UHD charges $1,472 for emergency student housing amid COVID-19 outbreak

Nataleah Small

Editor’s note: This story is part of The Daily Texan’s coverage of how coronavirus concerns are affecting UT-Austin. Read the rest of our coverage here.

Students who are approved for emergency housing will pay $1,472 to live on campus from March 30 through May 20, according to a letter from University Housing and Dining.

All housing and dining contracts for the 2019-2020 school year ended on March 21, said Justin Jaskowiak, director for apartments, occupancy and conferences at UHD. Students who had housing and dining contracts with the University will receive a prorated credit to their student account based on their room type.

“That is regardless of whether they’re going to get emergency housing or not,” Jaskowiak said. “So students who lived with us that are in emergency housing will still get that credit, that will go to their account and then they will have a separate contract that is for emergency housing.”

Students who are approved for emergency housing will sign a new contract with the University and can use their prorated credit to help pay for the emergency housing cost, Jaskowiak said. He said the rate for emergency housing is lower than any of the current housing rates offered by the University.

“The basic services will be there, of course, utilities, security and things like that, but the items that really make our communities something that students choose to live in during the academic year, the social elements, the learning outside of the classroom, the ways to build community, that obviously will not be as much of a part of the program,” Jaskowiak said.

According to the letter from UHD, desk services will be limited, lounges will be closed, equipment checkout will be unavailable and guests will not be permitted.

Jaskowiak said students will be housed in San Jacinto Residence Hall. Students will have their own bathroom and will not have roommates, he said.

“It’s really important for one student to be in a room based on the guidelines that are currently out there from CDC,” Jaskowiak said. “The main message to students is the best place for you to go is away from campus, and so I don’t anticipate a situation where space is going to be a concern because primarily, students are being instructed to return home or return to another location that isn’t campus.”

The cost of emergency housing includes $200 in Bevo Pay, which can be used at Cypress Bend Cafe and off-campus locations that accept Bevo Pay, according to the letter.

“University Housing and Dining will be providing limited food options on campus,” Jaskowiak said. “Because of that, we wanted to ensure students had flexibility in their food options by being able to purchase food off campus, which is what Bevo Pay allows.”

Jaskowiak said he does not anticipate the $200 in Bevo Pay will cover all dining expenses, but students can add funds to their Bevo Pay if they only want to purchase food on campus.

The cost of housing and dining is packaged together to ensure that UHD provides food for students, Jaskowiak said. Students can choose how much of it they want to use because Bevo Pay works like money.

“Bevo Pay isn’t Dine In Dollars. It is something that students who do not use their Bevo Pay could find a way to get that (money) returned to them,” Jaskowiak said.

Students have until March 30 to apply for emergency housing but are not required to pay their emergency housing bill in full until May 2.

The payment deadline was scheduled after the class registration period so students will not be placed in a difficult financial situation. Jaskowiak said students with concerns about their finances should contact Student Emergency Services.