Frequently Asked Questions About the Spring 2021 Semester for New Incoming Traditional Undergraduate Students
Will FPU be face-to-face for the Spring 2021 semester?
For the spring term, most classes will be conducted remotely (online) through Zoom and Moodle. Lab and studio arts classes will be conducted on campus based on available space and the ability to strictly comply with all health and safety protocols. And some classes will return to face-to face meetings while maintaining only 25% occupancy in each classroom and complying with all health and safety protocols, including social distancing and the wearing of face masks. Those face-to-face classes may be conducted in a hybrid modality to simultaneously include students who are in the classroom and students who are connected via Zoom live from their residences.
What services are open to assist me while we are online?
- Academic Success Center – Including tutoring, writing assistance, academic coaching and more!
- Counseling Center – Provides free online private mental health counseling sessions to FPU students
- Office of Spiritual Formation and Diversity
- ALAS Intercultural Learning Center
- STEM Learning Communities
- Hiebert Library
- Campus Life
- Sunbird Food Pantry
- Residence Life
- Commuter Services
- Student Financial Services
- College Hour and Mentoring
- IT Help Desk
- Registrar’s Office
- Information Desk
- Athletic Office
- Campus Safety (for on-campus issues)
- Career Development
And more! This is not a complete list, just a sample of ALL the services still open at FPU while you are taking classes online. Please keep in mind that “open” may not be the physical office on campus. Some services are operating remotely. Please check before coming to campus.
Will my tuition be reduced because of going online?
Moving classes online or to a hybrid format can pose a challenge for some students and be beneficial to others. In either case, our main concern, next to safety, is to help every student succeed in their educational goals. To this end, FPU has chosen not to discount tuition, which would force a reduction in student support, but rather to take proactive steps to help students succeed in an online environment. Some of these steps include:
- Adding staff to act as mentors to sophomores and juniors
- Increasing the level of support in the Academic Success Center
- Providing faculty additional training in online course development and teaching
- Bringing in outside experts to help improve the quality of our online classes
- Implementing software to improve our online interactions with students
- Purchasing laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots to loan to students who need them
- Hiring additional faculty to keep section sizes low
- Making emergency grants available to students experiencing financial difficulty because of the coronavirus
We are confident these steps and others, combined with the personal attention FPU is known for, will help our students succeed online this semester. If you have concerns about online learning, we encourage you to try the FPU online experience.
What about student fees?
Traditional Undergrad (TUG), Degree Completion (DC) and Graduate (GRAD) student fees help offset a variety of student support services, like those listed above, that will continue in the online mode. However, the TUG fee also includes a number of on-campus activities that will not take place. To account for this, the TUG student fee will be reduced from $249 to $150 for the spring semester.
Will my financial aid award change?
- Our Student Financial Services Office will be adjusting financial aid packages based on students moving from on-campus housing to living with their parents or off-campus. If you were planning to live on-campus and are now going to be at home, you will be receiving a new financial aid package in the next couple of weeks which will remove the on-campus room and board charges. In most cases, your balance due will be less than your original package.
- Academic and performance-based (music, theater, art, athletic) scholarship amounts will be honored up to the cost of tuition this spring.
- Keep in mind that some students may experience adjustments to their need-based aid as a result of changes to their cost of attendance and financial need. For example, in some cases, the Residence Success Grant (for on-campus) may be replaced by the Fresno Pacific Grant (for commuters).
- Our student financial services team is working hard to update all of the packages in a timely manner. Please be patient as they are working on getting them out.
My family has had financial challenges because of the Coronavirus situation. Can you help me?
FPU has emergency funds available for students who qualify for federal financial aid and who need help paying for their education because of the coronavirus (e.g., the student or a parent lost a job). Please contact the Student Financial Services Office for details at 559-453-2041 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are jobs available on campus? I was awarded work study.
There will be a very limited number of jobs available on campus due to the shift to online learning for the spring semester. Opportunities for work-study and off-campus jobs can be found through the Career Development Center.
Will the residence halls be open? What about my housing deposit?
The residence halls will be open with limited capacity, and will prioritize students that lived on campus during the Fall semester of 2020, student athletes, and students who live out of the region/state/country. Housing on campus will also be available to students that have approved exemptions to live on campus. As requirements relax the university may reevaluate the possibility of other students moving onto to campus in small numbers.
If you believe that you fall into the significant housing need category, please contact Mandie Wall, director of residence life and housing, at email@example.com.
If you submitted a housing deposit, it will automatically be kept on file and will be applied to the next semester that you choose to enroll in housing. If you would like it refunded to you, please contact Mandie Wall, as well. By requesting a refund, you will lose your current place in the housing list and will be housed on a space-available basis once housing opens up more.
I don’t think online is the right option for me. What steps do I take to withdraw from classes?
Online education is not for everyone. We would welcome a conversation to talk with you about your online concerns before you make a final decision. We do offer quite a bit of support online for students. However, if you do make the decision to withdraw, and wish to withdraw before the start of classes, please contact your admissions counselor to begin the process. If you are withdrawing before the semester begins, you may also defer your admission to the spring. The enrollment deposit can be moved and applied to a future term.
If you are withdrawing after the start of the semester, please make sure you are familiar with the drop policy for the Spring 2021 term prior to withdrawing. This will inform you on how much of a refund on tuition you are eligible for. There is a significant change in the amount refunded if you withdraw after classes begin (Week 1 is 100% refund).
If I start online and it is not working out, can I withdraw? Are there fees?
While we don’t like to see students go, yes, you can withdraw if done before the drop deadline. Keep in mind that there are certain fees depending on when you withdraw. You may drop during the first week of classes at 100% refund. After the first week, the amount drops significantly, so please make sure that if you are considering dropping you do so during the first week. We encourage you to meet with your advisor/mentor, or connect with Jesse Torres, director of student persistence, at Jesse.Torres@fresno.edu before dropping to see if there is anything we can do to assist you and provide support for you before you decide to withdraw. If you withdraw, your financial aid will be adjusted, and funds may need to be returned. Please consult with your financial aid advisor prior to withdrawing to determine how a withdrawal will affect your financial aid.
I don’t have internet access or a computer. I am concerned that I won’t be able to keep up. Are there resources to assist me?
We do have some resources for students who have limited internet or computer access. Please contact the Academic Success Center for more information.
I just don’t learn well online. Can I speak with someone about what to expect? Will there be information on what is expected during online classes?
Our Student Admission Ambassadors would be happy to talk with you about their online learning experiences. If you would like to connect with one of them, please call the office at 559-453-2039 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.
If I am a student with a disability, what type of accommodations will I receive?
If you are approved to receive accommodations or have questions about any of our disability services, please contact Melinda Gunning, director of disability access and education, at Melinda.Gunning@fresno.edu.
Is New Spring Orientation Still Happening? How Will it Work?
The Campus Life Office will be reaching out to you in December about plans for a spring New Student Orientation.
How can I pay my bill?
Students can pay their bill online by going to my.fpu.edu and clicking on the Online Payments tile. This is the preferred method. If you would prefer to pay over the phone or in person, please contact the Cashier’s Office at 559-453-5586 for posted times.
I am an athlete. Will coaches hold practice? If so, how will they implement social distancing?
FPU athletics will be reaching out to all recruited and current athletes with practice information and safety guidelines established by FPU and the NCAA. If you have concerns or questions, please contact your coach or the department of athletics.
How will I be able to connect with my professor’s face-to-face if I have a problem?
You will receive a class syllabus for each of your online classes. It will provide you with contact information for your professor including email and office phone number – in some cases even cell phone numbers. While professors may not physically be in their offices, our phone system is set up to ring to their device via Skype for Business. Their office phone number is not tied to a landline phone. In addition, most faculty members will list office hours. These office hour times can be used to schedule one-on-one video or phone conferences. Professors may also give you additional ways to contact them in the syllabus or during your online class.
We realize you may have additional questions and ones we are still working on answering for you. Please check back for updates to this FAQ list as more will be posted as information is released.