Update for Students and Families - April 3, 2020

Dear Students and Parents,

Just one short month ago, we were all looking forward to spring break and the full complement of annual spring activities and events that would follow: the Leadership Recognition Ceremony, Spring Performance Showcases, May Day, Senior/Faculty Banquet and of course, Commencement.

Who could have imagined how much our world would change — and at such lightning speed. Our connections to each other, to our communities and to Simmons are no less intense or meaningful, but profoundly different in these socially distant days.

As the realities of Coronavirus became clear, our first priority was — and continues to be — the safety and well-being of our students and community. Now that our students and staff are safely away from campus, our classwork has moved to a virtual delivery method and as we have come to understand more about the restrictions we are all living within, we have been able to reach additional decisions, which we share below.

About Commencement and the Senior Class

I want to take this opportunity to address our decision to convert the Commencement ceremony in May to a virtual format. I understand completely the deep disappointment many of us feel about this. However, the safety of our students and community members remains a top priority. We know May is out of the question, and we could see no responsible way to reschedule with confidence, as we do not yet know how long large gatherings will be banned. All that said, we are working closely with the Senior Class Council, who has surveyed the entire senior class about Commencement, to design a virtual celebration and to plan a future gathering when it is safe to do so. We are committed to recognizing and celebrating the many achievements of the class of 2020.

Room and Board Refunds and Credits

Fees for room, board and parking will be refunded or credited as outlined below. No other tuition or fees will be returned as they apply to services and support that is unaffected by the dorm or campus closures.

For Seniors

Seniors who were charged for room and board for the Spring semester, and did not remain in University-sponsored housing, will receive a credit to their account prorated to Monday, March 16, 2020. Credits will be viewable on AARC by Tuesday, April 7. Please note that if you have an outstanding balance on your account, the credit will first be applied to that balance.

Refunds will be made no later than Wednesday, April 15 and issued by check to the address on file or by direct deposit, depending on your preferences in Simmons Connection. For instructions on signing up for direct deposit, please visit the website and refer to the section entitled "Direct Deposit Student FAQ."

To receive your refund by direct deposit, please be sure your preferences are updated on or before Friday, April 10.

For First Years, Sophomores, Juniors and Graduate Students

Other students who were charged room and board for the Spring semester, and did not remain in University-sponsored housing, will receive a credit to their account prorated to Monday, March 16, 2020. Credits will be viewable on AARC by Tuesday, April 7. Please note that if you have an outstanding balance on your account, the credit will first be applied to that balance.

Any remaining credit will be applied toward charges for your next semester. Families who would prefer a refund, instead of having their credit carried forward, should complete the online form on or before Thursday, April 9. Refunds will be issued by check no later than April 15 and will be mailed to the address on file or by direct deposit, depending on your preferences in Simmons Connection.

For instructions on signing up for direct deposit, please visit the website and refer to the section entitled "Direct Deposit Student FAQ."

To receive your refund by direct deposit, please be sure your preferences are updated on or before Friday, April 10.

Student Parking Refunds

We have arranged for students with semester parking passes to receive a refund of $197.58, from the $350 you originally paid for parking. This reflects the number of days our academic programs have been virtual. To ensure your refund is processed, please send an email to [email protected] no later than April 16.

Student Workers

Both work-study and non-work study student workers may continue to be employed through May 15th if their employers have work for them. Please check with your supervisor about the status of your employment if you haven’t heard anything.

2020 Census

For those of you who have not yet submitted your household count to the U.S. Census Bureau, I remind you that your student will be counted by Simmons, even if they are temporarily living elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please do not count your student on your household Census form.

Supporting our Students Fund

Finally, I wanted you to know we have established the Supporting our Students (SOS) Fund to help provide needed resources to our students. Gifts to the SOS Fund provide relief for alternative housing and transportation, mental health and medical needs, groceries and personal items, technology, and other accommodations to complete coursework.

Thank You

These worldwide challenges are certainly not the way I imagined spending the final weeks of my tenure at Simmons. But as difficult and dark as some days over the last month have felt, the resiliency of Simmons students, faculty, staff, alumnae/i and trustees has been truly inspiring. Thank you for staying flexible and strong, and optimistic about our future. I’m proud of our community and hope to see everyone in person as soon as it is possible to do.

Helen Drinan
President, Simmons University