Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please use the form below to ask us. We will add the answer to this page as soon as possible.

Admissions

The Office of Undergraduate Admission rarely approves requests to defer admission to a future term or academic year. However, students who would like to request a deferral of enrollment may submit the Request for Deferment form. The Request for Deferment form will be available from April 15 to June 15, 2020. You will receive a response to your request for deferment by July 31, 2020.

See the Admissions FAQ for more answers for admitted and prospective students.

Basic needs


The Basic Needs Center serves as a resource hub for undergraduate and graduate students who need support around their food, housing and financial needs. Services include case management, emergency housing, CalFresh and emergency food resources, as well as basic needs drop-in services. If you or someone you know is in immediate need of emergency food, housing or financial resources, please email basicneedssupport@berkeley.edu or call 510-859-7507 (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) for immediate support.

Yes, however, note that the Basic Needs Center is transitioning from a daily food pantry operation to a weekly operation and has moved operations temporarily to 103 Sproul to accommodate pop up food pantry operations and deliveries.”. Visit the Basic Needs Center/Food Pantry COVID-19 updates page for the latest information.

Cal Dining

See the Cal Dining COVID-19 page for frequently asked questions about dining and meal plans.

Cal Housing

See the COVID-19 housing FAQ for answers to the most commonly asked questions about housing.

Campus operations

No, but some campus buildings are closed and some services are being curtailed. Many campus units, including student housing, dining, health services, and counseling and psychological services, will continue to provide services, though some services may be modified. Please review the coronavirus (COVID-19) information page for the latest updates on changes to campus operations.

No. See the instruction section of the coronavirus (COVID-19) information page for more information.

No, the Recreational Sports Facility is closed.

Visit the Supply Chain update for more information about deliveries to campus.

Disabilities and accommodations

DSP will continue to partner with instructors to ensure students’ disability and housing accommodations are provided. The following are email addresses that instructors and students can contact for DSP-captioning and ASL (dsp-captioning@berkeley.edu)  accessible formats (dspamc@berkeley.edu), proctoring (proctoring@berkeley.edu), and note taking (dspnotes@berkeley.edu). Please contact dsp@berkeley.edu for additional questions or assistance regarding student accommodations.

Events and attractions

Commencement has been postponed. See the message from Chancellor Carol Christ for more information.

Tours have been suspended and the Koret Visitor Center is closed through May 15.

IAll department or administrative events and all events held on university property are canceled through May 3, 2020. See the “events and attractions” section of the COVID-19 page for a complete list or visit the attraction’s website directly.

Finances

See the finance FAQ for answers to finance-related questions.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

See the what’s new in Financial Aid and Scholarships page or open a case for options related to paying your tuition or concerns about your ability to pay.

A student’s financial aid award is based on several factors, including their living arrangement. The Cost of Attendance serves as the foundation for determining financial need as well as the amounts and types of financial aid, including grants and scholarships, that can be offered. You can find estimates for the costs using the cost of attendance resources. Students who are living with family or relatives have a lower cost of attendance, and therefore, have a reduced eligibility for financial aid. This includes a prorated adjustment to grants and scholarships that aligns with the housing type change.

We encourage students to update their housing type directly in CalCentral to estimate how their aid may be impacted. The Update Housing link can be found in the Financial Aid and Scholarships section, in the My Finances section of Cal Central. This tool allows students to estimate changes to the Cost of Attendance, financial need and awards in real time.

A student’s financial aid award is based on several factors, including their living arrangement. The Cost of Attendance serves as the foundation for determining financial need as well as the amounts and types of financial aid, including grants and scholarships, that can be offered. Students who are living off campus have a lower cost of attendance, and therefore, have a reduced eligibility for financial aid. This includes a prorated adjustment to grants and scholarships that aligns with the housing type change.

We encourage students to update their housing type directly in CalCentral to estimate how their aid may be impacted. The Update Housing link can be found on the Financial Aid and Scholarships section, in the My Finances section of Cal Central. This tool allows students to estimate changes to the Cost of Attendance, financial need and awards in real time.

Grading

Answers to questions about P/NP and other grading issues:

Graduate students

See the COVID-19 information graduate students page for answers to frequently asked questions, including a statement for prospective students regarding grades during this challenging time.

Health

See the coronavirus (COVID-19) health FAQ for answers to health-related questions.

Hiring

See the hiring freeze FAQ for answers to hiring questions.

Instruction

UC Berkeley has made the decision to continue remote delivery of instruction in place of face-to-face classes through Summer Sessions 2020. Instructors who had previously been scheduled to teach face-to-face classes have been instructed to begin adjusting their class content to be delivered remotely using Zoom, bCourses, and other tools. It is clear that not all courses can be offered through remote instruction. We have asked departments to work with instructors to identify courses that cannot be delivered remotely and cancel them on the Online Schedule of Classes by April 10. Additional courses may be added in the coming weeks. You can feel free to register for any class you need at any time, as all cancellation penalties are being waived until the beginning of Summer Sessions on May 25.

No, the campus has decided that the health of the community is more important than having in-person exams. Asking students to come in for exams would also place a major burden on international and out-of-state students who have decided to return home and cannot feasibly come back to campus.

In responding to this outbreak, one of our main principles has been to do what we can to ensure that enrolled students are able to complete the academic work they’ve signed up for this semester. Recognizing that this situation is far from ideal, we are still doing everything in our power not to cancel classes — the loss of the semester would be disruptive for many students who have sketched out their academic trajectory and are relying on completing specific courses, and would be particularly problematic for the many seniors who have jobs or graduate school lined up after this semester.

We are working closely with our local public health officials to determine when we will resume in-person instruction. At this time we don’t have an estimated date. Some or all instruction for all or part of Academic Year 2020-2021 may be delivered via remote instruction.

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 or social distancing. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff will always be our top priority.

If we are prohibited from engaging in in-person instruction by the start of the fall semester, or it is otherwise not appropriate to carry out in-person instruction, then classes will be delivered via remote instruction until our local public health officials determine when we may be able to resume in-person activities and we determine that in-person instruction is appropriate. We will not cancel the fall semester.

We do not know exactly when these decisions will be made because the public health picture remains uncertain. We understand that students need to make decisions about housing for the fall so we are offering flexibility (see below). 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. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff will always be our top priority. We’re also 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. We appreciate your patience as we weigh these factors and gather more information about what the situation may be like in the fall. 

Some or all instruction for all or part of Academic Year 2020-2021 may be delivered via remote instruction. Tuition and mandatory fees 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. 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. There has never before been such a widespread and rapid shift to remote instruction across disciplines. Methods continue to evolve as faculty share best practices and students give feedback. However, at our core, the university’s instruction still remains based on the knowledge, expertise and experience of our top-quality faculty members as the foundation for student instruction regardless of the delivery method. Even if they are not on campus, students are generally able to access all required instructional materials, complete their coursework, and make timely progress towards their degree. Students are continuing to earn full credit for their coursework, and university-wide charges like tuition, the student services fee, and nonresident supplemental tuition continue to help cover the faculty’s delivery of instruction, other educational costs, and the cost of essential student services such as registration, financial aid, and remote academic advising.

Some campus-based fees were established to support certain efforts like the Wellness Fee which is paying for many essential health services. Others were established to maintain the safety of buildings or other facilities when necessary for the health and safety of students—e.g., to address seismic deficiencies. As UC campuses such as ours have curtailed limited aspects of their operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the costs that campus-based fees are intended to cover continue. Debt service for student facilities and the need to maintain campus infrastructure, for example, continue.  The fact that campus-based fees would in part be paid by all students who do not individually benefit from the fees was discussed in referrenda documents considered by the students who voted to authorize that these fees be charged to future students.

The overall Golden Bear Experience consists of four major components: Golden Bear Advising and Golden Bear Prep (both completed online, before you arrive) and Golden Bear Orientation and Getting Your Bearings (in-person programs, completed once you’re here). Golden Bear Advising and Golden Bear Prep will continue as scheduled. We are working closely with our local public health officials to determine when we may be able to resume in-person activities. Golden Bear Orientation and Getting Your Bearings events will be held in-person. If there are changes to the Fall 2020 semester, programming will shift to a future semester. Based on guidance from local public health officials at the time, programming may be adjusted, such as reducing the size of gatherings, so that we can comply with that guidance.

Under normal operations, all new students receive priority for housing. It is not possible to know at this time whether the COVID-19 pandemic will allow for normal operations in student housing and residential life in Academic Year 2020-2021. Consequently, we cannot guarantee housing priority at this time but we are committed to supporting students if they want to live on or near campus.

For returning students, if fall classes are offered via remote instruction, we want to empower you to make the best decision for you and your family. We will keep the residential halls and apartments open as they are the primary residence for many students, unless we are required by public health authorities to close them. To date, we have not received any such closure order. If you do choose to live in University owned or affiliated housing, we will allow students the opportunity to be relieved of the financial obligations of their housing and applicable dining contracts and receive a prorated refund if the campus doesn’t resume in-person instruction during the 2020-2021 academic year or ends in-person instruction for an extended period of time (for example, in-person instruction is cancelled for more than 30 consecutive instructional days). We will share more information as we have it.

For off campus housing, students should pay close attention to the terms of their lease. Most off campus leases will not provide prorated refunds if students leave mid-lease. Consider trying to negotiate with the landlord for a month-to-month lease. This will give you more flexibility. Given the circumstances, some landlords may be more willing to negotiate. Learn more about leases in this tip sheet.

Given the uncertainty the world faces, some students may not be able to safely travel to campus. Even if in-person classes resume, we will accommodate students who require a remote learning option. We will offer a large set of virtual courses to ensure that remote learners can advance their educational goals.

The Academic Senate modified the grading policy for the spring 2020 semester to default to Passed/Not Passed (P/NP) for undergraduates. Graduate students were given the option to switch to Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grading and graduate programs were permitted to increase the fraction of S/U courses that can count toward degree requirements beyond the existing cap. This was in response to the mid-semester disruption of transitioning to remote instruction and the stress of the rapidly developing pandemic. Decisions for fall will be made by the Academic Senate and will take into account the situation at the time. Our goal is to best support students in their academic journey.

Research

See the vice chancellor for research page on COVID-19 research operations and continuity planning for a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions.

Tuition

We do not anticipate a tuition refund. We are delivering instruction, albeit remotely, and students are earning credits toward a Berkeley degree. We are, however, providing pro-rated housing and dining fee refunds to students who have chosen to leave the residence halls for the remainder of the semester.


If you don’t see the answer to your question above, ask us