April 29, 2020
Re: Fall 2020 Tuition and Fees
To: All students, faculty and staff
April 29, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
At UC Merced, we are working to make critical decisions for the coming academic year in this evolving situation — as is every university around the world. We have a website devoted to providing students with information about our response plans for COVID-19 that we update whenever new decisions or guidance become available, but we want to share the current state of our planning for Fall 2020:
Delivery of Instruction Decisions for Fall 2020
We will not cancel the fall semester. We are working closely with state and county public health officials to determine when we will resume in-person instruction. We are planning different scenarios, as we look to health experts and the data to help inform our decisions, and the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff will always be our top priority.
Some or all instruction for all or part of Academic Year 2020-2021 may be delivered via remote instruction. We do not know exactly when these decisions will be made because the public health picture remains uncertain. We are monitoring the situation closely and will make a decision about the fall semester as soon as there is enough information to do so.
We are making every effort to minimize disruptions to our educational mission and recognize that many students are eager to return to campus as soon as possible. When we do resume in-person instruction, it will likely be a phased approach with certain types of classes considered more appropriate to resume in-person than others. We will also likely make changes within classrooms and laboratories to observe public health directives and guidance such as increased hand washing, avoiding sharing equipment when possible, and recommendations on facial coverings and/or physical distancing.
Decisions about broadly offering Pass/ No Pass (P/NP) or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grading for fall semester will be made by the Academic Senate and will take into account the situation at the time. We appreciate your patience as we weigh these factors and gather more information about what the situation will be like in the fall.
Tuition and Student Fees for Fall 2020
Tuition and mandatory fees for Academic Year 20-21 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.
Campus-based fees support campus services, maintain facilities, and broadly support and preserve the campus infrastructure. As campus operations adjust to the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, our dedicated team of professionals remains committed to delivering the highest quality service possible. Campus-based fees will still be collected to support those efforts.
Student Housing for Fall 2020
Under normal operations, all incoming first-year students are required to live on campus for their first two academic years. It is not possible to know now whether the COVID-19 pandemic will result in changes to operations in student housing and residence education in Academic Year 2020-2021.
Consequently, we may not be able to meet all of the requests for on-campus housing that would allow students to fulfill UC Merced’s two-year residency requirement.
We will keep our residence halls open unless we are required by public health authorities to close. If students choose to live in campus housing and conditions affecting in-person instruction change either prior to the start of the semester or during the semester, we will allow students the opportunity to seek a full or pro-rated refund of housing and dining costs.
Students in off-campus housing should pay close attention to the terms of their lease. Most off-campus leases will not provide prorated refunds if students leave mid-lease. Students should consider trying to negotiate with the landlord for a month-to-month lease for more flexibility. Given the circumstances, some landlords may be more willing to negotiate. Students can learn more about off-campus housing services at https://och.ucmerced.edu/ and can seek advice through the UC Merced Law Clinic before signing leases.
We thank everyone for their understanding and resilience during these challenging and uncertain times. We are committed to providing students with the best educational experience possible and we will continue to inform our community of the latest developments as we plan for the coming fall.
Charles Nies, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Michael Riley, CPA
Interim Vice Chancellor and CFO