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Commuter rail subsidy program to begin next semester

Students may request reimbursement from the university for educational trips to and from Boston starting next semester thanks to a new program funded by the Student Union and Campus Operations.

The program—which will apply to full time undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at Brandeis—will cover the cost of trips occurring outside the normal hours of the Brandeis Boston Shuttle for various academic or educational purposes.

The program broadly defines what trips will qualify and includes travel to get to internships, visit libraries for specific research purposes, explore exhibits or historical sites associated with classes, visit museums and attend artistic events such as plays and concerts.

It will not reimburse students traveling for purposes such as attending a party, going on a date, visiting friends and family or getting to the airport or South Station for further travel.

The subsidy project came to fruition after attempts were made in past years to establish a shuttle which would carry students to Riverside Station. The so-called Riverside shuttle, however, “never really went well” and “wasn’t really worth the money,” according to Student Union President Hannah Brown ’19, who worked with administrators to establish the new commuter rail subsidy program.

“There is less of an opportunity for waste” with the commuter rail subsidy program than with the Riverside shuttle, Brown said. “It’s reimbursed when it’s used, so it’s better than having an empty shuttle running around all day.”

The program will run a trial period through the entirety of the next academic year with a $20,000 budget. If it begins to reach its budget before the end of the year, the Union and administrators will meet to discuss options, according to Student Union section of the Brandeis website.

Reimbursements will be administered through the Hiatt Career Center. Students seeking reimbursement will fill out a request on the Hiatt website and attach the train ticket and the ticket to any event which was the purpose of the trip. Reimbursements will be processed approximately three times a semester and those who submitted qualifying requests will receive a check mailed to their mailing address of record.

Only the round trip cost of the commuter rail will be subsidized and any additional costs will be the student’s responsibility.

The Hiatt staff will reserve the right to ask for more detail and may seek the corroboration of faculty or staff if a student seeks reimbursement for academic purposes that cannot be independently verified by Hiatt.

The effectiveness and costs of the program will be evaluated at the end of the academic year.

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