Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

about spring 2021

These Frequently Asked Questions and Answers are being continually updated to address new and changing issues and concerns. Please check back often for the latest information.

last update: Jan. 21, 2021 

Spring Move-In FAQs

I’m living in a residence hall for Spring Semester. When can I move in?

A phased return will begin starting Monday, Jan. 25, so students can complete the required quarantine in time to participate in face-to-face classes, activities and research. The first phase, from Jan. 25-27, includes on-campus undergraduate students who have in-person classes, international students and out-of-state students. Please do not arrive before Jan. 25. All other on-campus students will move in Jan. 28-31.

If I am living off-campus, when can I arrive for Spring Semester?

We recommend all students living off-campus, both graduate and undergraduate, as well as post-docs and visiting scholars, arrive Jan. 25-31 so they can access campus in a timely manner.

Do I need a COVID-19 test when I arrive for Spring Semester?

For all students living on-campus and off-campus, you are required to be tested at the Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) at the Mullins Center upon arrival. In fact, the pick-up for residence hall room keys for on-campus students will be at the PHPC. Once you’ve completed a test, you may move in your belongs and then you must follow the back-to-campus quarantine guidelines in your residence hall room. You will be allowed to leave your room for food, COVID-19 testing and medical care. On Day 4, you will undergo a second COVID-19 test. Upon receipt of a second negative test result, you will be cleared for face-to-face classes, campus activities or research activities.

If I am living off-campus for Spring Semester, do I need to get a COVID-19 test?

Yes. All students, both graduate and undergraduate, along with post-docs and visiting scholars, are required to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at the PHPC. You should self-quarantine immediately after your first COVID-19 test, limiting your interactions and then get a second test on Day 4. Upon receipt of a second negative test, you will be cleared to participate in face-to-face classes, campus activities and research activities.

What is the back-to-campus quarantine?

Upon arrival in the Amherst area, you must avoid interactions with other individuals, and only leave your residence hall room or off-campus residence to pick up food, get tested or receive medical care. Students may use shared residence hall bathrooms or showers and can participate in outdoor, individual activities, such as walking, jogging or hiking. This is a modified quarantine meant to limit your interactions with others until you receive two negative COVID-19 tests.

I’m traveling to Massachusetts from a different state or country. What are the travel guidelines for Spring Semester?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Governor Charlie Baker establish the travel guidelines for anyone traveling to Massachusetts from other states or countries. Please review the most current guidelines at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order.

Will I be required to do COVID testing for Spring Semester?

All students, on-campus or off-campus, will be expected to maintain a twice-a-week testing schedule for COVID-19. Asymptomatic testing will continue this spring at the PHPC at the Mullins Center. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should make an appointment for a test at University Health Services.

If I cannot get a COVID-19 test prior to arrival for Spring Semester, will UMass provide quarantine space?

We strongly recommend getting a COVID-19 test if you are coming from a high-risk state or from an international location. If you cannot get a test prior to arriving in Massachusetts, per the Massachusetts Governor’s travel order you will be required to quarantine for 14 days prior to coming to campus. You will need to make your own quarantine arrangements, prior to coming to campus. The university will not be providing quarantine space for arrival-related travel. 

Health and Safety FAQs

What should I do if believe I may have been exposed to COVID-19 or am experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19?

(Updated Jan. 21, 2021) Students who have a new symptom of COVID-19, should login to the UMass Patient Portal. Click the "Appts" tab, and follow instructions to schedule your testing appointment at UHS, 150 Infirmary Way. When it is time for your appointment, please do not use the UHS main entrance; follow signs for Respiratory Clinic. If you need help accessing the portal, review these Patient Portal FAQs or email uhsportalhelp@umass.edu.

Will the cost of testing be covered by the university?

(Added July 22, 2020) Surveillance testing will not be charged to students; the university assumes the cost of all surveillance testing. Symptomatic testing and testing for individuals in close contact to someone who has tested positive is covered by insurance.

What safety measures are in place at the Public Health Promotion Center at the Mullins Center?

  • Face coverings are required and compliance is monitored.
  • The ventilation in the Mullins Center has been changed to supply 100 percent outside air, which is then 100 percent exhausted, with no air recirculation. 
  • Heating, air conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) system air filtration is rated by Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, known as MERV ratings. The Mullins Center has upgraded filters to MERV13, as recommended for COVID-19 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
  • The Mullins Center is cleaned each night using an electrostatic precipitator.
  • Enhanced cleaning takes place throughout the day in the Mullins Center, including high-touch areas.  
  • Multiple hand sanitizing stations are set up across the Mullins Center. Individuals are instructed to use hand sanitizer prior to coming into the Mullins Center and then after they perform their test. 
  • Touchless UCard reader gathers individual contact information. 
  • Plexiglass is installed in the Registration Area and in the Testing Area. 
  • Staff are tested twice a week.

Does UMass have a contact tracing program?

Yes, to determine the risk of potential exposure to others on campus the UMass Public Health Team will conduct contact tracing per Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines on any individual who has tested positive. The team will have a dedicated phone number and caller ID, and it will actively promote its “Answer the Call” program to protect the UMass community.

What’s the difference between isolation and quarantine?

(Updated Aug. 18, 2020) The Centers for Disease Control define isolation as separating sick people with a contagious disease (such as COVID-19) from people who are not sick, and quarantine as separating and restricting the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Learn more about planning for isolation and quarantine in the Isolation and Quarantine Planning Guide For Students.

What support do students get if they are in isolation or quarantine?

UMass is committed to supporting all students during any required isolation and quarantine. This includes contact tracing, academic support, health services and counseling services. All students in isolation and quarantine, both on- and off-campus, will receive a daily wellness call.

How is face-to-face instruction conducted?

The occupancy of classrooms has been be modified to maintain social distancing, including assigned seating where appropriate. Before the start of each class, students and faculty must wipe down their chairs and any other commonly touched surfaces. Everyone in the classroom is required to wear face coverings. There is no eating or drinking in class. 

How density in classrooms being reduced?

Classrooms and study spaces have diagrams depicting the reduced seating capacity for each space, including designated areas for instructors and required space between students to ensure appropriate social distancing. Signs are posted to explain appropriate ways to enter and exit, as well as reminders about preventive health practices.

Why do I need to get a flu vaccine?

(Added July 22, 2020) Because many of the symptoms for the flu overlap with those related to COVID-19, we are asking that all students agree to a flu vaccine when they become available this fall. By preventing the development of flu-related symptoms, you can avoid quarantine.

Who can use University Health Services (UHS)?

Whether living or working on or off campus, all UMass Amherst students, faculty and staff and their spouses, domestic partners and dependents can use UHS for in-person and remote services.

Teaching and Learning FAQs

On Campus FAQs

Who is eligible to live on campus?

The following students are invited to campus for Spring 2021:

  • Students enrolled in mandatory face-to-face classes
  • Students dependent on the university for housing and dining, including international students, as well as students requiring specific academic accommodations or those participating in athletics
  • First-year students and entering transfer students, enrolled in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021

I believe I have an extenuating circumstance and need on-campus housing for Spring 2021. How will this be considered?

The Dean of Students Office and Residence Education are developing a process for students with extenuating circumstances. Once this process is finalized, more information will be shared.

Will UMass consider extending its offer of spring housing to additional student cohorts?

(Updated Nov. 17, 2020)  As presented in the Operating Plan for Spring 2021, and consistent with prioritization of health and safety protocols, the university is able to offer students an on-campus residential opportunity for the Spring Semester, up to 60 percent of our residential hall capacity. If capacity exists after priority cohorts have decided whether to select on-campus housing, then other students could be offered the opportunity to live on campus.

The priority cohorts noted in the operating plans include: students enrolled in mandatory face-to-face classes; students dependent on the university for housing and dining, including international students, as well as students requiring specific academic accommodations or those participating in athletics; first-year students and entering transfer students, enrolled in essential face-to-face classes.

How do I select on-campus housing for Spring 2021?

Students who are eligible to live on campus, as indicated in the Chancellor’s announcement, will need to use Online Room Selection to secure an on-campus assignment for spring 2021. Detailed information about the specific room selection process can be found on the Spring Online Room Selection page. Students cannot keep a previously held fall 2020 assignment for spring 2021.

What areas of campus and room types are available for Spring 2021?

Eligible students will use online room selection to select from available spaces. Approximately 80 percent of rooms in each hall will be designated as single-person occupancy and 20 percent will be shared rooms with a roommate. 

Traditional residence hall floors and corridors will be single-gender based on the nearest bathroom designation. The first floor of Baker Hall in Central will remain gender inclusive for spring 2021. Limited co-ed suites and apartments will be available in Honor College complex, Sylvan and North.

More information about room types and available spaces can be found on the Spring Online Room Selection page.

What meal plans will be available?

To view all meal plan prices, please visit the UMass Dining site.

Will students be allowed to dine together?

Yes. Massachusetts is now in Phase 3 of its reopening plan, and students are allowed to eat indoors, with up to six people at a table with tables 6 feet apart. Students must continue to follow safe dining guidelines during their visit.

How can I select or change my meal plan?

You will be able to make a meal plan selection once spring semester bills are distributed. You will receive an email that your bill is ready for view from UMass Bursar’s Office. Log on to SPIRE and from main menu select finances> meal plan> fall/spring. SPIRE will update your bill the following day.

What will be the cost of living on campus?

All spaces for fall will be billed the standard shared room rate. Students selecting into break housing (North B ONLY) will be billed an additional break housing fee. Students should not select break housing unless they have no other option for winter break housing.

When can I move in to my room for Spring 2021?

Students can make a Move-in Reservation in SPIRE January 19-21.  Spring Move-In will take place from January 25-31. Additional information will be posted on the Spring Move-In page and spring residents will be notified via email once plans are finalized.

Students currently living in break housing will transition to their spring assignment on Monday, January 25.

Will there be a cancellation fee for Spring 2021?

Residential Life uses a cancellation fee to manage occupancy, especially when space is limited. Cancellation fees can be avoided if students do not select a space unless they are 100% certain they wish to live on campus.

By selecting a spring 2021 housing assignment, students will be subject to the Cancellation Fee Schedule. Students who secure a spring 2021 housing assignment and later cancel will be subject to a minimum $300 Cancellation Fee. The full cancellation fee schedule is:

From selection of Assignment through December 23: $300 Cancellation Fee

From December 24 through January 7: $400 Cancellation Fee

From January 8 through First Week of spring 2021: $500 Cancellation Fee

Will there be break housing for Spring 2021?

Since there will not be a mid-semester break for spring 2021, break housing will not be necessary.

Will there be residential staff to support students who are living on campus?

Yes, residence hall staff will be on campus to support the residential population.

Will there be activities available throughout the semester?

Virtual activities will continue throughout the spring semester for all students. In-person, campus-based activities sponsored by residence hall staff, student organizations and campus departments will be planned as public health metrics allow.

Is there residence hall security?

Yes, Residence Hall Security staff will remain in place during established hours. Residence hall card access systems and other features will be in place as usual.

Is there a restriction on guests in the residence halls?

To deter the spread of COVID-19, no guests are allowed in residence halls until further notice. A guest is defined as someone who does not live in the residence hall. 

Will pricing be adjusted since dining options are modified due to COVID-19?

Pricing will not be reduced due to COVID-19, and students are encouraged to choose the meal plan that best meets their needs. Students will have access to Dining Commons as well retail dining locations. The Dining Commons will offer 10 different, globally inspired menu items; vegan and vegetarian; Kosher; Halal; and allergen free. These will be available through dining in and as to-go offerings.

What is the Interim Pandemic Policy?

The Interim Pandemic Policy, developed by students and staff and reviewed by the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Senate, clearly outlines expectations for the spring semester for students living either on or off campus.

What decisions have been made regarding the occupancy in residence halls with multi-stall shared bathrooms?

For Spring 2021, Residential Life has limited the occupancy to reduce the number of students sharing multi-stall bathrooms in the community. To support this, all bathrooms and floors outside of gender-inclusive communities will be single gender.

If a residential student is exposed to COVID-19 and has to quarantine, how will they get meals?

Students isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19 will receive prepared meals delivered to their housing location. Additionally, if a student has an allergy and is quarantined or isolated, dining services will provide meals that are in line with medical needs or dietary preferences.

How are the UMass Amherst Libraries operating?

(Updated Dec. 1, 2020) Please visit the UMass Libraries website for the latest information about how to use library services. 

 

What study or breakout spaces will be available for students living on campus and taking face-to-face classes in the spring?

The campus identified and made available unscheduled study and breakout spaces for students in 10 buildings for the fall semester, and we will increase that inventory for the spring. A complete list of specific buildings and spaces will be communicated to students closer to the start of the spring semester.

What Residential Life resources are available on campus during Winter Term?

  • Crabtree Residential Service Desk will remain open during the Winter Term. Updated service hours will be shared with students remaining on campus during the winter break.
  • Residence Education staff, including resident assistants and residence directors, will continue to be on campus to support residential students during the Winter Term. Most interactions between students and Residence Education staff will be conducted remotely.
  • Facilities staff will continue to follow all campus cleaning protocols throughout the break period.
  • Residence Hall Security will remain in place through our card access and desk monitoring systems

Is on-campus break housing available for the six-week Winter Term?

(Added Sept. 21, 2020) Yes, Residential Life will be able to provide a limited number of students the opportunity to live in North Apartments B during the winter term. Available bed spaces will be first-come, first-served using Online Room Selection. All students will be assigned to a private room and share the apartment with up to three other students. Each North Apartment area also includes two bathrooms and a kitchen with oven and stovetop.

Are student businesses open?

(Updated Jan. 20, 2021) Student businesses are not open this spring. 

Off Campus FAQs

Do off-campus students have access to University Health Services?

Yes, both on and off campus students who have medical needs, including symptomatic testing, can get services at UHS.

Can off campus students purchase a meal plan?

(Updated Jan. 12, 2021) Yes, off campus students have access to both the Residential and YCMP off-campus plans. Please go to umassdining.com/meal-plans for additional meal plan information.

 

Are off-campus students able to access the Recreation Center?

The Recreation Center was open beginning in late fall to both on- and off-campus students fitness classes under strict COVID-19 safety protocols. Spring schedules will be posted when they become available.

What is the Interim Pandemic Policy?

The Interim Pandemic Policy, developed by students and staff and reviewed by the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Senate, clearly outlines expectations for the spring semester for students living either on or off campus.

Will there be activities available throughout the semester?

Yes, students will have opportunities to take part in campus activities through My C.R.U., Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and other campus departments and groups. For more information, students should follow the Virtual Student Life calendar.

Are Disability Services available?

Students can book fall accommodations appointments with their Consumer Manager via their Zoom invitation Monday-Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. beginning Monday, August 3. Please check your UMass email for all correspondence from our office. You can reach our staff via email directly, if needed. We continue to provide all services remotely to keep the campus community healthy and safe. Visit www.umass.edu/disability/

Research and Libraries FAQs

How are the UMass Amherst Libraries operating?

(Updated Dec. 1, 2020) Please visit the UMass Libraries website for the latest information about how to use library services. 

 

All of my courses are remote, but I am involved in research in a lab on campus. Can I live on campus and do my research project as planned?

Yes, if you are included in an approved Research & Libraries Operating Plan (RLOP). Typically, your advisor would include you in the plan for their laboratory. Here’s more information on the requirement.

All of my courses are remote, but I am involved in research in a lab on campus. I also live off campus. Can I come to campus and do my research project as planned?

Yes, if you are included in an approved Research & Libraries Operating Plan (RLOP). 

I am not doing an honors thesis or independent study research in a research lab, but I am working there as an employee. How does that affect my situation?

Anyone in campus research laboratories or other research facilities must be included in a Research & Libraries Operating Plan (RLOP). If a faculty member includes you in an approved RLOP as an employee, and you are designated by your supervisor to Human Resources as an essential on campus employee, then you can come to campus to work in the lab.

International Students FAQs

Can I still come to campus if I am an international student?

Yes, international undergraduate and graduate students may come to campus if their travel and visa conditions will allow. Please refer to these International Programs Office FAQs and be in contact with your IPO advisor if you need further information or help.

Will I need specific medical documentation to travel to the U.S.?

No specific medical documentation is required to enter the U.S. Your airline or transiting country/airport may have regulations. Please verify those before travelling. If you have specific questions about your U.S. visa documents, please contact your IPO advisor or email iss@umass.edu.  

Will UMass provide in-person courses for me as required by student visa regulations?

UMass will make arrangements for you to have required in-person, face-to-face courses if your student visa status requires this. You will get further information about this directly from the Registrar’s office. In the meantime, please contact your IPO advisor if you have further questions. 

Can international students take time off?

International students considering taking time off from full-time study must contact their IPO advisor. Falling below full-time enrollment can affect your immigration status. 

COVID-19 Testing FAQs

Who is part of the UMass Amherst asymptomatic testing program?

For Students

  1. Students who reside on campus should be required to be tested twice a week.
  2. Undergraduate and graduate students who live in the Amherst area (defined as Amherst, Hadley, Sunderland, Belchertown, Pelham, Shutesbury and Leverett) should be required to be tested twice a week.
  3. Off-campus undergraduate and graduate students who live outside the Amherst area and are coming to campus for face-to-face classes, research labs or work should be required to be tested twice a week.
  4. Graduate students who live in the Amherst area (defined as Amherst, Hadley, Sunderland, Belchertown, Pelham, Shutesbury and Leverett) and are not coming to campus for classes are strongly encouraged to get tested twice a week.

 

For Faculty and Staff

  1. Faculty who are teaching or conducting research on campus are required to be tested weekly.
  2. Clinical faculty who are working in healthcare facilities or University Health Services staff who are providing in-person healthcare are required to be tested twice weekly.
  3. Staff who regularly work on campus are required to be tested weekly.

 

What is the difference between asymptomatic and symptomatic testing?

Asymptomatic testing is conducted upon return to campus and then throughout the semester, as a way to identify COVID-19 in people who are not showing any symptoms of the disease. This service is conducted at the Mullins Center and is provided free of charge for those students, faculty or staff designated as eligible for the program.

Symptomatic testing is conducted when a campus community member has any symptoms, even mild ones, of COVID-19. This testing is conducted at University Health Services and your insurance will be billed for this testing. All on- or off-campus students, faculty or staff, regardless if they come to campus, are eligible for this testing.

How can I learn more about COVID-19 testing for local community members?

Please visit the Community COVID-19 Testing page for complete information about making an appointment and being tested at the Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) at the Mullins Center on campus.

Do I have to make an appointment in order to get an asymptomatic test at the Mullins Center?

Yes. All testing at the Mullins Center, including for UMass Amherst students, faculty and staff and members of the general public, is by appointment only. 

Do I have to pay for testing?

(Added Aug. 28, 2020) There is no charge to students, faculty or staff who are required to get asymptomatic COVID-19 tests at the Mullins Center's Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC).

Symptomatic testing for COVID-19 conducted through University Health Services can be billed to your insurance.

Who is conducting the asymptomatic testing?

Asymptomatic test collection operations at the Mullins Center are being conducted through a joint effort of the College of Nursing students and faculty, Environmental Health and Safety, and University Health Services. The test samples are then sent to the Broad Institute in Cambridge, which conducts the analysis.

What type of asymptomatic test is being used?

SARS-CoV-2 Real-time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Assay is a real-time RT-PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test intended for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 in nasal swabs collected from individuals who may have contracted the virus.

When is the Mullins Center testing site open for asymptomatic testing during the Winter term?

(Updated Jan. 7, 2021) The Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) at the Mullins Center is open for asymptomatic testing, by appointment only, during the Winter Term from Nov. 23, 2020 through Jan. 21, 2021.

The Center is open every Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m..

How can I schedule an asymptomatic test?

(Updated Sept. 10, 2020) Visit the Campus Health Hub and select “Book an Appointment” (NOTE: If you receive a message that says: Currently you are not registered as part of the program”, click the link that says Please Fill Out This Form, then fill out the form. You may now book your appointment.) Click “Walk-In at Mullins Center or Drive Up at Mullins Center." Choose the date and click next and Select an appointment.

If you are getting tested routinely, we recommend you schedule for the same day/time each week. If you are getting tested twice a week, we want you to be on a Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday schedule.

How will I learn the results of my COVID-19 test?

When your results are ready, you will get a notification email from umalab@umass.eduThen, to access your results, log in to the Patient Portal. For security reasons, your email will not include a link to the Patient Portal. It is at umalab.netsmartcloud.com.  Be sure to bookmark or make a note of this address. There is no need to register on the Portal, but you will be asked to change the password during your first visit.

 

What safety measures are in place at the Public Health Promotion Center at the Mullins Center?

  • Face coverings are required and compliance is monitored.
  • The ventilation in the Mullins Center has been changed to supply 100 percent outside air, which is then 100 percent exhausted, with no air recirculation. 
  • Heating, air conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) system air filtration is rated by Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, known as MERV ratings. The Mullins Center has upgraded filters to MERV13, as recommended for COVID-19 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
  • The Mullins Center is cleaned each night using an electrostatic precipitator.
  • Enhanced cleaning takes place throughout the day in the Mullins Center, including high-touch areas.  
  • Multiple hand sanitizing stations are set up across the Mullins Center. Individuals are instructed to use hand sanitizer prior to coming into the Mullins Center and then after they perform their test. 
  • Touchless UCard reader gathers individual contact information. 
  • Plexiglass is installed in the Registration Area and in the Testing Area. 
  • Staff are tested twice a week.

Are COVID-19 test results confidential?

Yes, your results are completely confidential. We will share our testing data with the Broad Institute in Cambridge, which is supplying the test kits and completing the results. Through the state’s Maven system, the UMass Amherst Department of Public Health will have access to these results as required by Massachusetts state law. The UMass Amherst Public Health department will conduct case investigations and contact tracing per state guidelines.

Do I need to self-isolate or quarantine while waiting for my COVID-19 test results?

In some cases, yes, but in general no.

Yes: If you have just come to campus from any of the states that Massachusetts has deemed as at higher risk, AND you have not been tested prior to arriving on campus., then you need to quarantine until you are tested twice. See travel details and information. If you are being tested at University Health Services because you have any symptoms, even mild ones, then you need to isolate in your room until you get your results.


No: If you are part of the university’s routine asymptomatic testing program and are getting tested once or twice a week, then you do not need to quarantine while you await your test results.

Why is UMass Amherst requiring the PCR test and not accepting the rapid response antigen test?

Research demonstrates that the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test is more reliable than the rapid response antigen test.

What if I only have a class once a week? Do I still need to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week?

(Updated Aug. 18, 2020) Yes, you will need to be tested twice a week, but if this is a logistical problem for you because of issues like distance, childcare or transportation, please email testing@umass.edu and we will work with you on a modified testing schedule.

 

Do students have to have their UMass ID to get a COVID-19 test?

Yes.

What do I need to bring with me when I’m getting tested for COVID-19? Can I bring a parent/guardian/friend for support?

You should bring your student or employee ID. You cannot bring a friend or family member with you, but if you have a student or co-worker who also needs testing you can schedule your tests for the same time slot and go together.

How long will my COVID-19 asymptomatic testing appointment take?

The registration and testing process should take under five minutes.

How do minors give consent to be tested for COVID-19?

All students who are under 18 must complete this form in order to get tested. Please fill it out, have your parent or guardian sign it, and bring it with you when you come for testing.

Do I have to be tested for COVID-19 twice weekly if my only in-person course is an internship that is not on campus?

(Added Aug. 14, 2020) Yes, you will need to be tested twice a week to keep you and your internship site safe. If this is a problem because of issues such as distance, childcare or transportation, please email testing@umass.edu and we will work with you on a modified testing schedule.

I need to reschedule my COVID-19 test. How do I do that?

If you missed your scheduled test, simply go to the UMass Health Hub app and schedule another one for the next available slot. If you are a student getting tested twice a week, we recommend you stay on a Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday schedule.

If I have already tested positive for COVID-19 prior to move-in, do I still need to be tested?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of coming to campus, please bring a copy of the results. You will not require testing until it has been 90 days since your last positive test.

Can individuals be asked if they are compliant with the UMass asymptomatic testing program?

(Added Sept. 11, 2020) No. Neither supervisors nor faculty can ask staff or students if these individuals have been tested, nor can they ask to see any results. This information is private medical information. Trained staff from the Public Health Promotion Center are identifying individuals who are non-compliant with the asymptomatic testing program and are reaching out as appropriate.

Who do I contact if I have a question about asymptomatic COVID-19 testing?

Students, faculty and staff can email testing@umass.edu with questions related to asymptomatic testing at the Mullins Center. Please be aware this email is not for private health information, but for logistical or technical help with the testing process.

Finances FAQs

Will there be any tuition or fee reductions if I am taking classes remotely and not living on campus?

Generally, no. Tuition and fee are the same regardless of modality.

How do I contact the Financial Aid office?

The staff answers incoming phone calls Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4 p.m. Call 413-545-0801. You can also schedule a phone call or a Zoom appointment with a counselor by submitting an appointment request at yes.umass.edu/register/FinancialAidCallBack, or by emailing finaid@finaid.umass.edu.

How can I make use of online financial aid resources?

The Financial Aid website has instructional videos, an informational chatbot that can assist with frequently asked questions, links to loan and scholarship information, and all the forms needed to complete an appeal, verification, and other financial aid related process.

 

I was awarded Federal Work Study. Can I work this Spring if I’m “remote”?

Students with Federal Work-Study who are interested in pursuing university work for the academic year will be allowed to work remotely, as long as the job tasks can be performed remotely, and there is documented supervision.

Students with Federal Work Study awards will earn money only if they are employed with the university, based on the hours worked and paid via direct deposit paycheck on a bi-weekly basis. The only way to access funds from a Federal Work-Study award is through earnings for hours worked..

If a student becomes ill with COVID-19, will a refund be provided for any unused meal plan?

We will accommodate refunds similar to a medical withdrawal as needed.

I canceled housing and will be studying remotely. Do I have to cancel the meal plan or will it automatically be credited?

Your meal plan will be cancelled with your housing cancellation.  Your tuition account should reflect both changes before the start of the semester.

I need to send a document. How can I do that?

Many forms can be completed via DocuSign directly from the Financial Aid website. If you prefer not to use DocuSign or if you’re submitting a document that can’t be completed via DocuSign, send an email to fadocs@umass.edu or finaid@finaid.umass.edu. You can also fax (413-545-1700) a clear and legible copy of your document. If you’re sending a photo or scan of a document, make sure it is in .jpg, .png, or .pdf format, and that the student’s 8-digit SPIRE ID number is clearly visible on each page.

Documents can be mailed to Office of Financial Aid, 243 Whitmore Administration Building, 181 Presidents Drive,  Amherst, MA 01003. In-person document drop-off is currently available at the same location from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Please note that a few forms require in-person drop-off or original notarized documents. Check your SPIRE To Do List or the instructions on your form for more information.

My financial circumstances have changed, or they are not accurately represented on the FAFSA. Is there an appeals process?

We offer appeals for some specific circumstances, such as loss of student or parent employment, unexpected significant medical expenses, and changes in marital status. Please review our appeal instructions under the heading “Appeal for Special Circumstances” at www.umass.edu/umfa/forms. If you feel your situation is a fit for our appeal process and would like more information, please contact our office. Please note that not all appeals result in a change to the student’s financial aid award.

 

What happens to my aid if I decide to take the spring semester off?

Call, email or set up an appointment with the Financial Aid office to discuss.

What happens to my aid if I decide to attend part time this semester?

Call, email or set up an appointment with the Financial Aid office to discuss.

 

What happens to my financial aid if I start the semester and then need to withdraw for whatever reason?

Call, email or set up an appointment with the Financial Aid office to discuss.

If I go part-time or take the semester off, will I lose my scholarship forever?

Call, email or set up an appointment with the Financial Aid office to discuss. We’ll review your scholarship awards and will provide you with information on the specific rules for each of your scholarships.  If you have a scholarship from outside the university (e.g., through your high school, home town, community foundation, etc.) you’ll need to speak with your scholarship provider. UMass disburses outside scholarships according to the scholarship provider’s preferences.

If you received a scholarship from your academic department, please check with your school/college or department to see if you are eligible to keep your award if you enroll part-time. You cannot receive any financial aid in a semester in which you are not enrolled.

Can I make changes to my loan? For example, can I cancel, reduce, increase, adjust,  or reinstate a loan, if formerly cancelled?

Yes, loan adjustments can be made by completing our Loan Change Request form at www.umass.edu/umfa/forms via DocuSign. Please note we cannot exceed per-semester or per-year maximum amounts determined by the lender. Call, email, or set up an appointment with our office if you have questions about your specific loan eligibility and amounts.

Is there financial aid for the Winter Session?

There is no federal, state, or institutional aid for the winter session. Some private loans and “outside” scholarship providers may allow students to borrow loans or use scholarships for the winter term. Check with the loan or scholarship provider for more information.

General FAQs

Can I take the Spring semester off and return in Fall 2021? 

Yes. New students or students who are currently enrolled in UMass classes should review the withdrawal and required re-enrollment procedures. Students who withdraw for Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 will not be charged the standard $60 Re-enrollment Fee. The deadline to re-enroll for Fall 2021 is March 15, 2021. Academic advisors and Financial Aid staff can assist students as they consider plans for timely degree completion. International students should consult with their International Programs Office advisor before making any decision to withdraw, as there might be visa implications.

Are PVTA buses running?

Yes, though some schedules have been changed. Visit the UMass Transportation Services page for current information.