SWU easing student financial burdens

CENTRAL ­— Because of increased COVID-19 disruption to campus residential life, Southern Wesleyan University has taken quick measures to alleviate financial burdens on students.

The university recently issued meal plan rebates to students as compensation for missed meals during the remaining part of the spring semester. Students whose accounts are already paid in full will receive an immediate check. For those with an outstanding balance, the rebate will be applied to reduce or eliminate any debt they were carrying when the campus closed to most residents at the end of March. According to President Todd Voss, university policy is to provide prorated rebates in these circumstances, but an especially quick response was required to assist students and their families during this crisis period.

University officials are pursuing other measures to provide relief financially, including a one-time Room Relief Grant to be applied in the 2020-21 academic year. This grant will hopefully ease the financial burden on returning students, many of whom rely on income earned from working summer jobs to pay tuition, room and board. Despite an uncertain job market for young adults going into the summer, Southern Wesleyan wants to provide a clear path for students to afford to return to school next fall. In addition to the one-time grant, university officials are affirming a commitment made before the COVID-19 pandemic to freeze tuition for the coming academic year, the second consecutive year of doing so.

“Most of you are still adjusting to the impact this has had in your personal lives, and SWU is, too. Many have shared that you cannot wait to return to campus in the fall and we are excited for that reunion as well… you are greatly missed,” said Voss in a letter to Southern Wesleyan students.

Graduating seniors who cannot benefit from financial initiatives for returning students will be awarded an additional rebate amount as they face immediate difficulties seeking permanent employment at the end of the spring semester.