To help remove financial obstacles for students, Old Dominion University will clear all unpaid balances they incurred in the spring 2021 semester. To do so, ODU will use funds it received under the federal CARES Act after all federal, state and private resources are applied to students' balances.

Donald Stansberry, vice president for student engagement and enrollment services, said the policy will help students stay on the path toward graduation. He noted that ODU students with outstanding balances are not able to register for classes in the fall. In addition, those with debt who complete their degree requirements cannot receive their diplomas.

"Old Dominion is committed to helping our students reach their academic potential," Stansberry said. "At a time when many families are facing financial stress because of the pandemic, these CARES Act funds will help eliminate significant roadblocks so students can continue on their academic journeys."

In addition, he said, "This one-time assistance aligns with our objective to promote social mobility, benefiting not just our graduates but future generations."

The new policy applies only to debt for the spring 2021 semester and does not cover loans owed to outside lenders.

Students should read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below for details. Further questions should be emailed to

FAQs on Forgiving Debt during the Pandemic

Q. Who is eligible to have an outstanding balance forgiven by the University?

A. All students enrolled in the spring, 2021 semester regardless of Title IV eligibility. This includes non-degree, noncredit, undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, continuing education, and undocumented/international students.

Q. What fees are eligible for the balance reduction?

A. Any outstanding balance that is on your student account is eligible for the balance reduction.

Q. What will I receive from the University to indicate that my balance has been forgiven?

A. Students whose balances are forgiven will receive an email indicating their remaining debt was forgiven with a remaining balance of "0" for the indicated term and can review their balance on their ODU student portal. The changes should be visible in the student's account.

Q. Are students eligible to have their balances paid off for future terms and semesters?

A. No. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) are not available to pay off balances for future terms. You must ensure that all balances going forward are paid in full by personal funds, approved financial aid, third-party agencies or payment plan.

Q. If I have a hold on transcripts or diploma due to a balance owed, can I receive my official records?

A. Yes. Students enrolled at the University during spring 2021 can obtain official records unless they have a hold from any remaining balance for other terms. Any transcript fees and related charges still apply.

Q. If I have an enrollment or registration hold, can I register for the upcoming fall 2021 semester?

A. Yes. Students enrolled at the University in spring 2021 will have the hold lifted and will be able to register for fall classes, unless they have a balance due for semesters other than spring 2021. Note that other existing enrollment holds, such as the degree plan/advising hold, still must be managed before registering.

Q. Will the HEER Funds pay off any loan debt that my family or I incurred for this impacted period?

A. No. HEERF Funds will not pay off any personal loan debt incurred for the impacted period.

Q. Whom should I contact if I have questions about my billing charges related to forgiveness of my debt?

A. Contact the Office of Student Accounts, email

Q. Whom should I contact if I have questions regarding financial aid?

A. Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid, email

Q. Whom should I contact if I have questions regarding living on campus?

A. Contact the Office of Housing and Residence Life, email

Q. Whom should I contact if I have questions regarding advising and classes?

A. Contact Advising, email

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