April 3, 2020 12:30 PM
Carmen Twillie Ambar, President

Dear Oberlin Families,

I hope all of you are safe and healthy.

COVID-19 has imposed unprecedented change on higher education institutions across the country. I have heard from numerous students about their sense of loss from a semester cut short. Particularly moving are the notes from seniors whose last days on campus and Commencement Weekend were taken away by overriding concerns for personal and public health.

Even though classes resumed remotely this week, all but the 250 or so students who remain on campus are no longer utilizing the housing and dining services for which they paid. It is our goal to come as close as possible to making whole the families of students who had been in College housing and on a dining plan.

When Oberlin asked students to depart campus, 60 percent of the semester remained. As a result, Oberlin will reimburse families for 60 percent of their College housing and dining costs prorated in accordance with the institutional scholarship and need-based aid the College provides to reduce students’ cost of attendance.

Oberlin also will ensure that families in need who are Pell Grant eligible receive at least a minimum level of support. The College also will absorb the fixed cost associated with residential and dining facilities staffing and maintenance.

I appreciate that this issue has been on the minds of our Obie families. Thank you for your emails regarding this matter, including the request for an avenue to donate whatever refund the College might be able to offer. Your suggestions informed our refund process.

In mid-April you will receive, as a part of our standard billing statement, an indication of your refund and four allocation options:

  • maintain the refund on your account to offset next year’s charges;
  • request refund payment;
  • allocate the refund to reduce student loans;
  • donate the refund to Oberlin.

In these challenging times, we all are coping with the unexpected impacts of this pandemic. We appreciate your patience as we analyzed the pandemic’s financial burden on our families and the College. For returning students who wish to apply the refund as an offset to next year’s charges, no action is necessary. You will see the credit applied to your account in future statements. We will honor whichever payment method your family chooses.

Thanks to the generosity of parents, faculty, alumni and others in Oberlin’s tight-knit community, we also are in a position to help students in need at a time when COVID-19 is straining everyone’s budget. An emergency student fund slightly exceeding $50,000 has been established to provide financial support to students who had substantial difficulty funding the unexpected travel and related cost associated with COVID-19.  Details on how to access these funds will be communicated via email as well as posted on our website.

Thank you for your engagement and your support these past few weeks as we considered these challenges. If you have questions about the statement you receive in April, or about the refund process, you may contact student accounts at the email, Student.Accounts@oberlin.edu.

I wish you a healthy and successful completion of your semester and look forward to the day when we can greet one another on campus.

Sincerely,

Carmen Twillie Ambar
President