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August 2020 Communications

August 24 - Initiatives to Support Students During COVID-19

Dear Campus Community:

The past six months have been some of the most difficult in our history, with the impact of COVID-19 leaving no corner of our community untouched. Below is a summary of initiatives put in place to support our students and assist our broader University community during this crisis. As you can see, we have made significant investments to help students continue their studies and move closer to the critical goal of graduation. The tuition cap implemented over a year ago, in particular, resulted in $18.8M free credit hours over the course of AY19-20 to students, reaching well beyond original projections. The UofM disbursed $7.8M in CARES Act funds directly to students in the late spring and early summer, coupled with summer scholarships and grants totaling another $4.1M, in addition to refunds for fees totaling $4.08M. As mentioned below, despite the move to virtual/remote learning in the spring, we continued to pay all of our student employees through the end of the semester. Total expenditures for COVID-19 initiatives during the summer were $16.4M. For this fall, we anticipate the sum of COVID-19 support expenditures totaling an additional $8.2M. This includes a targeted $3.5M COVID-19 scholarship support and loan program launched today, for a total of assistance over the past six months of $24.6M. 

Student Initiatives Financial Impact  Student Initiatives: -Capped Tuition for TN Residents (12 UG, 10 G, 11 Law)...$18,800,000 -Capped UofM Global Tuition for TN Residents... $290,000 -Capped Law School OOS Tuition... $574,000  Non-COVID-19 Related Initiatives: $19,664,000  Summer 2020 Initiatives: -Fee Refunds (Housing, Dining, Parking, etc.)... $4,080,000 -CARES Act Grant Disbursements...$7,800,000 -Student Payroll (Spring 2020)... $464,000 -Online Fee Grants Summer 2020... $1,700,000 -Expanded Summer 3+3 Program... $1,300,000 -$500 Grants for Juniors & Seniors... $1,100,000  Fall 2020 (AY20-21) Initiatives: -Grants/Refunds of Online Course Fees... $3,600,000 -Waiver of Fall Late Registration Fees... $100,000 -Refund of Payment Plan Fees... $70,000 -Prorated Refund of TigerEat$...$884,000 -COVID-19 Grant and Loan Program... $3,500,000  COVID-19 Related Initiatives: $24,598,000 Grand Total of All Student Initiatives: $44,262,000 

Although these are extraordinary times, our community continues to move forward with patience, persistence and a commitment to overcoming barriers with dedication to creativity and innovation. Local COVID-19 data continues to improve, with both daily positive test rates and new cases dropping. We will revisit the data in a few weeks, and if positive trends continue to hold, we will likely increase campus density and allow some smaller classes to return to campus on a voluntary basis. Naturally, we will continue with all appropriate health guidance. This past week we reopened access to our Recreation Center, following strict guidelines with significant monitoring. Working together is making a difference and helping us maintain a safe and healthy campus environment. 

I will continue to keep you updated as information becomes available.

-Dr. M. David Rudd, President, University of Memphis


August 20 - Commitment to Tigers Together

We are working hard to provide a clean, safe and secure campus environment. Over the course of the past several months, we have worked to put in place appropriate safety measures and protocols to support your college experience. It will take each of us doing our part to continue to keep our campus safe and healthy.
 
Students participating in off-campus events where social distancing and mask-wearing protocol are not followed will limit our ability to maintain and expand campus access and operations. Right now, driven by doing means:

  1. Wearing a mask.
  2. Socially distancing at least six feet.
  3. Not hosting or participating in large social gatherings.
  4. Reporting positive tests to the Dean of Students Office and complying with any needed contact tracing. 

Only by working together will we successfully navigate this difficult time. It is up to each and every one of us to keep our campus open to allow for a safe learning experience.

-Office of the Dean of Students


August 18 - Rec Center Reopening

The Student Recreation and Sports Complex (Rec Center) will be reopening on Thursday, August 20. We are very excited to welcome our students and members in-person once again. Every effort has been made to create a safe and comfortable environment for all who plan to utilize the facility. As a result, aside from complying with all federal, state, local and University health guidelines, there are a few changes to keep in mind.

The following elements will be required to access the Rec Center:

  • Must be a current full-time student or member; no guests will be allowed.
  • Online reservation of a specific time frame will be required (45-minute time limit).
  • A health screening and temperature check will be required prior to entry.
  • Masks are required when circulating throughout the facility.
  • 6-foot social distancing is required at all times.

Some areas within the building may be closed, while others have been repurposed or modified. It should be noted that the pool will not be reopening, as construction of the new natatorium is scheduled to begin in the coming months. Hours of facility operation at this time will be Monday-Friday, 11:00 am-7:00 pm. For more information, or to make a reservation for your workout, please visit our website at memphis.edu/campusrec.

For those who are still not comfortable working out in person, we will continue to offer many services online such as fitness classes, nutrition counseling and other programs. 


August 12 - Additional Financial Actions to Support Students

As we shared earlier this week, the University recognizes the financial challenges created by COVID-19. Accordingly, we have implemented the following and will be taking additional steps this week:

  1. Grants to reduce the online course fees by 50%.
  2. Waiver of late registration fees and extending late registration period to August 26.
  3. We did not be drop students for non-payment on Monday, August 10, as scheduled to allow more time for you to address any outstanding financial aid items and finalize payment plans.
  4. We committed to a 50% refund of the payment plan fee for those who enter into an installment plan arrangement by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, August 14.

 Although we have paused the majority of on-ground instruction for the first month, we plan on returning to campus as health data continues to improve. We will be taking additional steps with fee refunds in light of the 30-day pause. We are working on those now. There are actually positive signs this week, and we are hopeful current trends will continue. We have over 2,300 students who are already, or will be, in our dormitory facilities this semester. University buildings and services are open and available to our students, faculty, staff and community members. Schedules for buildings and related services (including the recreation facilities) will be published this week.
 
Here are some additional actions we will be taking to continue to help our students financially this semester:

  1. Due to the delay of on-ground instruction for approximately four weeks, the $300 TigerEat$ fee will be prorated for the fall 2020 semester. This proration corresponds to a reduction of $20/wk or $80 total for the fall semester, for a new charge of $220. For those students who meet the criteria for the TigerEat$ fee, you will see a refund posted to your student account.

    Your TigerEat$ balance of $300 will be available for use on your campus card beginning Monday, August 17. This amount will be reduced by $80 when the related refund is posted to your student account.

    As a reminder, TigerEat$ funds can be used at on-campus dining locations including Starbucks, vending machines or at the Bookstore for snack/beverage items. Any unused funds at the end of the fall 2020 will roll to the spring 2021 semester. We will revisit the issue if there are additional delays or limited access on campus during the fall semester.

    For more information on TigerEat$ or your campus card, please visit www.memphis.edu/campuscard or contact 901.678.2712.

  2. Earlier we indicated that students who enter into payment plans to address outstanding financial obligations will see a refund of 50% of their payment plan fee, if they enter into a payment plan by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, August 14. After further review, we have decided to refund 100% of the payment plan fees, again for students who enroll in a payment plan by close of business on Friday, August 14.

  3. Again, due to the delay of on-ground instruction, we will be refunding the remaining 50% online course fees to all students.

 
All refunds will post to your student accounts after Friday, August 28, to ensure an accurate capture of students who were assessed the related fees and related refunds.
 
We remain committed to doing all we can to support our students during this challenging time and wish you a successful fall semester.


August 10 - Continued Financial Support for Students

Dear Students:
 
We recognize the challenges presented by COVID-19 on all fronts, including finances. The University of Memphis is committed to doing all we can to support our students during this time. Below are some actions we are taking immediately:

  1. Grants to reduce the online course fee by 50%.
  2. Waiver of late registration fees and extending late registration period to August 26.
  3. We will not be dropping students for non-payment this evening as scheduled, and will be extending that deadline to Friday, August 14, to allow more time for you to address any outstanding financial aid items and finalize payment plans.
  4. We will be providing a 50% refund of the payment plan fee for those who enter into an installment plan arrangement by close of business on Friday, August 14.

 
We are continuing to evaluate other ways we can assist our students during these unprecedented times and will communicate other efforts with you shortly. For questions regarding financial aid, please submit an online help request at memphis.edu/financialaid. For questions regarding payment plans, visit memphis.edu/usbs or contact 901.678.2712.


August 5 - UofM COVID-19 Testing Center to Open August 17

The University of Memphis is opening a COVID-19 Testing Center for only UofM students, faculty and staff who are exhibiting symptoms beginning August 17. Located at the Central to the Arts Hub, formerly the Visitors Information Center at the corner of Central and Patterson, the Center will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Test kits and processing are provided at no charge by the State of Tennessee and funded by Federal COVID-19 relief funding. Testing Center access details are very specific and are provided at memphis.edu/coronavirusupdates/sick/testing.php.
 
UofM Student Notification Requirements:

  • Whether tested on campus or elsewhere, if a UofM student tests positive for COVID-19, the student should contact the Dean of Students Office at deanofstudents@memphis.edu. Staff will guide the student through University protocols and provide available resources. 
  • Student Health Services will contact students for next steps to include isolation/quarantine requirements.
  • Students may contact Student Health Services at studenthealth@memphis.edu, 901.443.1397 or 901.443.6438 with questions or concerns. 


UofM Employee Notification Requirements: 

  • Whether tested on campus or elsewhere, if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the employee should contact Human Resources at hr@memphis.edu, and they will be provided with information on protocols and available resources.
  • Human Resources will contact employees with next steps to include isolation/quarantine requirements.
  • Employees may contact Human Resources at hr@memphis.edu or 901.678.3573 with questions or concerns.