COVID-19 students FAQs
What will happen to my meal plan deposit if I am unable to use it by the end of the semester?
Unused meal deposits will be automatically transferred to the meal account of the student card for the Fall 2020 semester, with the exception of:
- graduating seniors*,
- visiting students (additional information will be provided to visiting students);
- students put on suspensions in the Fall 2020 semester, and
- students whose meal plan is fully subsidized by an external donor (e.g. ABF Roma scholarship recipients).
*Graduating seniors will have the option to either donate the funds from the unused meal deposit to AUBG or receive a refund. To provide a donation or request a refund, all graduating seniors should fill in and sign a written statement and send it to email@example.com no later than 15 May 2020. If we do not receive a written communication from you within an additional one month after the expiry of that deadline, the remainder of your fees will be irrevocably allocated to the AUBG Class of 2020 Scholarship Fund.
Students who are on a leave of absence in the Fall 2020 semester can transfer their meal deposits to the Spring 2021 semester. No transfers beyond Spring 2021 will be allowed.
For the avoidance of doubt, students will not be allowed to transfer any unused meal deposits to other students.
Will students who transfer their unused meal plan deposits from the Spring 2020 semester be required to pay an additional deposit of $150 before the start of the Fall 2020 semester?
Returning full-time students will be required to make a meal plan deposit of $150 before the start of the Fall 2020 semester. The payment deadline for the Fall 2020 semester is 10 August 2020.
Will AUBG provide a housing fee refund to the students who leave the residence halls prior to the end of the Spring 2020 semester?
Students who leave the campus on or before 20 March 2020 will be entitled to a partial housing fee refund for the Spring 2020 semester. Students who continue to live on campus after 20 March 2020 will not be entitled to a housing fee refund.
The partial housing fee refund will be calculated in the following manner:
The utilities coefficient (less than 1) reflects the fact that the costs for heating the residence halls are unevenly spread throughout the Spring 2020 semester and are significantly higher in the months of January, February and March than in the months of April and May. The utilities coefficient will be calculated by AUBG in May 2020 based on the actual residence halls heating costs for the Spring semester.
The partial housing fee refund will be deducted from future housing fees payables by the respective student in the following manner:
- Students with three or more semesters until graduation - 1/3rd of the partial housing fee refund will be deducted from the students’ housing fee in each of the following three semesters;
- Students with two semesters until graduation - 1/2nd of the partial housing fee refund will be deducted from the students’ housing fee in each of the following two semesters;
- Students with one semester until graduation- The entire partial housing fee refund will be deducted from the students’ housing fee in their last semester of study;
- Graduating seniors - Graduating seniors will have the option to either donate the housing fee to AUBG or receive a refund. To provide a donation or request a refund, all graduating seniors should fill in and sign a written statement and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 15 May 2020. If we do not receive any written communication from you within an additional term of one month after the expiry of that deadline, the remainder of your fees will be irrevocably allocated to the AUBG Class of 2020 Scholarship Fund.
Except for graduating seniors, no cash refunds will be provided. All cash refunds will be via bank transfers.
Students on leave of absence in the Fall 2020 semester, will be allowed to use their partial refund upon their return to the university, provided that they return to the university no later than the Spring 2021 semester.
Students whose housing fees are fully subsidized by an external donor, students put on suspension in the Fall 2020 semester, and RAs will not be entitled to housing fee refunds.
Additional information will be provided to visiting students.
Housing fee/coefficient explanation
- When calculating the housing fee, we introduced the utility coefficient because most of the utility expenses, and particularly those related to heating, are spent in the winter weeks. This is when our bills for utilities, heating and electricity are the highest. We are waiting to receive the utility bills for March in order to make a more precise and fairer estimate on the exact housing refund. Again, our intention is not to profit from this situation but to be fair to all parties. Students who returned to their homes will not pay utility fees for the time after March 20.
- We recognize the fact that some of you had to leave to your homes quickly and you weren’t able to take your belongings with you. We chose to keep your belongings in your room instead of moving them until the situation allows you to pick them up. As a result, many of the rooms in the residence halls are occupied and we weren’t able to accommodate the remaining students in just one residence hall. This is a more expensive solution, but we believe that it is one that most of you would prefer.
- For the students coming back, our proposal is to offset the remaining balance from future housing fees. You will not lose this amount and we will not use it for anything else. This will help reduce your costs for next year.
Will AUBG provide an activity fee refund if the student leaves campus prior to the end of the Spring 2020 semester?
AUBG charges student activity fees in order to finance several categories of operating expenses, including the activities of the Student Government and the student clubs, AUBG’s sports facilities, new student orientation, student travel expenses, and other student activities. Historically, all these expenses have amounted to approximately $540,000 per year, whereas the corresponding income from student activity fees has been slightly lower, around $520,000. So in a normal year, we expect to have a deficit of approximately $20,000 from these types of services. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s deficit will likely be bigger.
AUBG will not refund activity fees for the Spring 2020 semester and the reasons why can be summarized as follows:
- A significant portion of the expenses financed by the student activity fee are fixed. These include facilities maintenance costs, taxes, payroll expenses, depreciation costs and others. AUBG would incur these costs even if there were no students on campus, in order to maintain and improve our buildings, facilities, etc. Moreover, some of the activity costs have already been incurred by AUBG (e.g. new student orientation costs), so we no longer have the resources to reimburse them.
- The portion of the student activity costs that is not fixed (e.g. variable costs) is relatively small. It includes, among others, the expenses related to student travel (the remaining budget here is approximately $15,500 as of January 2020). These expenses will not be refunded because the COVID-19 situation forced us to make some unplanned spending. This is necessary to enhance the health & safety on campus and to ensure that our IT infrastructure and software can cope with the increase demand for online-based solutions. Our OCC staff are working around the clock to ensure that our IT systems can withstand the increased traffic. We still have some 90 students remaining on campus whose health and safety remains our top priority. None of these additional costs have been budgeted for and we will need to use the remaining funds from the travel budget and other minor variable costs to finance the unforeseen expenditures.
I am a visiting student at AUBG. Will I receive a refund of my housing fees, meal deposits, etc. from the university?
Refund requests from visiting students will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Each visiting student will be contacted separately and in due course. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please reach out to Mariya Handzhiyska at email@example.com.
What will be the impact of online instructions to students whose tuition and fees are paid with GI Bill benefits?
Additional information will be provided as soon as available.
What will be the impact of online instructions to students whose tuition and fees are paid with Federal Direct Loans?
Additional information will be provided as soon as available.
Will the students who will be returning to campus in the Fall 2020 semester be required to pay the non-refundable housing deposit of $150 prior to the upcoming room selection?
In response to the current situation, we have made some changes to the course and room registration process for your convenience
The registration for Fall ’20 starts on April 6, as scheduled. Normally all students must cover outstanding balances on their accounts (including a $150 housing deposit for those living on campus) before that date in order to be able to register courses and select rooms in the dorms. To accommodate your needs, we introduce the following changes:
- We will extend the deadline to May 15 and will allow you to preregister for fall classes and room selection before paying the deposit, and registrations and room selections will remain in effect through that deadline.
- The deadline for taking a leave of absence has been extended to May 29. If a student requests a leave of absence before this deadline, we will refund the $150 deposit. If a student requests a leave of absence after May 29, the deposit will not be refunded.
How can I pay my outstanding liabilities to AUBG so that I will be able to register course for the Fall 2020 semester, select a room in the dormitories and request official documents to be released?
Students should make all payments to AUBG via electronic bank transfers. All bank transfers should be sent to the university’s bank accounts. When making bank transfers, please include your student ID number and state the reason for making the payment. Students can also pay via debit/credit cards through the university’s website (please specify student ID and reasons for the payment). Cash payments will not be accepted.
How can graduating seniors receive a refund?
Refunds will be paid electronically to a bank account specified by the student. For any questions, please contact Daniela Kovacheva (Daniela@aubg.edu). No cash refunds will be provided until further notice.
How can students reimburse expenses related to student clubs’ activities?
AUBG will reimburse to students all expenses they personally incurred related to student activities. Students have to fill in an expense claim form and have it approved by the respective budget manager (the approval can be provided via email). In the expense claim form the students should specify the bank account to which the expenses shall be reimbursed (IBAN, bank and your name).
Students should email the approved expenses claim forms and scanned copies of all primary documents (invoices, receipts, etc.) to the Accounting Office (Dessislava Slavcheva, firstname.lastname@example.org). The original invoices, receipts, travel tickets, etc. should be mailed to the Accounting Office (please include a copy of the expense claim form) as soon as practical. Please note that the refund cannot be processed before the original documents have been received.
Will AUBG allow rolling over unused student club budgets to the next semester/year?
AUBG will transfer any unused portion of the current year’s Student Government (SG) budget to the next academic year. Thus, if at the end of this financial year, the unused portion of the SG budget is, for example, $10,000, these funds will be automatically added on top of the budget that the SG will normally receive, so students will have access to these funds in the following academic year. Student Government will be in charge of allocating these fees according to their normal processes. Clubs that are planning events in September should discuss these separately with Dean of Students Lydia Krise.
By which date can students return leased textbooks to the bookstore?
Students will be expected to return all leased textbooks to the bookstore no later than 30 May 2020. The textbooks can be either returned in person or via couriers. In a limited number of cases, AUBG may accept textbooks after this deadline but no later than 1 September 2020. No returns will be accepted after 1 September 2020 and the student account will be charged with the full price of the textbook. Graduating seniors must return all leased textbooks (or pay their full price) in order to receive their diplomas.
Can I still buy an e-book code or textbook from the Bookstore if needed?
Student can purchase e-book codes and paper textbooks from the bookstore by sending an email to email@example.com. The following e-books are currently available:
BUS330 Corporate Finance I
PSY101 Intro to Psychology
PSY203 Personality Psychology
Paper textbooks could be shipped within Bulgaria at the expense of the student.
The students are required to pay for any textbooks in advance, via a bank transfer or through AUBG’s website in advance. When making the payment please state your name, ID number and the reason for the payment.
Will AUBG offer pass/fail classes?
Out of consideration for the stresses that students have been facing with the shift to online classes, we have decided to let them choose to designate any course as pass/fail for the spring 2020 semester, including courses satisfying their major or general education requirements. Students may convert as many of their spring 2020 courses to pass/fail as they choose. Courses taken on a pass/fail basis during spring 2020 do not count against the total number of courses that a student may take as pass/fail according to AUBG policy. Senior theses, senior projects, and capstone projects cannot be converted to pass/fail if students want to substitute these for the state exam.
If a student convert a course to pass/fail, then a final grade of C- or higher will result in a “P” and a final grade of D+ or lower will result in a “U.” A “P” does not count towards the computation of student’s GPA.
Students have until 5 pm on Friday, 10 April, to convert a course to pass/fall. No course can be converted to pass/fail after this deadline. To convert a course to pass/fail, students should complete this form and send it to the Registrar’s Office.
Preregistration takes place during the week beginning on 6 April. The registration site will be available off-campus from 8 am on Monday, 30 March. Preregistration will take place exactly as it has in previous semesters.
Will pass/fail option affect my academic performance?
AUBG is giving students the option of having a letter affixed to their official transcript explaining that their academic performance this semester may have been affected by the coronavirus. This letter will be a reminder to graduate programs and employers that this semester was not a regular semester for students. This option will be available for paper transcripts and e-transcripts. Students do not have to have this letter attached. It is up to them. The Registrar’s Office will give students the option of attaching this letter when they request an official transcript.
Will graduating seniors have to pay a graduation fee if the graduation ceremony is postponed or cancelled?
Graduating seniors will be required to pay a graduation fee of $50, which will partially cover AUBG’s costs for preparing and mailing the diplomas as well as all the expenses related to the commencement ceremony (if it takes place later in the year). We ask you to pay the $50 fee for several reasons:
- The graduation fee is $50 and it covers only 20% of our budget for the Commencement Ceremony. The production of the diploma together with the leather folders costs about $25.
- The production of the caps and the tassels which graduating students will receive regardless of whether there is a ceremony costs $13.
- We have to mail the diplomas, tassels, and caps to students not only in Bulgaria but also worldwide. You raised concerns that the shipping costs we ask you to cover are too high. The shipping cost might seem high but this is due to the fact that we have to use reliable couriers to make sure that you receive your diploma.
Because of the dynamically changing situation, we cannot say this with certainty, but it is our intention to have a graduation ceremony in the fall if the situation with COVID-19 is resolved by then. If the circumstances allow it, our aim is to organize the Commencement Ceremony in conjunction with the Fall Board meeting. This is the university’s most important ceremony and ideally the trustees would be here as usual because they are the ones who vote to confer the degrees.