Dear members of the Class of 2021,
I hope you are doing well as you consider your plans for the fall semester. I also want to take this time to draw your attention to information and resources that may be helpful.
The university will host several webinars and town halls before the start of the fall semester. Several of you have asked me about testing, and a webinar is scheduled to address your questions and concerns on Thursday, July 23rd (see details below). A webinar for the arts at Wesleyan is scheduled for today, July 22nd at 2:00pm, EST.
Thursday, July 23, 2020
You may find a complete list of the webinars on the Town Halls/Webinars page of the Reactivating Campus website.
Prof. Kolcio announced a new course that may be of interest as you contemplate modifications to your Fall 2020 schedule.
“CSPL/CGST480 ENGAGED PROJECTS is a 1-credit course in which students design a semester-long project around a topic of their choice that engages the broader public. EPs respond to this critical moment in history by empowering students to connect their academic pursuits to what is happening in the world around them; they deepen student learning and self-reflection, ease the undeniable challenges of online and hybrid learning, and introduce students to their own agency and positionality in society.”
GRADING MODES FOR FALL 2020
Students have asked me about grading modes and whether the full range of grading options will be available for their courses this fall. Currently, grading modes for courses are not based upon the format(s) in which they are offered and they are up to the discretion of each instructor. Some courses are still letter graded only, credit/no credit only (CR/U), or students have the option to choose between the two by the posted deadline (i.e. student option). It’s my understanding that the deadline to choose a mode (with the student option) will not be the end of classes as it was for the spring, but the change of grading mode deadline, which is usually two weeks after the end of the drop/add period.
I do know there are ongoing conversations within our division of Academic Affairs about grading modes for the fall, but I have not been apprised of any modifications to the policy as of now. Additionally, changes will most likely still be up to the discretion of instructors, but there is a push to encourage them to offer letter grading and the CR/U option to students. Unfortunately, this does not guarantee that each instructor will adopt the full range of grading options for each course. More definitive details are forthcoming.
LEAVES OF ABSENCE VS. DEFERRALS
This is a quick reminder that returning students (i.e. sophomores, juniors, and seniors) are not eligible for deferrals as the university currently defines them. Incoming first-year students may request deferrals for their enrollment at Wesleyan. Returning students may request leaves of absence. This may seem like the university is splitting hairs, but clarifying the terminology will help minimize confusion, especially as it relates to how we process these requests.
Returning students may request to take a leave of absence (which effectively terminates course registration and housing assignments) by August 30th to avoid prorated charges for the Fall 2020 semester; these charges (i.e. tuition, room, board, fees) commence on August 31st. Requests to take a leave of absence are not official unless you submit them through the appropriate form in WesPortal. F-1 visa holders should also consult with my colleagues in the Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) if you plan to take a leave of absence to discuss the potential impact on your visa status, eligibility for CPT/OPT, etc.
Students may access more information about taking a leave of absence here.
BILLING QUESTIONS & FINANCIAL AID
Admissions, Financial Aid, and Student Accounts offered a joint webinar earlier this week to discuss questions that students and their families have about financial aid packages, costs for the Fall 2020 semester (and beyond), and financial aid. I’ve also fielded questions about billing, costs, and financial aid packages, and I will do my best to provide support where I can to help you address your concerns. However, I’m limited in how (and if) I can address specific questions about billing and financial aid packaging for any given semester. I don’t have access to information on each student’s account (e.g. balances, credits), and I can’t confirm whether a student will receive a material refund given their financial aid packaging for this academic year. The last thing I want to do is create or add to any confusion, and it’s important that I defer to my colleagues in the appropriate finance units to work with you to resolve issues/concerns in these areas.
Alyssa Corvi is the Financial Aid liaison for the Class of 2021 and can assist you in answering specific questions about your aid. However, I encourage you to allow at least a couple of business days for her to respond as the volume of inquiries has increased dramatically since the end of last semester.
I’ve also received specific questions about billing and the Residential Comprehensive Fee (RCF), and the information provided by my colleague in Student Accounts may offer more clarity:
Residential Comprehensive Fee
- On-Campus (…the full RCF will be charged whether your courses are in-person, online or a hybrid.)
- Off campus/Commuter (…if approved [by Res Life] to be off-campus, a 60% credit will be applied to your student account for the housing portion of the RCF. A request for a meal plan exemption must be submitted to Michelle Myers-Brown in dining services.
- Remote (…fully remote, from home, no on-campus services utilized, no RCF charges)
Questions about your bill can be addressed to Student Accounts, but I encourage you to check your student account online for updates before any outreach. As Student Accounts and Financial Aid learn of official changes in the statuses of student plans (e.g. transitions to remote learning or off-campus status; leaves of absence), accounts will be adjusted accordingly. It could take 3-5 business days from the time a student submits a request to change their status for their account/financial aid package to reflect the change. I know this entire process can be stressful and frustrating, but I encourage you to be patient and to keep checking your student account online for updates.
My apologies for the length of this email, but hopefully, the information provided above is helpful. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Wishing you and your families good health,