The closure of schools and colleges across Georgia because of the global pandemic sent many students of Perimeter College and Oglethorpe University out of the classrooms and their dorm rooms months before the semester ended, but refunds have been sent out for a portion of their fees and housing costs.

The two institutions also shared funds designated by the federal government in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act with students.

Perimeter College students at the Dunwoody campus got a 40% refund for campus services that were discontinued for the end of the spring semester, including such mandatory charges as activity, athletic, sustainability and transportation fees. If a student stopped using a semester parking permit, meal plan or housing, they received partial refunds for those services also. Any student who moved out of housing by April 1 received the 40% refund on their spring housing charges.

The University System of Georgia determined the refund guidelines.

At Oglethorpe in Brookhaven, students got “significant refunds.”

“With the campus closing in March, Oglethorpe issued significant refunds to students for room and board,” said Renee Vary Keele, senior director of University Communications.

Oglethorpe had to furlough approximately 30 employees and implement cost-saving measures that included spending cuts to handle the financial loss caused by the coronavirus. Taking those actions enabled the university to establish an emergency reserve, she said.

“For now, we are in a strong position, but no one can predict what the next few months may bring,” Vary Keele said.

CARES Act grants

Georgia State distributed $20.4 million in CARES Act money through 34,725 awards throughout its campuses, including Perimeter College.

Oglethorpe received $1.28 million in federal CARES Act funds distributed by the Department of Education, with $639,754 designated for student aid grants. Approximately 1,100 students were eligible, including full-time, non-residents; displaced students; adult degree program; and those with specific emergency needs. Oglethorpe started sending out checks and notifications on June 1.

For students who were ineligible for CARES grants, the university established a separate fund. They students included international students and students residing under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.