Fall Semester FAQ

Aug, 27, 2020

Academics and Virtual Learning

  1. Will the academic calendar stay the same?

    Yes. Classes will begin on September 1 and Fall Break remains cancelled. Classes end on December 10 and the final exam period will run from December 15 to 22, as indicated on the University’s Academic Calendar.

  2. Will I have the option to take my courses pass/fail?

    Yes. We are extending this policy to the fall semester. All undergraduate students in all undergraduate Schools will be able to opt in, by October 30, to take any or all of their courses pass/fail, including courses taken to satisfy major or general education requirements, and these courses will not count against the total number of pass/fail courses allowed by the School.

  3. Can I still take a leave of absence for this semester?

    Undergraduate students (other than incoming students) can request leaves of absence through their School advising office. We encourage undergraduate students considering a leave of absence to consult their academic advisor.

  4. I am an incoming student. Can I still request a gap year or a one-year deferral?

    Incoming undergraduate students in the Class of 2024 can request a one-year deferral or gap year on their Penn Applicant Portal no later than 5 PM on August 18, 2020.

    All approved requests will be for the full academic year.

  5. I am in a different time zone. Will all classes be recorded and offered asynchronously?

    All classes will be recorded, with content made available asynchronously.

  6. Can I access labs on campus?

    Undergraduate students should pursue their research experiences online to the fullest extent possible. Undergraduate students who are involved in for-credit research experiences that are required for graduation and cannot be pursued online will be allowed in research labs on a limited basis, in accordance with the University’s Research Resumption Plan. Access to labs will require participation in PennOpen Pass and strict adherence to safety protocols as outlined in the Student Campus Compact.

  7. Is academic assistance available online?

    The Weingarten Learning Resources Center provides a wide range of resources and strategies for remote learning, and the Online Learning Initiative also offers detailed guidance for virtual learning. We encourage students to connect regularly with their advisors, professors, and TAs, who can best address each student’s individual situation.

  8. Will I have disability accommodations as a remote student?

    Yes. The Office of Student Disabilities Services has created an enhanced web portal with extensive resources and information for students and faculty.

Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid

  1. Will undergraduate tuition be reduced for this academic year?

    The costs of providing an appropriate and meaningful educational program continue to escalate. In fact, the costs of providing a Penn education are higher than they were pre-pandemic, even as Penn has lost revenue across many areas of the University. Yet we recognize the significant financial challenges incurred by many students and families and have determined to make tuition and fee adjustments. As a result, undergraduate tuition for the fall semester will remain at last year’s level.

  2. Will the general fee be reduced?

    Yes. The general fee for the fall semester will be reduced by 10% from last year's general fee.

  3. When will I know how much to pay for the fall semester?

    We will begin making adjustments to student accounts within the next two weeks. The adjustments will be reflected on the student account and can be viewed as soon as they are processed. The next billing statement will be sent in early September.

  4. I have already paid for the fall semester. How and when will I receive a refund?

    We will begin making adjustments to student accounts within the next two weeks. If you have already paid tuition and fees, the adjustment will likely create a credit on your account. The first refunds will be generated the week of August 24 and will occur weekly after that. If you have provided your bank account information through Penn.Pay, your refund will be directly deposited into your account. This is the fastest method of refund delivery.

  5. Is the Penn Payment Plan changing?

    The schedule for the Penn Payment Plan will be the same. Each payment plan member can adjust their monthly installment through Penn.Pay.

  6. Will financial aid be affected?

    We have significantly increased our financial aid budget to assist students and families in this difficult time and will continue to make emergency assistance available to support all students who need it. Student financial aid budgets for tuition and general fees will remain at current levels, despite the decrease in cost to students. On-campus housing aid will be reduced, but students remaining at home will still receive aid for food commensurate with our off-campus dining aid level.

  7. What should I do if my family can no longer make a contribution?

    Financial aid counselors are available at sfsmail@pobox.upenn.edu or 215.898.1988. Highly aided students can contact sfs.ha@pobox.upenn.edu.

  8. Who can I contact with questions?

    Student Financial Services counselors are available at sfsmail@pobox.upenn.edu or 215.898.1988.

Student Registration & Financial Services

Housing, Dining & Campus Services

  1. Do I need to do anything to cancel my housing contract or dining plan?

    They will be cancelled automatically.

  2. How can I retrieve my personal possessions in storage from last spring?

    Your possessions will be stored for you at no cost until spring semester – or you can pay to have them shipped to your home.

  3. What happens to my housing assignment for the fall semester?

    You are guaranteed on-campus housing for the spring semester if you were assigned a room and did not cancel your assignment before August 11. Your room location may change, given the potential changes to public health requirements.

  4. Are Greek Houses closed?

    Yes. Students cannot occupy any of the 24 Penn-owned/operated Greek residential houses during the fall semester.

  5. I’m a first-year student. Will I be required to live on-campus Spring 2021?

    As part of the Class of 2024, we require all first- and second-year students to live on campus. This will continue to be true when students return to living on campus, even for students who may already be choosing to live in Philadelphia this semester. This means that all first-year students will be required to live in on-campus housing in the spring 2021 semester, should the University resume on-campus operations. First-year students will not receive an exception to remain in an off-campus lease for the spring 2021 semester.

  6. I am an international undergraduate student with questions about my status or personal situation. Who do I contact?

    Please visit the International Student and Scholar Services website to learn more about how your assigned advisor can help you with an online appointment.

  7. I am a highly aided student who may qualify to live on campus. Who do I contact?

    Please visit My Home at Penn and complete the Housing Exception Form by 5 PM on August 17, 2020.

  8. I am an international undergraduate student who may qualify to live on campus. Who do I contact?

    Please visit My Home at Penn and complete the Housing Exception Form by 5 PM on August 17, 2020.

  9. I am an undergraduate student with personal circumstances that may qualify me to live on campus. Who do I contact?

    Please visit My Home at Penn and complete the Housing Exception Form by 5 PM on August 17, 2020.

  10. When will I move in if I am granted a housing exception?

    Students who are granted housing exceptions will move in at their originally selected 2-hour timeslot for move-in. If a student did not select a timeslot or needs to move their timeslot (based on limited availability), they can do so at MyHomeAtPenn.  All students will be required to go to Houston Hall for a COVID-19 test before moving in and will receive detailed information in advance about the procedures they will need to follow for move-in.

  11. Can I access Penn Libraries?

    The Libraries staff are working hard to sustain access for Penn faculty, students, and staff, including both virtual support and limited in-person study space. Please see the Libraries’ detailed FAQ for more information.

  12. Can I access CAPS and the Student Health Service?

    Both CAPS and SHS are fully operational, incorporating both telehealth and in-person services. CAPS is available 24/7 at 215.898.7021. SHS is available 24/7 at 215.746.3535.

  13. Is the Student Campus Compact still in effect?

    Yes. The rules of the Student Campus Compact for Fall 2020 will still apply to all Penn undergraduate students living on campus or in Philadelphia.

  14. I am a Penn undergraduate living in Philadelphia. Are campus services available to me?

    Very few campus services will be open. We encourage you to check the website of individual services for more specific and updated information. The Penn First Plus Office will be open to provide resources and support for our Penn First Plus students, who can also find information and updates on the Penn First Plus web portal.

  15. I am a Penn undergraduate living in Philadelphia. Do I need to be tested for COVID-19?

    We remain committed to the health and safety of our community on and off campus. As such, we recognize that some students who may travel to Philadelphia to continue to learn may inadvertently carry the disease. To address this, and in light of the public health impact of students coming to Philadelphia from various regions of the United States and the world, we will be offering any student who will be learning from Philadelphia the opportunity to be tested upon arrival and again seven days later, at no cost to them. This will allow us to quickly identify positive cases and trigger the requisite isolation in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Should students develop any symptoms during the semester, we will be offering COVID-19 testing to all members of the Penn community in the Hall of Flags. In addition, we ask all students who will be traveling to Philadelphia from states with a high incidence of COVID-19 to adhere to the recommended 14-day quarantine upon arrival to Pennsylvania. These states are listed here and updated regularly.

  16. Will dining be available for students who live on campus?

    Yes, there will be limited dining available for students who are approved to stay on campus.

  17. I am a first-year student. What does the recent University announcement mean for my housing?

    Any student who had an assignment as of August 11 will have that assignment suspended for Fall 2020 and can no longer request a cancellation.

    Please note that as a member of the Class of 2024, you are required to live on campus for your first and second year at Penn as part of the Second Year Experience. While housing was suspended for the fall 2020 semester, you will be required to live on-campus in spring, should the University resume on-campus operations.

    We highly discourage first-year students from signing leases, as they are difficult to break, and we will not be providing exceptions to the on-campus requirement if a student has an off-campus lease.

    First year students who submit a housing exception form and are approved will be required to live on campus for both Fall and Spring semesters.

  18. I am a returning undergraduate student. What does the recent University announcement mean for my housing?

    Any student who had an assignment as of August 11 will have that assignment suspended for Fall 2020. If you had an assignment as of August 11, you are guaranteed on-campus housing for the spring 2021 semester. If you submit for the Housing Exception but are not approved, you are still guaranteed on-campus housing for spring 2021. If you are approved for the Housing Exception and accept your housing, please note that it is a full academic year assignment and you cannot cancel your housing for the spring 2021 semester. If you are interested in canceling your academic year assignment, please email living@upenn.edu by August 31.

  19. I am a first-year student, what is the status of my dining plan?

     If you are a first-year student who is approved to live on campus, your dining plan will remain in effect. For all other first year students, your dining plan will be suspended until you return to campus.

  20. I am a returning student who signed up for a dining plan in the spring, what is the status of my dining plan?

    If you are a returning student who is approved to live on campus and is enrolled in a dining plan, your dining plans will remain in effect, although you should check your plan as it may have changed. If you choose to do so, you may cancel your dining plan by August 23, by contacting Penn Dining. If you do not cancel your dining plan by that date, your plan remains in effect for Fall and Spring and you will not be allowed to cancel unless your status changes (leave of absence, etc.)

    If you are a returning student who signed up for a dining plan in the spring and are not approved to live on campus, your dining plan will be cancelled automatically.  Any returning student that wishes to keep their plan for the Fall can contact Penn Dining to have their plan reinstated.