Tressel Announces Fee Refund, Suggests August Commencement

YOUNGSTOWN – Jim Tressel, president of Youngstown State University, and Brien Smith, provost, today answered student questions about issues related to changes at the school caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Refunds, graduation, summer and fall registration, freshman orientation and other topics were addressed in an hourlong streaming address on YSU’s Facebook and Youtube pages.

Tressel made it clear that students will be receiving  refunds for lab, recreation center and other fees, room and board, parking and other expenses, prorated to the campus closing. The school has been closed to classes since March 23, when an extended spring break came to an end.

“By the first week of April, all students will have a check added to your account for the COVID-19 refunding of fees,” Tressel said.

Smith noted that the deadlines for students to make payments will be extended on a case-by-case basis.

“We know it’s a tough time from a financial standpoint,” Tressel said.

The university moved all of its courses – well over 2,000 – online in 13 days when the campus was closed. “It was amazing work and I cannot say enough about our IT department,” Tressel said. “Before [COVID-19], 10% of our classes were online. Now it’s 100%.”

Smith pointed out that all student services remain available and a plan is in the works to create virtual internships.

Students can find information online at the Center for Student Progress page at YSU.edu.

Plans for the graduation ceremony are uncertain, but the event will be postponed to a later date, Tressel said. “We will have more information soon,” he said, assuring that degrees will be conferred on May 9 and transcript services will be continued.

“Maybe in August, when we’ve defeated the virus, we will have a grand celebration at Stambaugh Stadium, a combination of Federal Frenzy, Welcome Week and a football game,” Tressel said. “I can imagine a heck of a celebration that every faculty member, staff member and student will deserve.”

Summer and fall class registration will continue as planned in early April, said Smith. A virtual orientation program for incoming freshmen is being planned, in case it’s necessary, Smith said.

Tressel noted that the university’s Wick Clinic, operated by Mercy Health, is currently being used as a flu clinic for the school and the greater community.

He also praised Dr. Amy Acton for her leadership as director of the Ohio Department of Health during the coronavirus crisis.

Dr. Acton is a Youngstown native and a graduate of YSU and Northeast Ohio Universities College of Medicine, now known as Northeast Ohio Medical University.

“She’s been like a rock star,” he said, and has been able to teach us why we need to practice social distancing and other preventive measures. 

“She’s done an unbelievable job helping us understand why these 15 days are critical,” Tressel said.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.