USC will provide a pro-rated refund of room and meal plan payments to students who left university housing amid COVID-19, university officials announced in an email to the USC community Friday.

“These refunds will be calculated to cover the full cost of the period from March 23, 2020 through the end of the current semester and will be posted to the student’s university account,” David Wright, senior vice president for administration, and Winston Crisp, vice president for student affairs, wrote in the email.

These refunds will be processed next week and are expected to be in student accounts by the end of April, the email stated.

More than 1,600 students have received permission to stay in university housing. These students who received permission are not eligible for the pro-rated room and meal plan reimbursement, but they can receive a refund of unused dining dollars, according to the email.

According to a housing FAQ page on the university's COVID-19 website, student residents who received permission to stay are expected to live through the end date of their original contract. If they want to or need to leave early, they can complete the spring check-out process in person at their housing Customer Service Center. These students may also receive some credits.

“Credits will be calculated based on the day a resident completes all steps of the check-out process,” the USC COVID-19 website said. “These residents are responsible for charges for all days prior to their completion of the check-out process, regardless if they actually lived in their space or not.”

USC said on its website that rent for April, May, June and July has been suspended for student residents who are billed monthly and vacated university housing. They will receive proportional credits for the period of March 23 to March 31.

“If you are able to return to your assignment before your 7/31/2020 contract end date, appropriate rent will be charged to your student account for the period that you re-occupied your assignment,” according to the website information.

Starting April 27, USC students will gradually be able to return to campus to pack and move out their belongings.

“We have developed a calendar schedule based upon public health guidelines, which will limit the number of people in any one area,” the Friday email said.

Calendar for retrieval of belongings provided by USC Housing.
Calendar for retrieval of belongings provided by USC Housing.

USC will offer packing and storage services for students who will not be able to retrieve their belongings.

“In these situations, students or families will be able to request that their belongings be packed and put into storage. Please email your request to housing@usc.edu,” the email said. “Packing and storage services will occur after the move-out appointments are completed, which should be by May 31st, unless further delays are imposed to accommodate health and safety guidelines.”

Students can contact the Office of Basic Needs at basicneeds@usc.edu if they have any financial difficulty returning to campus.

Many universities across the nation have offered temporary housing for health care workers. USC has told the Los Angeles city that the university is ready to donate space for emergency workers if the need arises, according to the university email.

USC has cancelled all previous summer housing applications. The university will soon open a new housing application for students who are staying in the university housing right now and can not move out in the summer “for approved reasons”.

“All undergraduate students will need to relocate to appropriately consolidated locations for summer housing,” the university stated on its website. “This transition will take place after the move-out process is completed. Graduate student summer assignments will be made in line with their future reservations.”

More details about credits for different meal plans are listed here.