Fee Refunds and Waivers


This policy summarizes procedures and types of fee refunds and waivers.

Policy document: 


I. Policy

The College’s policy is not to refund or waive a fee unless a procedural error occurs or there are special extenuating circumstances involved.  A procedural error is a mistake made by a staff member or department that resulted in fees being posted inappropriately.  Special extenuating circumstances may include financial hardships, loss of job, family emergency, death in family, severe medical condition, etc., or other instances beyond a student’s control which preclude payment. The Division of Business & Finance, as the President’s designee, is responsible for final approval of any fee waiver or refund request in consultation with the department responsible for administering the fee. This policy pertains to all students, part-time or full-time. 

II. Procedures

A. Refund: To obtain a refund of a fee, a student must officially drop or withdraw from a course and specifically request a refund. Contact the Office of the Registrar and refer to the Class Refund Schedule for details.  Non-attendance of classes does not classify as an official withdrawal, and does not relieve the student of his or her financial obligation or entitle the student to a refund. The academic deadline to withdraw is not related to or used in determining financial liability. 

Students considering withdrawing are advised to consult with an advisor in the Office of Financial Aid. Due to strict federal regulations governing the use and distribution of Title IV financial aid, aid recipients will jeopardize their current eligibility if withdrawal from the college takes place before completing 60% of the semester. Students dismissed for disciplinary or academic reasons prior to the end of an academic semester are liable for all tuition, fees, room and board for that semester.

B. Waiver: If a student seeks to waive a fee, they should first contact the administrative department or office responsible for administering the fee. A written request must be prepared by the student explaining the extraordinary reasons for the waiver request. 

Detailed documentation supporting the request must also be provided. The administering department will then review the request with the student and forward it to the Division of Business & Finance with a recommendation to accept or reject the waiver request. The final decision to approve a waiver is based on the merits of each request and will be communicated by the Division of Business & Finance to the administering department and the student.

III. Types of Refunds and Waivers

A. Fees: SUNY’s Board of Trustees has the authority to regulate all fees at state-operated campuses. The Board has delegated authority related to certain fees to the Chancellor or Campus President.  Broad based, course based and mandatory fees require approval of the Chancellor or Designee. Campus authorized fees require approval of the President or the President’s Designee.

1. Broad based fees are generally charged on a pro rata basis to all enrolled students to finance discrete activities that are part of the core operating mission of the campus and benefit the greater student body, (not necessarily the individual). These presently consist of the College fee, Intercollegiate Athletic fee, Transportation fee, Technology fee, and Student Health fee. SUNY requires campuses to establish Broad based fees refund and waiver policies which address part-time, non-traditional, on-line and off-site students fairly, including winter and summer sessions. These policies differ from Old Westbury’s general policy and procedures outlined in Sections I and II above.

a. Winter and Summer 

Broad-based fees are charged on a part-time/per credit basis. Students may be exempted from these fees, with the exception of the Technology fee, if a waiver is properly completed and timely submitted.

b. Offsite Students 

Students participating in a Study-abroad Program or other Old Westbury instructed academic program not conducted on campus for a full semester and are not taking any on campus courses in that particular semester may request a waiver of the Intercollegiate Athletic, Health Service and Transportation Fees.

c. Online Students

Students enrolled in online courses only in a particular semester, who reside more than 40 miles from campus, and are not resident students at Old Westbury may request a waiver of the Intercollegiate Athletic, Health Service and Transportation Fees.

Unlike the general procedures in Section II, waivers must be submitted to the Bursar’s Office on the Fee Waiver Request Form within two weeks of the beginning of the semester for which the waiver is being requested. Supporting documentation may be required as part of the Bursar’s review. Appeals and final decisions will be handled through the Office of the Senior Vice President for the Division of Business & Finance. 

2. Other Fees

Course-based fees are costs associated with providing a specific course (lab fee, visual arts fee, equestrian fee, etc.). Mandatory fees include student activity fee (per referendum), admission application, late registration, drop/add, transcript, course auditor, etc.  Campus authorized fees include a host of charges such as residential hall room rates, advance room and damage deposits, meal plans, identification card fees, orientation fees, vehicle registration fees, parking fines, orientation, library fees and fines, etc.

Refer to SUNY Policy “Fees, Rentals and Other Charges - Document Number:7804” for specifics regarding fees.  See https://www.oldwestbury.edu/bursar/tuition for a complete list of Old Westbury’s Tuition and Fees. 

B. Room Charges: All students living in residence halls seeking refund of housing charges must comply with the terms and conditions of the Residence Hall License Agreement which can be found in the Office of Residential Life Campus Housing Policies. Room refunds after occupancy are based on the date occupancy is acceptably terminated (determined by the Office of Residential Life). A student who withdraws from the residence halls at any time prior to six weeks of the semester is liable for room and meal charges prorated based upon the week of termination. A student who withdraws after first six weeks of the semester is liable for the full semester’s rent. The Housing License Agreement is binding for the entire Academic Year. 

C. Meal Plan: All residential students are required to have a meal plan when residing on campus. Only students who have officially withdrawn from the residence halls will be entitled to a meal plan refund. Meals eaten during a portion of a week shall be considered as having been eaten for a full week. There shall be no refund for less than a week. A request for refund or waiver of a meal plan will not be granted unless for religious or dietary reasons supported by appropriate documentation. The student must first consult with the College’s Food Service’s management to see if alternative food plans are available. Food Service’s management will advise the Division of Business & Finance and a final decision to reject or approve will be made. Approved refunds are based on the refund rates listed in the table below.

Approved Housing and Meal Plan Refund Schedule


Percentage Returned













Remaining Weeks


D. Veteran’s Exemption: Any veteran attending SUNY Old Westbury who served in the armed forces of the United States in time of war shall be exempt from vehicle registration and parking fees. The veteran must submit a written request for exemption together with written certification that such veteran was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from service. The request, along with the required supporting documentation, should be presented in person to the Division of Business & Finance or mailed to:

SUNY Old Westbury

Division of Business & Finance

P.O. Box 210

Old Westbury, NY 11568

Attn: Associate Vice President & Controller

IV. Other Refund and Waiver information

A. Un-Cashed Refund Checks: Funds for refund checks that are un-cashed after one year are turned over to the State of New York as unclaimed funds. Once turned over, an owner would need to contact the Office of the State Comptroller, Office of Unclaimed Funds 110 State Street Albany, NY 12236; the phone number is 800-221-9311. The college notifies students of un-cashed checks before the year is ended, so it is important to keep your address and contact information current with the college’s Registrar.

B. Refunds from Overpayments and Financial Aid: Refunds are done based on the information we have on the date the refund is processed. Billed college charges are deducted from payments and credits first before the refund is processed. Refunds occurring from credit card payments are generally returned to the credit card used for payment and parent loans are generally returned to the parent borrower. Changes to account charges or financial aid may occur after this date. These changes are the student’s responsibility to pay or follow up with the Office of Financial Aid. 

C. Financial Aid Ineligibility Waiver: Students who have lost eligibility for state financial aid for failure to meet pursuit or progress standards may request a waiver. Waiver applications will be considered by the Office of Academic Affairs if the student can provide adequate reasons for not having met minimum standards. Waiver applications are available in the Office of Financial Aid. Completed applications must be accompanied by appropriate documentation, e.g., medical records, letters from community agencies or College officials.

D. Course Auditors Fee: Individuals authorized to attend courses as auditors are not to be charged tuition for such courses. However a registration fee may be charged as well as any penalty fees (i.e., late registration, library fines). The registration fee may be waived by the Campus President or the President's Designee, in cases where the charge will exert an extreme hardship on the individual. Authorization for waiver of the registration fee should be in writing and signed by the Campus President or President's Designee. Refer to SUNY Policy “Waiver - Tuition for Course Auditors Document Number:7816” for additional information.

E. Unusual Circumstances: Due to an unanticipated, significant event declared by the President or designee which causes a disruption in the provision of a fee-based service or product, the College may, depending on the nature or severity of the event, either reduce or waive a fee in its entirety.

V. References: 

  1. SUNY Policy Title: Fees, Rentals and Other Charges - Document Number:7804
  2. SUNY Policy Title: Waiver - Tuition for Course Auditors - Document Number:7816
  3. College at Old Westbury: Office of Residential Life Campus Housing Policies

VI. Review and Approval

This policy was prepared by the Division of Business & Finance and reviewed by the Offices of Bursar, Financial Aid, Residential Life and the Registrar prior to final approval by the President on 4/2/2018. Amended: 6/4/2019 and 7/13/2020.