Ithaca College has announced a reduction in room and board cost, but not tuition, for Fall 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a July 22 email to the campus community from President Shirley M. Collado and the Senior Leadership Team, the college will decrease the cost of room and board for most students for Fall 2020 based on when the student will be moving to campus in accordance with the phased move-in process. The college is waiving its on-campus residency requirement because of the number of students who may not be able to return to campus due to New York state travel restrictions or those who choose to enroll in classes remotely. Tuition, room and board and other institutional charges for the fall semester will be posted to student accounts by the first week in August, and fall bills will be due Sept. 1.
The college stated that it will not be obligated to issue any partial refund or credit in the event of temporary closures or restrictions on housing. After the college shifted to remote learning in Spring 2020, approximately 4,000 students were eligible for a partial refund toward on-campus housing and meal plans.
This is the second year of the college’s self-operated dining service, which Collado said will allow the college to reduce costs, increase food security and reduce density in dining halls. Students who live in on-campus dorms are still required to participate in the meal plan, which has been reduced to $3,200 per semester. This is a reduction of $234 from the previous academic year. The email stated that meal plan costs will also be reduced at the same levels being used for room charges based on the assigned move-in week.
Prior to the newly announced changes, the total cost of attendance, including tuition; a standard double room, $8,976; and the unlimited meal plan required for students in the dorms, $6,868, stood at $62,454 for the 2020–21 academic year. Before any discounts based on when students move in, the new room and board for Fall 2020 for a student in a standard dorm and with the required meal plan is now $7,688, based on the understanding that most students will no longer be on campus after Thanksgiving break.
For the fall semester, students moving in between Aug. 21 and Sept. 7 will have a 20% reduction of room and board, bringing the cost for a student in a standard dorm and with the required meal plan to approximately $6,150.
Students moving in between Sept. 8 and Sept. 14 will have a 27% reduction, bringing the cost for a student in a standard dorm and with the required meal plan to approximately $5,612.
Students moving in between Sept. 15 and Sept. 22 will have a 33% reduction, bringing the cost for a student in a standard dorm and with the required meal plan to approximately $5,151.
Students moving in between Sept. 23 and Sept. 30 will have a 40% reduction, bringing the cost for a student in a standard dorm and with the required meal plan to approximately $4,613.
Students moving in between Oct. 1 and Oct. 8 will have a 47% reduction, bringing the cost for a student in a standard dorm and with the required meal plan to approximately $4,075. Classes are set to begin in person Oct. 5.
Tuition will be the same regardless of the mode of delivery of the course, according to the college. The tuition for the 2020–21 academic year is set at $46,610, reflecting a 2.95% increase from the previous academic year.
However, every full-time undergraduate student enrolled in the 2020–21 academic year will be able to take up to three undergraduate credits in the winter or summer 2021 terms for free. Lecture and lab courses — hybrid, online or in person — qualify, but individualized studies, including internships, fieldwork and performance studies, do not. The winter session roster is projected to be available around Nov. 15, and the summer session roster is projected to be available around Dec. 15. This offer is not available to students who choose to take a full-year leave of absence for the academic year. Students who will only be enrolled for one semester will only be permitted to take the free credits during summer 2021. Students eligible to graduate in May 2021 will not be able to take the free credits in summer 2021.
Over the past two years, the college has been decreasing the cost of intersession credits. The college announced May 7 that summer 2020 courses would cost $300 per credit instead of $1,088 per credit to help students stay on track after classes transitioned to remote learning March 17. During the summer 2019 session, the college discounted intersession credits by 30% from its original rate of $1,319. This reduction led to a $250,000 loss in revenue.
The college will not proportionally reduce the amount of institutional aid offered to students to correlate with the reductions to the cost of attendance. The college will also be awarding additional need-based aid for those who provide evidence of a significant increase in demonstrated need.
“While there are circumstances that will legally require aid to be reduced, such as if a student’s aid package exceeds the cost of attendance, we know families are counting on this aid from the college and we stand by the institutional financial aid that has been awarded,” the email stated.