FAQs for Spring 2021

FAQs for Spring 2021

International Student FAQs 

Can I 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 international students need to self-quarantine?

All international students will be subject to the same quarantine and testing rules that apply to out-of-state students traveling from higher-risk states. Please see the information for arrival and quarantine.

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 

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. 

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. 

General FAQs 

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

(Added Nov. 12, 2010) 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.

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.

Will the PVTA bus service be operating in the spring?

Service levels will increase for the spring semester to accommodate increased levels of ridership. Detailed information is available on routes and public health safety measures on PVTA buses.

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 i

How do I select on-campus housing for spring?

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.

How much will it cost to live on campus during spring 2021?

Rates will be based on the type of assignment students secure. Apartments and suites will be billed at higher rates than single and shared spaces in traditional halls. Please see the Rates and Fees page for a complete list of rates.

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.

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 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 housing available on the Mount Ida Campus in Newton?

An alternative residential option for students, including sophomores and juniors not enrolled in a face-to-face class, is the Mount Ida Campus in Newton. Students who may be interested in living on the Mount Ida campus for Spring 2021 should fill out the campus's housing inquiry form. Please visit the Mount Ida Housing page for additional information. 

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.

I live in break housing for fall 2020, when will I move into my spring 2021 assignment?

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

Is there a restriction on guests in the residence halls?

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

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 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.

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.

Will lounges and other common areas in the residence halls be open and available to students?

Common areas will be open as public health metrics allow. Each common space will have a posted COVID-19 occupancy limit that allows for adequate social distancing. 

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.

What meal plans will be available?

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

How can I select or change my meal plan?

You will be able to make a meal plan selection once fall 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.

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.

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.

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

Students isolated or quarantined due to COVID will receive prepared meals delivered to their housing location. Additionally, if a student has an allergy, we will provide meals that are in line with their medical needs or dietary preferences. Dining Services will work in collaboration with University Health Services and Off Campus Student Life to determine the best course of action for an off-campus student quarantined or isolated due to COVID. 

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.

Financial Aid FAQs

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.

Can I make use of online resources?

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

Many forms can be completed via DocuSign directly from the Financial Aid websiteIf 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.

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..

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.

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.

What will happen 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 aid if I decide to take the spring semester off?

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.

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.