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Spring 2020 Housing & Dining FAQ

This list of Frequently Asked Questions is to supplement the update sent to students by email on Wednesday, April 8 regarding housing support and dining credit for the Spring 2020 semester.

How will payments be sent?

All credits for housing support and dining plans will be automatically applied to students' individual bursar accounts. Remaining credit balances will be made available to students immediately, and all students are strongly encouraged to set up Direct Deposit now to expedite delivery of any potential disbursements.

Will I receive the full amount of any credits?

Student bursar accounts will be credited for housing assistance and meal plans, and these amounts, less any outstanding unpaid student charges or fees, will be available.


How are housing credits being determined?

Students will receive a prorated emergency on-campus housing student financial assistance to assist with relocation expenses by offsetting the value of their remaining housing contracts calculated from March 29, 2020 to the end of their housing contracts. 

Why is the housing credit based on March 29 if I left campus earlier?

In order to be fair to all campus residents, regardless of their opportunities to travel, we have based all housing assistance on the deadline President Pollack set in her direction that all undergraduate students living in on-campus housing needed to leave campus by March 29, 2020.

What about fraternity and sorority residents?

Housing contracts between members of Cornell's Greek community and their respective houses are between them and these Greek organizations, and housing payments that are handled by Cornell's bursar on behalf of these individual Greek organizations are remitted directly to those organizations. Please contact your house leadership if you have not already heard from them about their plans.

What about Co-Op residents?

Students living in on-campus cooperative housing will be provided an emergency housing assistance credit through the Office of Housing & Residential Life.


Will I be credited for my unused meal swipes?

Students who are no longer able to utilize their Cornell Dining meal plans due to a relocation away from the Ithaca area will have an opportunity to request a prorated credit, which will be calculated from March 29, 2020 to the end of their meal plan contracts.

What happens to my unused BRBs?

Students who are returning for the Fall 2020 semester will have Big Red Bucks (or other debit account such as Executive Choice) balances transferred into the fall. Graduating seniors and other non-returning students may contact the Cornell Dining contracts office to inquire about their options.

What do I have to do to get meal plan credit?

Because we don't want to inadvertently deactivate meal plans for students who are still in the Ithaca area and still using them, students who want credit for their unused meal swipes must complete a brief credit request form no later than April 12, 2020. Graduating seniors and other non-returning students should do this as soon as possible.

Financial details

When will I be credited for housing and dining?

The on-campus housing emergency student financial assistance should appear on the upcoming April 10, 2020 bursar statement. Due to the timing of the dining request process, dining credits will likely not be combined with the April 10, 2020 statement, but every effort will be made to have these available for disbursement by late April or early May, 2020.

How will these disbursements affect my financial aid?

This process has been planned so as to cause no impact to student financial aid that was awarded for the Spring 2020 semester. Student awards will not be reduced or adjusted as a result of the housing assistance or dining credit. 

What if I need more help?

Emergency expenses that are not covered through financial aid or other university resources are available for those students who need additional financial assistance due to the COVID-19 crisis. Students can apply for grants through the Access Fundin the Office of the Dean of Students.