Important update: grading, room & board, summer school, commencement
As we approach the end of our second week of remote learning, we have some good news to share on a number of fronts that have concerned many students during this time of transition.
Yesterday, our faculty approved a policy to allow all students the ability to take any or all of their currently ongoing spring 2020 courses on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis (this is the Oglethorpe equivalent of pass/fail). If you decide to change any of your courses to S/U, you will still earn credit toward your degree requirements if you receive a grade of Satisfactory. You must actively select any courses you wish to take on a S/U basis by submitting this online form to the HUB for Enrollment Services. The deadline for these requests is no later than April 18th. Please consult with your instructors and advisors with any questions as you make these decisions. You can find the detailed policy along with a Q&A on the HUB website.
Room and Board Compensation
We will be providing compensation to students who left university housing due to social distancing measures enacted as a result of the coronavirus. The amount each student receives will vary depending on their residence hall and meal plan and will appear as a credit on their university account. If you have an outstanding balance, the credit will be applied toward that first. Any remaining credit will apply to summer and/or fall semester charges. Graduating seniors with a credit balance will receive a check for the remaining balance in their account. Distributions will begin next week and students will be able to view their balances in OASIS by Friday, April 14.
Additionally, some students whose campus jobs through the Federal Work Study program ended due to the closure of campus may receive a portion of unused work study funds applied toward outstanding balances with Oglethorpe. These will also appear in OASIS in the coming days.
If you have questions after viewing your updated balance online, email email@example.com.
Summer Classes Online
We are still planning to offer summer courses and, if available, for-credit internships this summer. All summer courses will be offered 100% online, allowing you to continue your learning at home. We have also lowered the tuition rate for these courses to $450/ cr. hr. and just $225/ cr. hr. for internships. If you need to catch up or choose to get ahead on your coursework, we encourage you to check out the summer course listings in OASIS. Options range from Art and Core to Politics and Spanish and include lab sciences in Chemistry and Physics. And if you receive compensation for room and board, those credit balances can apply toward your summer coursework.
Senior Commencement Survey
Graduating seniors should watch your email next week for a link to a commencement survey. Oglethorpe staff and senior class leaders have developed a survey to solicit input on possible recommendations for future commencement and senior celebrations. We look forward to celebrating your accomplishments with friends, family, faculty and staff and want to be sure all participants have an opportunity to weigh in on how we proceed.
We are here to help and support you
We know these are stressful times for everyone. The landscape seems to change several times a day and we greatly appreciate your patience as we work through these complicated issues. Please remember, if you need someone to talk to, our Counseling Center is still open and providing virtual individual and group sessions. If you’re having difficulty in your classes, please reach out to your professors and Academic Success, which is offering virtual one-to-one tutoring and supplemental instruction.
A final note
The Covid-19 outbreak has had serious financial implications for businesses worldwide and Oglethorpe is not an exception. Room and board compensation for students alone will cost the university in excess of a million dollars, not to mention lost revenue from summer study abroad programs, summer camps, rentals and other vital revenue sources. The majority of the university budget is spent on student scholarships, faculty and staff salaries, and campus infrastructure. While everyone has been sent home, teaching and learning continues, vital student services are still being provided, and we are taking care of the physical campus. At the same time, in addition to savings that come from closing the campus, we are enacting a number of cost-saving measures now to ensure we emerge from this a strong institution this fall. These measures include personal financial sacrifices by our staff, faculty and administration so that resources can be focused on students.
We take comfort in knowing that all of this is temporary and look forward to everyone in the Oglethorpe family coming back together in a few short months. We are resilient. We are Petrels.
Stay stormy and stay well.