Skip to main contentSkip to footer content

Policies and Procedures
Refund Policy Related to Emergency Situations

Category: Business Office 
Responsible Office: Business Office, VP Administration
Revision Date: 8/1/2020
Effective Date: 8/15/2020


The purpose of this policy is to govern the refund process should extraordinary circumstances arise that require ESF to move all classes to an online teaching environment, as was the case during the spring 2020 semester when the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to move students off campus.

Policy Statement

This policy establishes a methodology to credit certain fees to the accounts of students due to the conversion to online learning. It is designed to provide a broad framework for establishing which fees should be credited/refunded, how amounts are determined, and other pertinent information. It is not designed to be an all-encompassing set of rules, as flexibility is necessary to fully consider the circumstances of the emergency being addressed, and react in a manner that is fair and consistent for all students.

Fees Eligible for Refunds

Consistent with how refunds were processed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic during the spring 2020 semester, the following is a list of fees for which refunds will generally be provided in similar situations, as well as descriptions of how amounts are determined:


The ESF College Foundation manages Centennial Hall and they will determine amounts to be refunded. In general, refunds will be prorated based on the proportionate time between when students vacate the dorm and the end of the semester. The actual refund will be processed on ESF bills.

Meal Plans

  • Those with SU meal plans will work directly with them as ESF does include their services on our students’ bills. Their phone number is (315) 443-2444.
  • Morrisville manages the Trailhead Café and they determine refund amounts, which should be the amount of a student’s unused balance. The actual refund will be processed on ESF

Athletics Fee

  • Refunds will be prorated based on the proportionate time between when students vacate the campus and the end of the semester.

Student Services Fee

This fee is primarily used to fund the services portion of our contract with Syracuse University.  Similar to the athletics fee, refunds will be prorated based on the proportionate time between when students vacate the campus and the end of the semester. However, SU provides services for which ESF still benefit even when fully online. Therefore, the fee is allocated into the service categories and those that continue are not part of the calculated refund amount.

Student Activity Fees

Both USA and GSA leadership will determine refund amounts based on reworks of their respective budgets.

Course Fees

Course fees have unique aspects, so each will be evaluated to determine which should be refunded based on the the circumstances of the emergency.

Method of Payment

Credits in the amount of each fee refund will be posted to a student bill. These will first reduce outstanding balances if this is permissible under applicable regulations. A refund will be produced when total credits exceed any unpaid balances and this will be delivered via the normal college process (i.e. Bank Mobile or a check from the Bursar’s office).

ESF may adjust financial aid if the award is for room and meal charges. For example, if a student receives a $2,000 Centennial Hall award and ESF will provide a 50% refund, ESF may reduce that award by the same 50%.


This policy applies to student who are enrolled at the time that ESF requires they vacate. Those who withdrew prior to such date are not eligible as they will be considered not impacted by the conversion to online learning.

Other Considerations

All amounts will be refunded. No amounts will be credited to a future semester

Fee Adjustments for the Fall 2020 Term Only

In consideration of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on ESF’s ability to fully provide all services related to each broad-based fee, ESF has reduced certain ones. Tuition and fee rates for undergraduate and graduate students can be found on the Bursar website.

Fee Waivers

The overriding principle is that SUNY ESF will not grant waivers of mandatory broad-based Fees. However, SUNY ESF exempts certain populations of students. Information regarding this can be found on the Bursar website.

Contact Information

Michele McNeill
Business Affairs 
103 Bray Hall
Syracuse, NY 13210 
Phone: (315) 470-6653
Fax: (315) 470-6897
Bursar Website