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Staff photo by Troy Stolt / UTC senior Michael Gillette brings bags of laundry to his parent's truck after returning to campus from spring break on Saturday, March 14, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn. UTC announced it would be shutting down campus for the semester in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, giving students who live on campus until March 31 to move out of their dorms.

For answers to frequently asked questions about the coronavirus, click here.

 

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) announced Tuesday that it will refund campus housing and meal plan costs to students who were forced off-campus when the university closed and moved classes online due to coronavirus fears.

Refunds will be issued to students who lived on campus for the remaining days in their spring semester lease after the March 16 move-out deadline and Mocs Bucks refunds will be issued in full, according to an announcement from the university.

Colleges and universities across the country shuttered this month as the novel coronavirus spread across the county. Many, like UTC, initially extended spring breaks and moved classes online for a set period of time, but then extended the move online for the remainder of the spring semester.

"As the UTC community continues to respond to the novel Coronavirus, campus leaders have been working to minimize the financial impact on students. One way to reduce the financial impact is to issue refunds for certain auxiliary student services that will no longer be used," said vice chancellors Richard Brown and Yancy Freeman in a statement. "After collaborating with our UT System colleagues, it has been decided that refunds will be issued to students for the unused portion of campus housing, meal plans, and parking decals. Details of these refunds are outlined below."

Many students had just days to move out of their residence halls at UTC and other area universities, including Bryan College and Southern Adventist, but some colleges and universities have allowed students to remain on campus under certain circumstances.

UTC students had until March 16 to move out and classes resumed online on March 23. On March 18, university officials announced that a "UTC community member" had tested positive for COVID-19.

In a letter addressed to faculty, staff and students earlier this month, UTC Chancellor Steve Angle acknowledged that moving courses online had not been easy.

"The preparation to go 100% online has not been easy, but we can do this. The most important thing we can do to ensure this online experience is a success is to engage in straight forward, solid communication on a continuing basis," Angle said in the statement. "Students and faculty are two-thirds of the way through an academic term, and we are all trying our best to support them as they complete the semester."

Refunds will be applied as credits to students university accounts, according to information released Tuesday. Any outstanding balance on the account will be deducted from the credit before the refund is issued.

Refunds will be issued via direct deposit or by check. Student athletes who received scholarships for housing and/or meal plans will have the refund credited to the athletic scholarship they previously received.

For more information, students are encouraged to contact the Bursar's Office or visit utc.edu/coronavirus.

Contact Meghan Mangrum at mmangrum@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.

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