Fall 2020 FAQs

NOTE: We are continuously updating this and other Student Affairs informational websites as Fall 2020 details become available. Please continue to visit this site, and remember to pay attention to campus email communications with important information.
Last updated June 26, 2020

 

  1. Will fall classes be held in-person or via remote instruction?

  2. Will the fall semester be canceled?

  3. Has a decision about fall semester been made?

  4. Will I still have to pay for tuition or student fees if I’m not physically on campus?

  5. Will orientation still be held?

  6. If fall classes are offered via remote instruction, should I live in Berkeley?

  7. If classes are via remote instruction again, will they be P/NP?

  8. How can I tell which classes will be taught in person? When will the schedule of classes be updated to reflect in remote and in-person offerings?

  9. Can I enroll as a full time student even if I am not comfortable coming to campus?

  10. Where can I find more information about instruction?

  11. What will the Spring 2021 semester look like?

  12. Can I live on campus this fall?

  13. Will I be able to live on campus in Spring 2021?

  14. How can I stay connected and/or get engaged at UC Berkeley?

  15. Will every in-person class be required to offer a remote option?

  16. Am I guaranteed to have at least one in-person class?

  17. Will I still be eligible for financial aid if I live with my family?

 


 

Will fall classes be held in-person or via remote instruction?

It is our intention to conduct some in-person classes this fall for those students who wish to come to campus. The in-person classes will be restricted to a limited number of people, as dictated by factors including local public health guidance and our own building density guidelines.

Students will not be required to take in-person classes or be present on campus for the smaller discussion sections; almost all academic offerings will be provided via a remotely delivered method. Instruction in large courses will be offered by remote means. However, large-course discussion sections or other activities may be offered in person. We are in the process of determining which courses will have an in-person option this fall and will have our course schedule available in July. 

Finally, to reduce COVID-19 exposure that could come about as a result of students traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, all in-person instruction (as well as final exams) will be delivered remotely after Thanksgiving.

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Will the fall semester be canceled?

We will not cancel the fall semester. You may see fuller details in this FAQ, below

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Has a decision about fall semester been made?

As you may have seen from the recent emails (here and here) from UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ, recent important decisions have been made, including that we will be welcoming a limited number of students to campus this fall to live in our residence halls, and that there will be limited in-person instruction. As a reminder, please continue to check your Berkeley email as you will continue to receive further important updates as we approach the fall semester. It is also important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic is an ever-changing matter, and may require changes to our current plans based upon the latest guidance from public health officials. Your safety and well-being are of paramount importance.

Instruction and Courses: It is our intention to conduct some in-person classes this fall for those students who wish to come to campus. The in-person classes will be restricted to a limited number of people, as dictated by factors including local public health guidance and our own building density guidelines. Students will not be required to take in-person classes or be present on campus for the smaller discussion sections; almost all academic offerings will be provided via a remotely delivered method. Instruction in large courses will be offered by remote means. However, large-course discussion sections or other activities may be offered in person. We are in the process of determining which courses will have an in-person option this fall and will have our course schedule available in July. Finally, to reduce COVID-19 exposure that could come about as a result of students traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, all in-person instruction (as well as final exams) will be delivered remotely after Thanksgiving.

Cal Housing: On-campus housing will be provided at a lower population density to a limited number of students, with some rooms set aside for quarantine or isolation (for use if required).

What will be open/operating:​

  • We plan to house up to 6,500 students in our on-campus housing (but note, no living arrangements larger than two people per room in our residence halls to prevent the transmission of COVID-19).

  • We will stagger student arrival to residence halls beginning in early August to avoid the typical high-density move-in experience.

  • We will reserve space in one of our housing complexes for quarantine and isolation purposes.

  • Students returning to residence halls will be likely required to undergo COVID-19 testing immediately prior to returning to campus and/or upon arrival to campus, and they will be expected to isolate for 7-10 days after arriving on campus.

In the event of cancellations: Unless ordered otherwise by the public health officials, we presently intend to keep the residential halls and apartments open as they are the primary residence for many students. If you do choose to live in University housing, we will allow students the opportunity  to cancel their housing contracts and be relieved of the financial obligations of their housing and applicable dining contracts and receive a prorated refund if the campus doesn’t resume in-person instruction during the 2020-2021 academic year, or begins in-person instruction but then later ends in-person instruction for an extended period of time (for example, in-person instruction is cancelled for more than 30 consecutive instructional days). 

  • If in-person instruction resumes in August or September, then we will not offer relief from contract obligations based upon the discontinuation of in-person instruction during the period between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. 

  • You will not be offered relief from your Spring housing contract obligations based upon periods that in-person instruction will not be offered, that are announced during the Fall semester.  

  • You will not be relieved of your contract obligations based upon your not being able to successfully register for any of the limited in-person instructional courses that will be offered.  

  • Contracts will otherwise run in full and only those cancellation requests that follow our standard process will be considered. 

Housing applicants - important note: You must complete the 2020-21 Housing Application Addendum Form by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24 to indicate whether you still would like to receive a housing offer. Each applicant should have already received their own unique link in an email from Cal Housing. Given the challenges associated with this year’s housing process, late responses will not be accepted. If you complete the form by the deadline, you are not guaranteed to receive a housing offer, but we will notify you by mid-July whether you are receiving a housing offer. If you receive a housing offer, you will have approximately five to seven days to accept the offer. 

Freshmen and new undergraduates transfer students:

  • These students are welcome to apply for our on-campus residence halls in single and double rooms (but note, no living arrangements larger than two people to prevent the transmission of COVID-19).

  • However, note that our ability to house all students this fall will be limited, and some students may need to explore alternatives (which our team can assist with).

  • Live Remotely: We are empowering students to choose what works best for them, including continuing to live and study remotely. We recognize that studying remotely may not be desirable or possible for all students, but it may be the most desirable option to stay living away from Berkeley until the campus is able to resume operations typical of previous semesters.

  • Cal Rentals/Off-Campus Housing: If students need assistance with off-campus housing options, our team at Cal Rentals is waiting to assist, free of charge, in their search for additional off-campus housing options.

  • How we are prioritizing students in our residential halls: We regret that we are likely unable to provide housing for all of the many students who wish to live with us in campus housing. While we still encourage students seeking housing to apply, we are currently planning prioritization for returning students who have accepted housing contracts, and those students with the most needs for living physically on-campus, such as (but not limited to):

    • Students for whom living in Cal Housing is their self-selected best option

    • Students who have already signed housing contracts

    • Students with documented disabilities/need for housing accommodations

    • Students with Estimated Financial Contribution at $0

    • Berkeley Hope Scholars, Fiat Lux Scholars, and Regents’ and Chancellor’s scholars

    • Cultural/identity/living-learning housing programs (African American, Asian Pacific American, Casa Magdalena Mora, Native American, Unity LGBTQIA+ House, Empowering Women in STEM (WISE), Transfer Experience)

    • Student Athletes

Continuing students: Returning students are a priority for us to find housing solutions for, and we encourage continuing students (i.e., rising sophomores and beyond) to reach out to Cal Housing, if they haven’t already, to explore housing options. (Those in current contracts are being honored — we will not be canceling them.)

Graduate Students/Apartments: Learn more about our apartment-style living options.

Family housing: We will still have housing options for those students seeking family housing (for example those with children, spouses/partners, or other dependents). Learn more about our University Village housing options.

Cal Dining: On-campus dining will be offered “to-go.” More details on specific operations will be announced in the near future.

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Will I still have to pay for tuition or student fees if I’m not physically on campus?

Tuition and mandatory fees are set by the University of California Office of the President for all UC campuses. Tuition and mandatory fees have been set regardless of the method of instruction and will not be refunded in the event instruction occurs remotely for any part of the Academic Year. Mandatory university charges for tuition and student services continue to help cover ongoing operations such as the delivery of instruction and the cost of student services such as registration, financial aid, and remote academic advising. Our teaching continues, even as its method of delivery has changed. Students are connecting with and learning from world-class faculty, completing coursework, earning full course credit, and making progress toward an immensely valuable UC Berkeley degree. UC Berkeley student services continue to be available to students via remote options including virtual study jams, remote movie nights,  “Coffee & Career” video chats, online fitness and art classes, and student-led programs and activities to ensure that the term remains a very powerful and enriching one for our students.
 
Some campus-based fees were established to support certain efforts like the Wellness Fee which is paying for many essential health services. Others were established to maintain the safety of buildings or other facilities when necessary for the health and safety of students—e.g., to address seismic deficiencies. Even as UC campuses such as ours have curtailed limited aspects of their operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the costs that campus-based fees are intended to cover continue. 

UC Berkeley is not able to offer in-state tuition for nonresidents. The difference in tuition for residents versus nonresidents is a reflection of the significant investment by California taxpayers in the University of California system.

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Will orientation still be held?

Update on August Golden Bear Orientation: In order to serve all students, most of the in-person components of Golden Bear Orientation will be transitioned to online events. The new online orientation programs occurring in August prior to the start of classes will include a combination of live and recorded content so that all students — whether in Berkeley or anywhere in the world — can participate. Learn more about plans for Fall 2020 GBO.

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If fall classes are offered via remote instruction, should I live in Berkeley?

Students are welcome to apply for our on-campus housing (but note, no living arrangements larger than two people per room in our residence halls to prevent the transmission of COVID-19). However, note that our ability to house all students this fall will be limited, and some students may need to explore alternatives (which our team can assist with).

  • Live Remotely: We are empowering students to choose what works best for them, including continuing to live and study remotely. We recognize that studying remotely may not be desirable or possible for all students, but it may be the most desirable option to stay living away from Berkeley until the campus is able to resume operations typical of previous semesters.

  • Cal Rentals/Off-Campus Housing: If students need assistance with off-campus housing options, our team at Cal Rentals is waiting to assist, free of charge, in their search for additional off-campus housing options.

Housing applicants - important note: You must complete the 2020-21 Housing Application Addendum Form by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24 to indicate whether you still would like to receive a housing offer. Each applicant should have already received their own unique link in an email from Cal Housing. Given the challenges associated with this year’s housing process, late responses will not be accepted. If you complete the form by the deadline, you are not guaranteed to receive a housing offer, but we will notify you by mid-July whether you are receiving a housing offer. If you receive a housing offer, you will have approximately five to seven days to accept the offer.

 

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If classes are via remote instruction again, will they be P/NP?

The Academic Senate modified the grading policy for the spring 2020 semester to default to Passed/Not Passed (P/NP) for undergraduates. Graduate students were given the option to switch to Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grading and graduate programs were permitted to increase the fraction of S/U courses that can count toward degree requirements beyond the existing cap. This was specific to spring semester only and in response to the mid-semester disruption of transitioning to remote instruction and the stress of the rapidly developing pandemic. For the Fall Semester, the campus (both students and instructors) is much better prepared. As a result, to date, the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate has no plans to implement a default P/NP grading policy for the fall semester.

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How can I tell which classes will be taught in person? When will the schedule of classes be updated to reflect remote and in-person offerings?

The campus — including faculty, staff and the College, School, and Division Deans — is working to identify classes that will be taught on campus in Fall 2020. The in-person classes will be restricted to a limited number of people, as dictated by factors including public health guidance and our own building density guidelines. Instruction in large courses will be offered by remote means. However, some large-course discussion sections or other activities may be offered in person. We are in the process of determining which courses will have an in-person option this fall and will have our course schedule available in July. All students will be emailed once it is finalized.

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Can I enroll as a full-time student even if I am not comfortable coming to campus?

Yes. Students are not required to take in-person classes or be present on campus in Fall 2020. A remote offering will be available for most classes. New for Fall 2020, an innovative “Semester in the Cloud” program is being developed for a group of  large “gateway” courses as well as several other critical-path classes that will allow students to make progress toward meeting major and  breadth requirements. A great deal of thought and investment has gone into the Semester in the Cloud program. All of those courses will be offered remotely.

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Where can I find more information about instruction?

Visit the Office of the Registrar website at registrar.berkeley.edu/service-adjustments/instruction-faq for the latest information.

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What will the Spring 2021 semester look like?  

Right now we are focused on Fall 2020. Spring 2021 is six months away and many things can change between now and then. As you may have seen in media reports, there are several vaccines in development and new treatments are being developed. Here on campus our researchers are expanding testing, studying transmission, developing ventilators, raising awareness of inequality, and much more. While we are hopeful with the changes we are seeing, we will make decisions about Spring in consultation with our local public health officials as we get closer to Spring.

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Can I live on campus this fall?  

For more details see our Cal Housing website

Our housing plans are also subject to the restrictions of local public health authorities. We plan to house up to 6,500 students in our on-campus residence halls in single and double rooms. We will stagger student arrival to residence halls and undergraduate apartments beginning in early August to avoid the typical crowded move-in experience. We will reserve space at one of our housing complexes for quarantine and isolation purposes. Students moving into residence halls will likely be required to undergo COVID-19 testing immediately prior to returning to campus and/or upon arrival to campus and will be expected to isolate for 7-10 days after arriving on campus.

The following categories of students are among those who will be given priority for on-campus housing:

  • Students for whom living in Cal Housing is their self-selected best option

  • Students who have already signed housing contracts

  • Students with documented disabilities/need for housing accommodations

  • Students with Estimated Financial Contribution at $0

  • Berkeley Hope Scholars, Fiat Lux Scholars, and Regents’ and Chancellor’s scholars

  • Cultural/identity/living-learning housing programs (African American, Asian Pacific American, Casa Magdalena Mora, Native American, Unity LGBTQIA+ House, Empowering Women in STEM (WISE), Transfer Experience)

  • Student Athletes

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Will I be able to live on campus in Spring 2021? 

Housing contracts are for the full academic year 2020–21, so if you wish to live on campus for the fall, your contract will be for both fall and spring. 

If you decide you want to apply for a spring-only housing contract, you may update your 2020–21 housing application term to "Spring Only" at portal.housing.berkeley.edu

Spring-only housing assignments will be offered on a limited, space-available basis. Availability for spring-only occupancy will depend on the public health situation and the number of students who decide to live in campus housing this fall. The Spring housing application deadline is October 1.

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How can I stay connected and/or get engaged at UC Berkeley? 

Our teams are actively developing plans for how we provide the services and programs, academic support (including advising and tutoring), and community building in-person and remotely that make for a rich and inclusive student experience. 

We will provide services to students living and/or learning remotely and we are committed to ensuring students have access to the key in-person services they need, such as pick-up services for the Food Pantry, textbooks, Amazon store, and more. We also intend to develop and offer a variety of resources to help registered student organizations (RSOs) conduct their activities remotely. 

However, understand that we will likely be unable to offer many in-person student services and/or opportunities for in-person engagement, and that most campus buildings will be closed to student use. Additionally, many campus staff members will be required to work remotely.

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Will every in-person class be required to offer a remote option?

There may be cases when an in-person class cannot reasonably be conducted remotely (e.g., field work, a clinical experience, or a lab course). A remote alternative will exist to ensure that no student is prevented from making academic progress.

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Am I guaranteed to have at least one in-person class?

No, but students have a better chance of getting an in-person if they sign up for a class or discussion section with fewer than 26 people.

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Will I still be eligible for financial aid if I live with my family?

We know that many students are asking this question and are concerned about receiving adequate financial support if they choose to live at home. Rest assured that our commitment to offer financial aid to support students in covering the estimated total cost of attendance, which includes housing, tuition, books, food needs, and more, whether they are living on or near campus or with their family, remains unchanged. 

While students not living in campus housing typically have lower overall costs and aid packages, our Financial Aid and Scholarships Office recognizes that the typical costs for students living with relatives may be inadequate for students choosing to live at home during this public health crisis and time of increased remote instruction. They are committed to supporting students wherever they will be this fall and are currently re-evaluating the estimated cost of attendance to account for needs related to social distancing and remote learning. The estimated cost of attendance based on living location is available on the Financial Aid and Scholarships website and will be updated as new information becomes available in the coming weeks.

Also note that should the standard allocation not match your actual living expenses you may experience, you may request a cost of living adjustment when they become available in mid-August.

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