Ohio State will refund part of dining and housing costs to students who move out of residence halls by March 22. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Managing Editor for Multimedia

Ohio State will provide a prorated refund of housing and dining costs to students who move out of university housing due to the coronavirus outbreak, University President Michael V. Drake said in an email to residence hall students Sunday.

In the email, Drake thanked students for their cooperation in moving out of the residence halls and announced that students will receive partial refunds for the costs of both housing and dining plans for the remainder of the semester.

“I am moved and impressed by the way our entire community is coming together to meet this challenge, and to keep each other safe and healthy,” Drake said.

In a Thursday email sent to the university community, Drake said Ohio State would suspend all in-person classes for the rest of the spring semester and extend spring break until March 22 because of the coronavirus, officially called COVID-19 by the World Health Organization. Students living in residence halls began moving out Saturday and will continue through March 22.

The refund announcement comes after tens of thousands of people signed a petition asking Ohio State to partially refund tuition and room and board after the university’s email about the suspension of in-person classes and early move out of residence halls due to the outbreak.

“While the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus is ultimately out of the control of the university, it is completely unreasonable for the student body to pay the full cost of tuition and, if applicable, housing,” the petition, which had more than 25,000 signatures at the time of publication, reads.

Ohio State’s announcement follows other universities announcing they will provide partial refunds of room and board costs. Kent State announced Friday that they will provide an “appropriate refund” to all students who move out by March 30, according to the university’s website.

Harvard University will also issue prorated refunds on room and board costs for the remainder of the semester for students leaving campus, but additional information is forthcoming, according to the university’s website. 

Details about refunding are limited but will be provided next week, Drake said in the email. 

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