July 24, 2020
Dear Students and Families,
As the University prepares to open for the Advent semester, I write to update you on the billing process and payment deadlines for the semester. Since last March, we have been planning extensively to ensure a safe return to campus, an exemplary learning environment, and a vibrant student life experience. We are proud of the steps we have taken to create a safe environment and a robust student experience, but these steps have been costly. At this point, we project additional expenditures due to COVID-19 to be somewhere between $4 and $5 million. This amount represents about 5% of the University budget. The University will absorb these costs for the upcoming year by drawing on operating reserves and the endowment.
For students who will be on campus, the payment deadline for the student bill continues to be July 31. For students studying remotely and living off campus, the deadline has been moved to Aug. 31 and bills will be adjusted. The adjustments will include a removal of room and board charges and a financial aid adjustment to reflect the lower cost of attendance. For students receiving need-based aid, these adjustments will comply with federal and state guidelines. For students receiving aid that is not need-based, the aid adjustments will be similar to those employed in calculating the room and board refund last spring. You can find more information here about these adjustments.
Finally, students on campus will be charged an additional fee of $80 to cover the required initial COVID-19 screening test when the students first arrive on campus. Until recently, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) had committed to reimbursing universities for testing expenses. The TDH has now reversed course and has announced that it will not reimburse universities for testing expenses. Throughout the semester, the University plans to conduct weekly surveillance testing covering 10-15% of the campus community—faculty, staff, and students. Should this involve your student, you will not be billed. The University is covering the cost of this testing process.
Please let us know if you have questions about your student bill. If you have questions about student fees for tuition or room and board, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 931.598.1347. If you have questions about need-based aid, please email email@example.com or call 931.598.1312.
Vice President for Finance