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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

In compliance with Governor Cuomo’s directive that the State University of New York reduce in-person interactions to lessen the risk of COVID-19 transference, Purchase College has had to make operational changes on many fronts.

On behalf of the Governor, Chancellor, and the campus, we want to thank everyone for their extraordinary efforts to adapt to the situation.

We understand there are many questions from students and their families. While the situation is fluid, we are doing our best to answer the questions as they come in. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. As information changes, we will update this page.


Q: Is the campus closed?

A: No. As per Governor Cuomo’s directive, we are focused on offering alternative deliveries for classes in order to lessen in person interaction. Classes are still in session.

Q: Are dorms open if students need to remain on campus?

A: Yes. Some students have been approved to stay on campus including international students and students with other extenuating circumstances. However, this is a public health emergency, so we need to follow the recommendations of the Board of Health, SUNY, and the Governor.

Q: What if you have a disability that makes it difficult to take online classes?

A: If students are experiencing a barrier in their course and want to discuss additional accommodations, please follow our process to submit a supplemental accommodation request via Accommodate.

The Office of Disability Resources remains available to assist students.

Q: Will the Loop still be running?

A: The Loop is no longer running as of March 23.

Q: Is commencement happening this year?

A: As per the Governor’s guidance, we cannot currently hold large events. Therefore, in person Commencement at the Westchester County Center will not take place in May. Instead, Commencement for the Class of 2020 will be held on Friday, December 18, 2020 on campus at The Performing Arts Center.

Q: How will students be able to collect their belongings?

A: Students should email the Office of Community Engagement at to make arrangements to pick up belongings.

Q: What are the revised visitor policies?

A: Until further notice, only students who reside on campus and essential college employees may enter residence hall buildings. Resident students cannot invite outside guests or other on-campus or off-campus students into residence halls at any time.

Q: Are other outside visitors or vendors allowed on campus?

A: Only essential vendors and contractors will be allowed on campus. All workers must stay in designated work areas, follow all rules relating to those work areas, and not utilize other areas of the campus. They are only allowed inside residential areas in the case of an emergency.


Q: What is the protocol if someone tests positive for COVID 19?

A: If there is a positive case on campus, and the infected person has been on campus within the 14 day incubation period, the college will communicate that someone has been found to have the virus. The Department of Health along with Purchase College administrators will determine next steps, which may involve quarantine or isolation for certain members of the community. The college will also disinfect. If the person infected is a student, they are encouraged to go home and quarantine there.

Q: What is the protocol if there is a quarantine?

A: The college will take all direction from the Department of Health in terms of who needs to be placed in quarantine and for how long. The quarantine area will vary depend on the individual circumstances of the person or people quarantined. Should community members be quarantined on campus, food will be provided, as will health care and monitoring of health care remotely.

Q: Will the counseling center be providing crisis counseling?

A: The Counseling Center remains open while we transition to fully remote services. If you would like an email or a phone call from our staff, please use, or call us at (914) 251-6390. We will reach out to you.

Q: Will there be COVID-19 testing on campus?

A: Health Services will call the Department of Health if there is a suspected case on campus. The Board of Health determines who will be tested. At this time we don’t have tests on campus.

Q: How will students be informed of changes in policy related to the COVID-19 virus?

A: The college is committed to keeping the community informed as new information comes in through regular broadcast emails and a dedicated website.


Q: Will the semester end early and what will happen if students are sick?

A: As of now, there are no plans for the semester ending early. If a student is sick and cannot complete the semester they may need to consider a medical leave or speak with the faculty regarding the possibility of an incomplete grade.

Q: Will students whose course work requires in person materials and instruction be able to graduate?

A: Yes. Faculty is working hard to redesign courses to ensure completion.

Q: What is the grading policy/attendance policy?

A: Students are expected to participate and complete their work, regardless of the format of the instruction. In the wake of Purchase College’s decision to transition temporarily to a distance education model, the Purchase College Educational Policies Committee has determined to grant students the ability to elect a Satisfactory/D/F grading option for the spring 2020 semester. This is different from the Pass/No Credit policy.

Students may elect to switch some or all of their spring 2020 elective and Core courses to S/D/F. In addition, some programs are permitting required coursework to be taken on an S/D/F basis. The deadline to switch spring 2020 courses to S/D/F is Tuesday, May 12.

Q: What is the procedure addressing Senior Projects?

A: Students should be in touch with their Senior Project advisor to discuss their individual concerns and needs.

Q: Will students be given full internship credit if they are unable to travel or go to their internship?

A: Students should contact the Career Development Center to discuss their options.

Q: Will students be able to receive Federal Work Study?

A: Yes. After the college has moved all courses to distance learning on March 27, we can continue to award federal work study.

Q: In the case the library closes, will students be given resources to continue class work?

A: The library is currently closed but the librarians and library staff are available to provide remote assistance to students and faculty. Students will be given access to other materials if needed.

Q: If things improve will we continue distance learning?

A: As per the Governor’s guidance, we will be offering only distance learning for the rest of the semester.

Q: What if I am having a hard time with online classes?

A: Make sure you are discussing any issues with your online courses with your faculty member first. If you are having technology issues with online instruction contact the CTS help desk. Tutoring, writing support, study skills and time management assistance are available through Learning Center. For research help, please reach out to library staff. For help coping with stress, there are additional resources available through the Counseling and Wellness Centers including meditation, a free online therapy app, and group sessions.

  Spring 2020 Account Adjustments

Q: Who is eligible to receive an adjustment to their spring 2020 bill?

A: Students in good standing are eligible to receive a proration for certain fees. Students deemed to not be in good standing will not receive any adjustment to fees per standing college policy for refunds.

To be in good standing:

  • Students must not have been dismissed or suspended from the college at any point during the spring 2020 semester or;
  • Students must not have been dismissed or suspended from living on campus at any point during the spring 2020 semester.

Q: How will the adjustments be made?

A: Adjustment to applicable fees, room, and meal plans will be made directly to a student’s spring 2020 bill. Adjustments may result in a student receiving a refund for spring 2020, or if a student has an outstanding balance due to the college, it may result in a reduction of the outstanding balance due for spring 2020.

Q: Do I need to sign up for anything to receive my adjustment?

A: Please set up an eRefund profile with Student Financial Services as soon as possible if you haven’t already done so.

Q: How can I see my adjustments?

A: Go to MyHeliotrope to view your updated eBill. Look for a section called COVID-19 credits which gives a detailed account of which credits you have received.

Q: How will you calculate adjustments?

A: We are prorating adjustments. That means that we’re dividing the cost by day. We’re issuing credits for 54 days of the semester based on the date of March 20 through the end of the semester on May 12. This equals 48.21 percent of what was paid for certain fees.

Q: How do housing adjustments work?

A: Once students have moved out of the residence halls, as confirmed by the Office of Community Engagement, they are eligible to receive a pro-rated adjustment. All room adjustments will be prorated for 54 days or 48.21 percent based upon the date of March 20, 2020 through the last day of the semester on May 12, 2020. Please note that damage charges, as determined by the Office of Community Engagement, will be applied to accounts prior to bill adjustment.

Q: What if I moved out before March 20? Will I get extra money back?

A: No. All adjustments are based on the March 20 date.

Q: Will I receive an adjustment to tuition?

A: No. Tuition refunds will not be granted. Courses have been transitioned online and students are still receiving credit for the courses. Furthermore, the SUNY Board of Trustee’s policy requires that a distance-learning course must be exclusively online for the entire term in order to qualify for the reduced non-resident online tuition rate. In addition, the resident online tuition rate and traditional classroom rate are the same.

Q: How will you refund dining plans?


Students on 19 Plus, 15 Plus, 12 Plus, and 5 Plus plans

  • Since these meal plans are based on a standard weekly number of meals per the 19, 15, 12, or 5 meals, plans are prorated on a weekly basis. These plans are prorated for 51 days or 45.54 percent from the week starting March 23, 2020. The credit you will receive based on your plan will be :
    • 19 Plus: $1,228.52
    • 15 Plus: $1,277.75
    • 12 Plus: $1,251.96
    • 5 Plus: $583.78

Block Plans

  • Starting with the week of March 23, 2020, the 265 Block, 200 Block, 150 Block, and 75 Block plans will receive a credit based on how many meals and super flex points are left on the student’s account.

Dining Dollars

  • For continuing students, Dining Dollars will roll over to the following semester.
  • For graduating seniors, or students that have submitted an official withdrawal from the college, adjustments will be based on actual usage. (Seniors, or continuing students, who have officially withdrawn from the college with remaining dining dollars over $5 will receive a check directly from the Purchase College Association.)

Q: I’m still on campus. Will I receive a dining refund?

A: No. Meal plans were converted to an all access plan at the Main Dining Hall. No credits will be issued for those still on campus.

Q: I withdrew from the college before March 23. Will I receive a dining adjustment?

A: No. Students who took a leave or withdrew from the college prior to March 23 are not eligible for an adjustment for meal plans or dining dollars. Also, students who were dismissed or suspended from the college or housing at any point in the semester are not entitled to any adjustment for meal plans or dining dollars.

Q: What additional fees beyond housing and meals will be included in adjustments?

A: The fees that will be adjusted will include services that we are no longer able to offer due to the transition to distance learning. These fees include the athletic fee, transportation fee, student activity fee, and some course fees. This doesn’t include the technology fee as we are relying heavily on technology.

Q: Will I receive anything for my course fees?

A: Adjustments will be made on a course-by-course basis, determined by the type of fee and dependent upon usage for the course. Course fees that were deemed eligible for an adjustment will receive a prorated adjustment for 54 days or 48.21 percent based upon the date of March 20, 2020 through the last day of the semester on May 12, 2020.

Q: How is the Student Activity Fee calculated?

A: Based off the guidance of SUNYSA, the governing body for the Purchase Student Government Association, the PSGA board has assessed the amount budgeted for campus programming that will no longer occur. The PSGA determined this amount by determining the cost of campus programs no longer being offered for the semester and divided by the number of students, as provided by the Registrar’s Office, of 3858. This results in a $58.68 adjustment for full-time students and $4.89 per credit for part-time students.

Q: What about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act emergency funds?

A:We’re still working on a plan for distributing those additional funds. We will send an email once we have more information about CARES funds.

Q: When will I see an adjustment on my account?

A: We are currently working on the calculations. Students should see these adjustments by the end of the semester.

Q: What action should I take if I paid all or a portion of my eBill with funds from a 529 plan?

A: Student Financial Services does not provide tax advice. Any questions regarding the impact of the COVID-19 credit on your 529 plan should be directed to your plan administrator as soon as possible to avoid potential tax ramifications. A copy of your eBill for the spring semester which includes the COVID-19 credit (once processed) can be obtained from your MyHeliotrope account.

This article from Kiplinger offers some helpful advice.

Q: Will I still qualify for my GI Bill benefits?

A: Yes. If you’re currently receiving GI Bill benefits, payments will continue automatically. You don’t have to do anything. You’ll continue to receive the same monthly housing allowance payments you received for resident training until December 21, 2020, or until we resume normal operations.

If you have specific questions, you can contact the Education Call Center toll-free at (888) 442-4551, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 7:00 pm ET.

Q: Can my refund be applied to my summer or fall bill?

A: Purchase College has decided to issue refunds to all students with a credit balance related to the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than apply the credit balance as payment toward a future semester. We made this decision because the refund will provide an additional element of assistance for students during this challenging time. This decision also ensures that the college remains in compliance with all Federal Title IV financial aid regulations. You can, however, save the refunded money you receive and to pay a future bill.

Q: How does the refund affect my student loan balance?

A: Your refund will not change the amount of your student loan, however, you may consider using any refund money you receive to reduce the outstanding student loan balance.

Q: How does the refund effect parents 529B College Saving Plan?

A:The refund will be issued directly to the student even if all or a portion of the charges were paid through a 529 Plan. Please contact the administrator of your 529 Plan directly with any questions about your account.

Q: How does my COVID credit impact my payment plan?

A: The charge adjustments made to your account will result in a payment plan decrease. If, after your charge adjustments, you no longer owe Purchase money, your payment plan will be canceled because it is no longer needed.

If the charge adjustments to your account result in a lower balance due to the college, your April and May payment plan installments will be reduced accordingly.

All payment plan enrollees will receive an email when their payment plan has been rebalanced.

Q: Why didn’t I get a refund?

A: If your account was not paid in full, the associated COVID-19 charge adjustments reduced the amount you owed to Purchase.

The majority of accounts were adjusted already but some accounts have to be reviewed more thoroughly due do scholarship and/or grant funding. Credit/refund information will be forthcoming.

Q: Are there any implications to my scholarships?

A: Scholarships applied to room and board and other fees that have been adjusted due to COVID-19 will also be prorated. As with applicable charges, which we are dividing the cost by day and issuing credits for 54 days of the semester based on the date of March 20 through the end of the semester on May 12 (this equals 48.21 percent of what was paid for certain fees). Students with scholarships that were applied to room and board and other fees will retain the percentage of their scholarship consistent with the portion of the semester they were fully billed for. Students with scholarships that were applied to tuition only will retain the full scholarship amount.

Q: Will my credit change my New York State Aid?

A: Based on guidance received by HESC and SUNY at this time, NYS Aid Programs for the spring 2020 term should not be substantially affected. NYS aid recipients disrupted by COVID-19 should notify the Registrar’s Office if they choose to drop a course or process a full withdrawal.

Q: Will my credit change my federal aid?

A: Federal aid for students who plan to continue their enrollment (online) for spring 2020 will not be impacted.

Additional questions?

Contact the following areas:


Q: Will students be given temporary loans for travel and/or other expenses?

A: Students who are encountering hardships should review the guidelines to apply for a Petrie Student Emergency Grant.

Q: Will exceptions be made if students are unable to return books to the book store and library?

A: All books have been automatically renewed. There are no penalties for late fees. The campus store is offering free shipping return labels and is also extending the non-return period for an additional 15 days without penalty to assist with increased returns by mail.