The Implications of a Buy-Out Option


Peter Canova-

At the end of the fall semester Nick Dickerson, a senior at Fitchburg State, attempted to end his housing agreement for the Spring 2021 semester. With COVID-19 worries, Dickerson had planned to leave campus and do his school work elsewhere, however he ran into some issues. Dickerson stated that, “If you didn’t want to come back, you had to pay this cancellation fee and I thought that was kind of ridiculous”. 

Normally, something called a” buy-out” is put in place if a student requests to leave housing before the beginning of the next semester. Currently, there is no policy enacted by the school to relieve students from this payment who feel they need to leave campus for safety concerns. 

The school housing agreement states that the “buy-out” consists of, “paying 35% of room charges and board charges for the subsequent semester.” The document also states that,  “All buy-outs must be filed by the published deadline and paid in full.” 

Joseph Haskins, a Junior at Fitchburg State also ran into issues in terms of the “buy-out” within the housing agreement. Haskins stated that, “Last semester I found out I only had one in-person (class)” so Haskins decided to leave on campus housing. However, Haskins “missed the part where there was a buyout fee”. 

Haskins explained that, “If I were to stay off campus, I would have lost an on campus housing grant… it was best that I stay on campus this semester”. It would have been financially impractical for Haskins to leave campus, rather than being safe at home during a pandemic.

The Point reached out to the Housing office, and Director Christopher Medley stated that, “The 35% payment is always due before the Buy-Out can be finalized.  We work with residents on how to handle the 35% Buy-Out fee including coordinating appropriate communication with campus partners, i.e. Financial Aid and Student Accounts when needed”. 

Both Haskins and Dickerson noted that this 35% charge on both room and board is too expensive to afford, and would be a waste of money. Dickerson noted that, “I didn’t know how I was going to be able to pay that fee”. Two students were put in a dangerous position because the schools policies made it financially difficult to back out of their housing agreement.