announcing today that we will credit your student account for the unused portion of your room and board after March 15, 2020. This will be a prorated amount based upon your contribution (through payments and loans) toward the cost of attendance and taking into account institutional aid that is paid for by the school.
We will post the credit to your student account in the next 10 days. If you have a balance on your account, the refund will be applied to your remaining balance. If the refund results in a credit balance on your account, you have the following options:
1) Roll the credit balance forward to next year to help offset costs for ‘20-’21, or
2) Request a refund for the credit balance by filling out the form in the link by April 25th.
Graduating seniors: We will address your accounts first. When this financial aid analysis is completed, if you are due a refund, we will send your refund via direct deposit or check. Seniors do not need to request a refund, it will be sent automatically.
Commuter accounts will also be addressed in the first batch, including a prorated credit for commuter meal plans.
Eligible students enrolled in the work-study program who received March work-study payment will have payment for April (even though you could not work) applied to their account to the extent they have not exceeded their earning limit as the final work-study payment for this academic year. In addition, we have decided to look at Community Involvement events and apply a prorated amount to those accounts where students were able to make any advancement toward the goal of 8 per semester. For example, if a student attended 4 events, you will be credited an amount prorated to 4 events. These credits have already been applied and you will see that reflected in your self-service statement.
You have been very patient with us and I will always be grateful for you giving us time to work through what is a multi-million-dollar impact on the university. If you have further questions, please reach out to our Student Accounts Representative, Beth Babb (firstname.lastname@example.org). We have also applied for federal stimulus money that may come in the next few weeks and may provide further financial relief to some of our students based on their financial need. We will communicate with you on that as soon as we have certainty and government guidance on the details of that relief package.