The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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FAQ about the COVID-19 Situation

Information for All UMass Amherst Students

We are working closely with our state and local public health officials to determine when we can resume in-person instruction either at full strength or under lower population density conditions. At this time we do not have an estimated date, but we are preparing for all possibilities, from fully remote to fully onsite and any combination.  We anticipate some or all instruction will be delivered via remote instruction in the Academic Year 2020-2021.

The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, and the greater Amherst community will always be our top priority. We are continually assessing the COVID-19 situation, in consultation with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and will follow their expertise and guidance for when and how we resume in-person activity on campus.  

If we do resume in-person instruction for the fall semester, we recognize some students may not be able to safely travel to campus. To accommodate those students, we plan to continue offering remote instruction as an option for fall 2020.

Tuition and mandatory fees have been set regardless of the method of instruction. 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.

Campus-based fees were established to support efforts like health services, appropriate technologies such as internet connectivity, and debt service for capital projects. While the university has cut back on some aspects of its operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the costs covered by campus-based fees will continue.

 

Information About AP Exams and Pass/Fail Grades

The Registrar is accepting credit as usual for Advanced Placement (AP) and College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams. 

At this time, our office is still in discussion about how a pass/fail grading system might affect our admissions process. It is an important topic that we are considering thoughtfully, with a student-centered approach, and we are working to develop fair and reasonable measures for evaluating students' academic performance and progress during under these unusual circumstances.

We would never hold a pass/fail system against a student in the admissions process, and it likely will not have any negative impact on admitted students as long as they pass their required/core classes. 

UMass Amherst will follow our normal process of applying credit and course equivalency (if appropriate) to AP exams if the student provides results of the AP exam taken in spring of 2020 and receives the required score to award credit for a particular exam. Please visit the University Registrar's website for more informations about AP test scores for spring 2020.

If needed, decisions concerning the grading policies for the fall semester will be made by the Faculty Senate at the appropriate time.

Information for First-Year Students

We know that current events have prompted some schools to extend their deadlines, but our plan is to stay with the May 1, 2020 deposit date as a priority deadline. That is, if you submit your deposit by this date you are guaranteed a spot in our class beginning this fall 2020.

We will continue to take deposits after May 1, 2020 but only for an unspecified amount of time as we want to be careful not to enroll more students in the fall than we originally planned to.

Therefore, if your goal is to earn a degree from UMass Amherst, one of the world’s top research universities, we encourage you to submit your deposit as soon as possible.

To best meet the needs of our incoming students while still maintaining recommended social distancing practices, we are now planning to replace the in person June and July orientation sessions with a phased orientation model that combines remote academic advising & course registration, an expanded online orientation course, and more programming during Fall Welcome. Students can register for orientation on the NSO website.

While we allow some students to defer their matriculation for extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis, the method for receiving class instruction is not consider an extenuating circumstance.

We are currently planning to welcome students to UMass Amherst this fall. We know that school closures as well as cancellation/postponement of secondary examinations have been a challenge for many students. Don’t worry! We will be as accommodating as possible throughout this time, and none of this is likely to impact your enrollment at UMass Amherst. We are ready to welcome you into our community, and will allow you all the time you need to complete your graduation requirements.

We know many of you have questions about how we might proceed for next year given the unknowns about changes to high school grading systems and the postponement of the SAT and ACT exams. The answer at this time is that we simply don’t yet know.  We are working under the assumption that the College Board will keep its late August and early October test dates, and ACT will keep its September and October dates. Testing on these dates will allow students to apply by our Early Action deadline of November 5, 2020. If you’re more comfortable applying later, our Regular Decision deadline is January 15, 2021.  Thank you for your patience while the university adapts to rapidly changing conditions. We recommend the following websites that are specific to Advanced Placement (AP), Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT) updates.

Information for Transfer Students

For courses taken in the spring 2020 semester only, we will honor and transfer in Pass grades for all courses that would normally transfer, without negative impact on admission, transfer credit, or degree requirements.

Some students may be asked to provide mid-term grades for this semester.  When possible, you can simply upload a screen shot of your mid-term grades to your student status page. If your institution does not provide mid-term grades in the student system, please ask your professors email the mid-term grade to mail@admissions.umass.edu.

We may also ask for a disciplinary report. The report is only required from four-year schools, so not all students need to provide us with one. If needed, we’ll add this request to your checklist, along with the school from which we need the form, on your student status page. Once that is added, it is directly linked to our Transfer Disciplinary Report which has been converted to a fillable pdf. It can then be emailed to the appropriate office at your previous four-year institution.  

We are working with students who have challenges in getting us any required materials needed to review their application on a case by case basis. If any students are having trouble getting materials, please have them reach out to us directly.

Due to COVID-19, students applying to transfer from institutions in the US, Canada or UK may send an unofficial transcript for use during the admission review.  Students may either upload the unofficial transcript to their student status page, or email it to dataentry@admissions.umass.edu.

To best meet the needs of our incoming students while still maintaining recommended social distancing practices, we are now planning to replace the in person June and July orientation sessions with a phased orientation model that combines remote academic advising & course registration, an expanded online orientation course, and more programming during Fall Welcome. Students can register for orientation on the NSO website.

Information for All International Students

Because of the evolving COVID-19 situation, no date has been set for student arrivals on campus. Typically, our international students arrive on campus several days before the start of fall classes. Classes for this fall are scheduled to begin September 8, 2020. You will receive frequent updates from the university as information becomes available.

We are operating on the assumption that the global health crisis and related transportation complications will subside by September, so we continue to process I-20s for incoming international students. Please email the UMass International Programs Office (IPO) at visarequest@umass.edu for any I-20 related requests.

We advise you to have a UMass Amherst I-20 form in hand, so you can apply for a student visa (F-1) as soon as the visa service resumes in your country. We continue to work on plans to accommodate students who are unable to receive a student visa in a timely manner. Please continue to monitor the U.S. consular website in your local area.

If this happens we will offer you the chance to begin your UMass Amherst experience online! Our team is preparing a set of real-time online courses that you would take as a first-year student, just as if you were on campus. Each course will allow you to earn credits and make progress toward the completion of your degree. More details will become available soon, but we anticipate online courses will begin as early as this summer.

Once you have paid the non-refundable $500 enrollment deposit by May 1, 2020, and if you are unable to join us on campus this fall, we will consider your request to defer your admission until January 2021. However, a deferral typically means that students are not enrolled in courses, and the university is prepared to offer several online options for students to begin their studies in fall 2020. This is likely a better option for students than a deferral.

The deadline to submit a request for a deferral is August 1, 2020.

All admitted students who are Canadian citizens need only an I-20 form, not a visa stamp. The current Canadian border closings still allow educational admissions as “essential.”

Yes. You have to submit the nonrefundable enrollment deposit by May 1, 2020 to secure your spot at UMass Amherst, whether you start online or defer to a later semester.

These accommodations will be made on a case-by-case basis. The university will continue to monitor the pandemic and keep you informed about our future plans.

Yes. Since first-year students are guaranteed on-campus housing, we will have a place for you to live, even if you start in a later semester.

If you must defer until spring semester 2021, your Chancellor’s Award will begin at that time. If you begin online, your award will be prorated to its appropriate value. More details will be available in the near future.

Don’t worry. We will accommodate your situation to ensure your enrollment at UMass Amherst will not be interrupted.

We require students to submit an official final high school transcript (with graduation certification) to the Undergraduate Admissions Office prior to beginning UMass Amherst courses.

Please know that any cancellation/postponement of secondary examinations will not impact your enrollment at UMass Amherst, as long as your school counselor is able to submit your internal final transcript with graduation certification. If you are following CBSE or CISCE, or other Indian state board examination, you may submit the Class XII certificate once it becomes available.

However, in order to receive credit through Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Level (A-Level), and College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), you will still need to request that official results be sent from the testing agency directly to the UMass Amherst Registrar as soon as they are available. (See this website for more information on receiving credit by examination.)

We are aware of the postponed A Level exams in June, and this will not impact your admission or enrollment at UMass Amherst. Your school counselor will submit the final high school transcript. If you choose, you can sit for the exams in November in order to be considered for transfer credits.

Information for International Students with Current F-1 Visa Status

Given the increasing disruption to international air travel, including the new ban on European flights, the UMass International Programs Office (IPO) strongly discourages all international travel at this time. If you do plan to travel internationally, you should plan in advance for all possible contingencies and the distinct possibility that you will not be able to return to the U.S. The decision to travel internationally is ultimately yours to make. A valid visa, passport, and signed I-20 form or DS-2019 forms are still international travel requirements.

We are unsure if we will be allowed to host students on campus this summer, but it is looking more-and-more doubtful. We follow directives from the State of Massachusetts, and we will keep you informed of our plans as the situation develops.

If you currently hold a valid F-1 visa, you do not need to apply for a new visa. However, you will need to have an updated I-20 form issued by UMass Amherst. Please contact the UMass International Programs Office (IPO) at visarequest@umass.edu to learn what is required for your SEVIS record transfer to UMass Amherst. The university has been working on several plans to accommodate international students who are currently in the U.S. More information will be available soon.