Apart from the tearful goodbyes and frustrating moving logistics, many students were hit by a financial burden during the emergency move-out procedure as they were asked to leave campus if possible in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it be for paid labor, storage, or repeated trips to and from a dorm, Columbia provided up to $500 in emergency funding per student. However, for many, this was not enough to cover steep Manhattan prices throughout this process. Below is a list of Columbia—and Barnard—sponsored refunds, student-led drives, and outside funds available for those hit hardest by the COVID-19 emergency move-out.
CU United Campaign
A student-organized group called CU United has created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for students in need of financial resources due to any COVID-19 related circumstances. For every $1000 they raise, they will circulate a Google Form for which students can indicate their need. Because of the high demand they have experienced, they are asking for donations from anyone who can either through their GoFundMe page or their Venmo @CUnited.
Dining Plan Refund
For all those missed late-night snacks at JJ’s or daily smoothies at John Jay Dining Hall, Columbia has stated that they will be refunding in part each student’s dining plans. For first-years, this financial allocation will be prorated based on the date of check-out.
Students occupying Columbia and Barnard housing will be receiving a prorated refund based on check-out date for housing. Those in Columbia residential apartments were given the option to move out in March, as well with a waived cancellation fee.
For those still on campus with food insecurity, whether it be from the limited dining hall hours or other reasons, the Food Pantry at Columbia is still open—albeit at a temporary location, in JJ’s Place, for different hours.
Had spring break plans that were cancelled? At this rate, it's possible some early summer plans might have been cancelled as well. Many travel companies like Greyhound Buses or Delta Airlines have plans to make sure that money didn’t go to waste. Some of these include a no-fee reissuing, eVouchers, or full refunds. Make sure to check out the travel alerts for the company you booked with.
For those on federal work-study programs at Columbia and Barnard, rest assured, payment will continue. The institutions will provide funding at students’ regular schedule up to their given allocation.
Financial Aid Appeal
While appealing for financial aid usually bears no fruit unless there was a significant change in the student’s financial resources, the recent situation with COVID-19 has created unprecedented circumstances for families of students around the world. Given these new developments, it might be the right time to appeal for more financial aid. Forbes published an article on the best ways to do this.
As you may have seen in the news, the federal government is providing stimulus checks for adults to help with financial burdens related to COVID-19. For singular adults with an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000, a $1,200 payment to individual taxpayers, a $2,400 payment for married couples filing jointly, and an additional $500 per qualifying child under the age of 17 will be doled out in the near future.
Financial Institution Relief
Some financial institutions are providing relief due to COVID-19. For a comprehensive list, visit The Simple Dollar and check out if your bank or credit card company is giving out any assistance in these troubled times.
Stay safe and be well, Columbia and Barnard.