Explore UArts’ fall plan

Sent to the UArts community July 23, 2020

Dear students, faculty and staff, 

I write to you today with an important update regarding our plan for opening this fall. Over the past two weeks, our world has continued to change as the virus proceeds to wreak havoc across the country and the globe. Cases in the U.S. have continued to rise. State and local guidance has changed. Personal and collective responsibility at every level continues to be debated. We too have continually evaluated and re-evaluated our position as an arts university in the heart of a major city, and the role we will play in the pandemic.

Though we just released the details of our Fall 2020 Opening Plan on July 13, it has become clear there is no way to host a sustained in-person semester that maintains the quality of the educational experience without compromising our values and our number one priority: the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. 

With this in mind, University of the Arts will begin the 2020-2021 academic year with a fully remote fall semester, with all courses beginning Monday, Aug. 31. This decision has been made by the University’s President’s Council (senior staff and academic deans), together with overwhelming support from faculty and the unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees.  

This decision has not been made lightly. As a community of creatives, our modes of practice draw us toward one another and toward our studios, rehearsal spaces and stages. We know our entire community wants nothing more than to return to campus. Indeed, faculty and staff have spent hundreds of hours over the past months researching, planning and debating how to inhabit our physical campus safely in light of the continued rise in viral cases throughout the nation, and how we might manage the limits utilizing social distancing, mask wearing and capacity maximums. Yet the continued changes to official guidance and the uncertainties regarding the timing of an effective treatment or vaccine presented our community with risks we are unwilling to take with the lives of our students, faculty and staff.

We also know that we cannot wait for the decisions and policies of our governing agencies. We know the nuances of our creative work and of embodied practices—how we sing, perform, dance, dream, design and make. And we understand how our practices may be uniquely compromised and/or made unsafe by the circumstances COVID has created—both in person and in a remote fashion. Earlier this week, I met with the faculty from each school. We shared in the recognition that current circumstances leave us with no perfect choices. Each scenario presents its own combination of both health and financial risks. In turn, each school held their own faculty meetings to discuss the options presented to us as an institution and report their collective sentiment or vote back to their respective dean. The overwhelming majority of our faculty recognized that proceeding with our Fall 2020 Opening Plan presented grave risks to the physical wellbeing of our community and voted for a fully remote fall semester, which in turn was fully supported by all members of President’s Council.

As an institution, we recognize this choice may have serious financial implications, but above all, we as a community must return to our core values. As I stated in March, our mission of advancing human creativity can only be pursued when our community of students, faculty and staff are healthy, safe and thriving. To jeopardize the physical wellbeing of our UArts and broader community is a risk University of the Arts will not take. 

For fall 2020, we will move forward as a creative community bound not by a physical campus, but by a shared value. We understand that with this change many questions arise. With that in mind, the following actions will be implemented for the fall semester.

  • Academic Calendar Adjustments
    In light of a fully remote semester, we will revert back to our original academic calendar. All courses will begin on Monday, Aug. 31. New Student Orientation will begin the week of Aug. 24. The semester will conclude on Dec. 18. Thanksgiving break will be observed Wednesday, Nov. 25 – Friday, Nov. 27. 

  • Advising & Registration
    Detailed information concerning advising and registration will soon be sent by the Office of the Registrar. New registration for the fall semester is currently closed, but will reopen after fall course sections have been updated to reflect the transition to remote delivery. Registration appointment times will be assigned to support registration priority based on major and class level. Incoming students will be contacted by the advising center to schedule one-on-one advising meetings. Returning students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their advisor, who will work with students to ensure they maintain degree progress and can help finalize their fall schedule.

  • Tuition Adjustment
    We acknowledge the financial strain that the global pandemic has placed on our students and their families. Though the University’s cost of instruction and operations will not decline and our revenue will decrease, the Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to reverse the previously approved tuition increase and freeze tuition at the 2019–2020 level for the fall semester. This will result in a tuition reduction for all students. All student accounts will be reviewed and students will receive an adjusted billing statement by Friday, July 31. In light of the new changes for the fall semester, the deadline for billing will be extended until Monday, Aug. 10. Any student who has already paid their bill will receive a credit which may be requested as a refund if no outstanding balances are due.

  • Residential Students & Meal Plans
    In efforts to reduce the spread of COVID, University housing will remain closed for the fall semester. No students will be permitted to reside on campus. Any student who has already paid for housing for the fall semester will be issued a full refund. As campus will be closed to all students for the fall semester, dining facilities will not be in service. Any student who has paid for a meal plan for the fall semester will receive a refund. 

In addition, you may be wondering how this change will impact your experience within each school. Below we have provided links to pages that include letters from each school. More detailed program information will be added next week from the directors of specific programs.

School of Art 
School of Dance 
School of Design
School of Film
School of Music
School of Theater 
Graduate & Professional Studies

Looking ahead, please know our planning continues. Updates will be made frequently and we encourage all students, faculty and staff to check their emails regularly as well as bookmark uarts.edu/fall2020. Families are encouraged to register for the Generations newsletter to receive public updates.

Best wishes,

David

David Yager
President & CEO 

Recent Communications to the UArts Community

UArts Shares Details About Fall Semester (July 13) (sent to current students, faculty and staff)

COVID-19 Update (June 5) (sent to faculty and staff)

Fall Semester Update (May 29) (sent to current students, faculty and staff)

COVID-19 Update (May 5) (sent to current students, faculty and staff)

Retrieving your Belongings (residential and academic spaces) (April 27) (sent to all students)

Update & Commencement Plans (April 10) (sent to all graduating students) 

COVID Update for Residential Students (March 20) (sent to all residential students)

Update: COVID-19 follow-up (March 16) (sent to all students)

UArts COVID-19 Remote Working (March 16) (sent to all faculty & staff)

Residential Student Update (March 13) (Sent to all residential students)

UArts Response to Covid-19 (March 13) (sent to all students, faculty, staff & community members)

Residential Living Update: COVID-19 (March 13) (sent to all residential students)

Message to Parents: Extension of Spring Break (March 11) (sent to parents & families)

Announcement: Updated Information about Spring Break (March 11) (sent to students)

Message to Students: Extension of Spring Break (March 10; updated March 11) (sent to students)

Update: UArts COVID-19 Response (March 10) (sent to all faculty & staff)

Campus Safety Update: Coronavirus (March 2) (sent to all faculty & staff)

Remote Learning Resources


Remote Learning Resources for Students 


Remote Resources for Faculty/Staff 

 

UArts Contact Information

For academic questions: Office of the Provost: provost@uarts.edu
For financial aid questions: Student Financial Services: finaid@uarts.edu 
For health-related questions: Student Health Services: healthservices@uarts.edu 
For housing-related questions: Office of Residence Life & Conduct: reslife@uarts.edu
For international student questions: Office of Student Affairs: studentaffairs@uarts.edu
For any other student life questions: Office of Student Affairs: studentaffairs@uarts.edu 
 

For information about COVID-19

Visit the CDC’s COVID-19 online hub. 

Visit the CDC’s FAQ. 

The CDC has also issued a series of anti-stigma guidelines.

UArts’ Response to Coronavirus FAQs

General FAQ

FAQ: Residential Students

FAQ: Counseling

FAQ: Academic Support Services

FAQ: Health Services

FAQ: Prospective and Admitted Students and Families

 

Remote Learning Resources

Remote Learning Resources for Students

Remote Resources for Faculty/Staff 


Questions?
For academic questions: Office of the Provost: provost@uarts.edu
For financial aid questions: Student Financial Services: finaid@uarts.edu 
For health-related questions: Student Health Services: healthservices@uarts.edu 
For housing-related questions: Office of Residence Life & Conduct: reslife@uarts.edu
For international student questions: Office of Student Affairs: studentaffairs@uarts.edu
For any other student life questions: Office of Student Affairs: studentaffairs@uarts.edu 

HEERF CARES Act Emergency Student Grant FAQ

What is the HEERF CARES Act Emergency Student Grant?
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) is part of the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It provides emergency grants from the U.S. Department of Education to eligible students to help cover education-related expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act directs recipients to use the funds they receive for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations resulting from the coronavirus. These include expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare and  childcare.

Who is eligible to receive CARES Act emergency student grants?
The U.S. Department of Education requires colleges and universities to confirm that students receiving CARES Act emergency grants meet basic eligibility for federal Title IV financial aid. These eligibility criteria include having a demonstrated financial need certified by 

  • the family-income information provided on the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); 
  • being a U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident or other eligible noncitizen; and 
  • being enrolled in a degree or certificate program and making satisfactory academic progress. 

For a complete list of federal student aid requirements, visit the Department of Education’s Student Financial Aid Eligibility Criteria page.

Is there an application process?
No. Eligible students will receive an email notifying them that they might meet the emergency grant criteria based on their FAFSA and academic information. Once students respond and confirm their status, their grants will be sent to them by check.

How much money is UArts receiving for student emergency grants, and how many students qualify?
UArts’ total allocation from the program is $912,833. Approximately 825 undergraduate students are potentially eligible to receive grants.

How did UArts determine the amount students will receive?
The University used a number of factors in calculating individual grant amounts. These factors centered on financial need based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculation that active students reported in their FAFSA filings.  

When will qualifying students be notified of their selection status and the amount of their grants?
Qualifying students who filed a FAFSA for the 2019–2020 academic year will be notified of their status  beginning July 13. 

How can students view their CARES Act grant status and amount?
Each qualifying student’s information can be found in their Student Self Service Account.

How will students receive their grants?
Eligible students will receive an email from the Office of Student Financial Services asking for confirmation of their billing address. Once that confirmation is received, checks will be mailed to confirmed billing addresses.

Are international or undocumented students eligible to receive funds from the CARES Act Federal Emergency Grant?
Unfortunately, the CARES Act is restricted to U.S. citizens or nationals, permanent residents or other noncitizens who are eligible for federal student financial aid. But UArts students who do not qualify might be eligible to receive assistance from the UArts Cares program and can also contact Student Financial Services to see what other assistance might be available.

Will receiving a grant through the HEERF CARES Act Student Emergency Grant affect a student’s regular financial aid?
No. Recipients of a HEERF Cares Act Student Emergency Grant will see no impact on the calculation of their full financial aid. Students may receive this grant in addition to other aid awarded.

Are CARES Act Emergency Student Grants taxable?
No. The grants are not included in gross taxable income. 

Can CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief funds be used to pay a student’s outstanding balance?
No, the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund grants are intended to go to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare and childcare expenses. The disbursement of the emergency student grant must remain unencumbered by the college; debts, charges, fees or other amounts owed to the college may not be deducted from the emergency financial aid grant.

Can students appeal decisions regarding their eligibility or the amount of their grant?
Student eligibility for a CARES Act grant is determined by rules set by the federal Department of Education. Grant amounts are calculated based on the allocation received by the University and the individual criteria described above. There is no process for appeal. However, students can contact the Office of Student Financial Services to find out if they are eligible for other assistance.

If a student receives a CARES Act Emergency Grant and subsequently withdraws from the fall semester, will they have to return the grant?
No. The CARES Act Emergency Grant funding is meant to provide one-time relief to mitigate the disruption caused by COVID-19. Under no circumstance will recipients of this grant have to return any portion of the funds.

I am a student who received an emergency financial aid grant under section 3504, 18004 or 18008 of the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Do I need to include that amount as a part of my gross income?
No. Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic—such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare or childcare—are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code. This grant is not includible in your gross income.

Learn more about HEERF. 

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) CARES Act

University of the Arts has applied for and has received funding through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) as part of the CARES Act from the U.S. Department of Education in the amount of $1,825,665, with $912,833 to be directly disbursed to eligible students who experienced financial hardships due to the impact of the disruption of classes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The University determined student eligibility based on the data reported in the results of the student aid report, produced by students who completed the 2019–2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Grant award amounts are determined based on the students EFC (Expected Family Contribution), with higher need students receiving the greatest award. 

Students who were determined eligible were sent a financial impact survey verifying that they experienced a financial impact. Once the survey is completed, the University will process the predetermined grant award or the lesser amount that the student identified as a financial impact and will send grant payment to the student at the address provided in the survey.

The estimated number of students determined eligible to receive funding under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 846 with the following grant awards processed.

July 21, 2020 – 257 students received a total grant award of $289,320  

July 28, 2020 – 166 students received a total grant award of $181,600  

Aug. 8, 2020 – 134 students received a total grant award of $101,550

Aug. 18, 2020 – 16 students received a total grant award of $16,175

Sept. 1, 2020 – 11 students received a total grant award of $11,650