We know that you have questions about the upcoming year. You can submit comments or questions not addressed here through our online form or via fall2020@oxy.edu. We are updating FAQs and other content on the COVID-19 website regularly.

Last updated 7/31/20


How do I petition to live on campus this fall?

For Fall 2020, the College will be able to support up to 200 students who are either (a) international students, as verified by the International Programs Office, or (b) students with significant housing hardship. The petition form is here. A campus committee with members from the Dean of Students Office, Intercultural Center, Emmons Wellness Center, Disability Services, and Residential Education and Housing Services will review all petitions and notify students of the status of their petition by Friday, July 24.

Why do I have to petition again to live on campus? Can’t you use my answer from the June survey?

The June survey criteria were based on a housing plan with far more students with far more students. Different criteria have to be applied to prioritize a much smaller number of available spaces.

Will students who are offered on-campus housing be required to move out and empty their dorm after Thanksgiving?

We don’t know at this point. If we bring large numbers of students back to campus in Spring 2021, room assignments would have to be adjusted. However, it’s important to note that students accepted to live on campus this fall will be guaranteed to space for spring.

Will a few RAs still be necessary for the ~200 students who will be living on campus?

REHS has suspended the RA Program for the Fall 2020 semester, and hopes to have RAs return in the spring if the College allows a larger residential capacity. REHS professional staff will continue to support the needs of our on-campus students.

Can I live off-campus this fall?


Off-campus housing costs of up to $13,066 are included in the cost of attendance for financial aid recipients living off campus.

Can you clarify if students living off campus for Fall 2020 are still able to have a meal plan through Occidental dining services?

Students living off campus will be able to purchase a meal plan, using a no-contact pick-up system now in development. See the meal plan selection form in MyOxy for more information. (You must be a student to be able to access this form.)

Will campus remain closed to non-Oxy community members?

Yes, it will.


What training are professors receiving and how will they create strong connections with students? Will professors be meeting with students individually or in small groups regularly?

The Center for Teaching Excellence, in conjunction with a faculty pedagogy committee, has developed training for all faculty this summer, and we have an array of pedagogy workshops informed by best practices in teaching remotely that faculty are involved in. Faculty are committed to developing and maintaining the close personalized pedagogical relationships with students while using online tools. Faculty will be in touch with their students at the regularly scheduled class periods, through email and/or via our course management system, Moodle, regularly. Students will have opportunities for small group interactions with faculty to facilitate the meeting of the learning goals of their courses. Students will be expected to respond to outreach from faculty, and will be encouraged to be actively engaged in their courses. The usual support from the Dean of Students Office and Disability services will be available to students, as will the Writing Center, Peer Learning and other peer tutoring services at the College.

What reassurance can you offer regarding the quality of teaching? How will this fall be different (or better) than Spring 2020?

While our instruction for the fall will be almost exclusively remote, the high-touch personalized classroom experience that is the signature of an Occidental liberal arts education during the best of times will be delivered electronically through a rich array of online video conferencing technologies. Faculty have been preparing for online instruction all summer, including extensive trainings and special pedagogical workshops. The experience will be different from Spring 2020, when things were abruptly shifted. Classes are being reimagined and will be dynamic. In all of their courses, students can expect instruction that happens synchronously (in real-time) with the faculty member who is teaching the course. As always, our faculty will be teaching using a multitude of pedagogical approaches and methods, and students, whether they are taking science labs, practica, upper division seminars, introductory courses, courses that meet Core Program requirements, can expect in each of their courses a rigorous, personalized experience enhanced by close small-group or one-on-one experiences with the faculty member teaching the course.

Are outside credits from other institutions allowed for returning students? How many?

Our existing policy allows students up to 64 units of transfer credit. In order for a course to count towards graduation requirements, the chair of the relevant Oxy department would need to pre-approve the course as meeting college standards, and could serve as a reasonable substitute for an Oxy course. Please refer to the transfer credit section of the course catalog and speak with your academic adviser.

For online courses, what about time zone differences? What about synchronous interaction with other students and faculty?

The Fall 2020 Supplemental Course Info page details which classes will be synchronous, and some departments may also note if classes will be recorded. Students will be expected to be available for their courses during scheduled class meeting times, and can expect opportunities for conferencing or tutorials in small groups with their faculty outside of the scheduled class meeting times for some of their courses. Expectations for synchronous class attendance and any asynchronous learning opportunities will be made clear in the course syllabi. All students living in non-U.S. time zones will have opportunities for live small group or 1:1 experiences during standard working hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m. PST), and will have opportunities to take exams at times that accommodate their home time zone.

Will all classes be available?

学生各专业将能够朝着他们的学位的进步。有些课程已经从秋天到春天转移,以确保每个我们提供了这个秋季班将有一个能有效地实现,而无需物理接近的学习目标。更新的上课时间将是7月20日的一周内共享的学生人数不多的会发现,他们需要修改,因为引入了冲突的他们的日程安排。在改变过程中瓶盖可能需要一些学生改变他们的日程安排和远程格式可能会导致一些教师和学生对某些课程转移到后来学期。对于 first-year students and transfers, most advising appointments will take place August 3-5. Your faculty advisor will contact you prior to these dates in order to schedule a virtual meeting with you. Registration for new students will take place on August 6-7. Further details on course registration

What if a student tries the on-line learning for a few weeks and decides that it is just not working for them? Is it possible to withdraw without any penalties?

Once a student completes the Clearance process they are considered an officially enrolled student. After that point, if a student decides to withdraw they initiate that process by filing a Leave/Withdrawal Form, Grades of 'W' (withdrawal) are recorded on the transcript (a non-punitive grade) and tuition owed for the semester is determined by withdrawal date (see the academic calendar for percentages). Students would also use up one semester of financial aid eligibility (contact Financial Aid for details.)

When will the class schedule and registration be available? Does anyone receive priority registration?

Returning students will be able to make changes to their classes starting July 27. First-year students will register for classes early in August. Further dates and details. Students interested in finding out more about how faculty are planning to teach their courses can refer to this supplemental course information page, which gives information by department or program offering the course. We do not offer priority registration save for those students registered with Disability Services with a documented disability that requires priority registration. In general, returning students register first, followed by transfer and incoming first-year students.

How will the anticipated course offering adjustments impact time-to-degree? Will students still be able to graduate on time?

We are still offering a robust array of offerings across disciplines. A small number of courses had to be canceled/moved to a later semester, but most of our courses are being adapted to the remote environment, allowing all students to make normal progress towards their degrees. And where we lowered course caps in courses that were already full, we have opened additional sections to ensure that students can continue their progress.

Are there changes to grading policies for the fall semester?

The Academic Planning Committee, which includes an ASOC representative, is meeting this summer to review spring policy changes. They expect to have a recommendation for fall before the beginning of the Fall semester.

Is it possible to attend fall semester part time (<12 credits)?

Students are able to petition to be part time this semester. To do so, submit a Petition for Special Consideration form to the Registrar’s Office explaining why you plan to continue part-time.

Can I take a leave of absence?

寮国(相对于缺口岁)通过注册办公室处理。回国的学生可能需要一个学期,一年或更长的LOA,并可以在其他地方参加课程。如果他们愿意的课程为转移,他们将需要经过通常的过程(通过将容纳当然,如果它是在氧提供系主任批准,核心主任批准计数的核心需求)。审批必须采取路线之前收到,并通过学分转移和替代课程表(位于提交 Registrar's forms page). Returning from LOA is easy and simply requires a form to be submitted to the Registrar.

Incoming transfers that defer for a year have the option to transfer one course for credit. Whether the class can be used to fulfill a Core requirement or a requirement in the intended major is up to the Registrar's Office or individual department. They should reach out to the department(s) to get confirmation on transferable courses before enrolling in a class.

Are UN Program and Campaign Semester still happening? What is the new Oxy Immersive Semester program?

Both programs will be offered virtually this fall. An Oxy Immersive Semester is an immersive educational experiences that include a cluster of coursework and community-based/internship components, all focused around a specific topic of study. Students enrolled in the programs will dedicate a semester to a focused, multidisciplinary engagement with a topic. Because of the small class sizes, they will build a robust, close-knit intellectual community with peers and with Oxy faculty in their program.

Will study abroad be possible in 2021?

As conditions allow, Oxy is currently planning to offer Spring 2021 study abroad and faculty-led research travel as well as Oxy courses with a summer travel component.

How will labs, studio arts, theater and other courses dependent on hands-on experience be taught?

Faculty are planning alternatives, rescheduling some to spring, and information will be provided by individual instructors or departments, as appropriate.

How will senior comps be handled?

Senior comps decisions will be made by each individual academic department. Students should reach out to their academic advisers for specific guidance.

How will students access materials for research from the library?

All of the library databases, as well as 75,000 scholarly journals and nearly 700,000 ebooks, are online and available 24/7. Get more information and updates on accessing print materials and Oxy's Special Collections & College Archives.


Will there be a tuition discount since we’re going all-remote?

All Occidental students who enroll in the Fall 2020 semester will receive a one-time $1,500 tuition credit for that semester.


When will we know what our financial aid package will be?

All students receiving financial aid can expect an updated package on or before July 29.

How will a gap year or semester affect a student's financial aid or scholarship package?

First-year students apply for financial aid for the year they actually matriculate into Oxy, which would be fall 2021 if a gap year application for the 2020-21 academic year is approved. If you were offered a merit-based scholarship, you will have the same merit scholarship when matriculating into Oxy after your gap year. Need-based grants are subject to change if financial situations change for you and your family. A new financial aid application would need to be submitted for the 2021-22 academic year and a new financial aid package offered in the spring of 2021. At this time, there is not an opportunity for new first-year students to take a gap semester. However, if you are a transfer or international student matriculating in the spring semester of the upcoming academic year, the financial aid package you'll shortly receive is applied for the entire academic year.

What is considered part time and how will financial aid and merit scholarships be impacted?

Part-time status means a student is enrolled in 11 or fewer units with the approval of the Registrar's Office. Merit scholarships and need-based financial aid funds are pro-rated if a student is enrolled less than full-time. Students enrolled in fewer than 6 units are not eligible for merit scholarships or institutional grant assistance.

How does off-campus housing impact a student's financial aid award?

There are different cost of attendance budgets for students with on-campus and off-campus housing. Oxy is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need of the cost of attendance. You can see the budgets used for calculating the cost of attendance for on- and off-campus here.

Why does it look like I am being charged for room and board in my financial aid package?

While each financial aid package includes room and board expenses to calculate the annual cost of attendance, students living off campus will not be charged for room and board. The reference to room and board under indirect costs in your award letter simply means that the College recognizes that paying for a place to live and food to eat is part of the cost of attending Oxy. You can find more information on the Costs & Financial Aid page.

Given that my typical scholarships and need-based grant aid typically cover the entirety of my tuition as well as most of my housing, will I still be receiving financial assistance for housing off-campus?

Yes, off-campus housing costs of up to $13,066 are included in the cost of attendance for off-campus living arrangements.

Do you students need to notify the Financial Aid office if they are not living at home?

No, they do not.

Will a change in status this semester and/or year affect a 4-year merit scholarship once the student returns full-time?

Your merit scholarship is active for eight full-time semesters. If you choose to take a gap semester or year, those "gaps" will not count toward the eight semesters of eligibility.

I’m a student employee. Will I still have a job this fall?

The decision to go all-remote will require us to revisit this issue. We will send up a follow-up message with more details for student employees, including work-study, need-based Oxy work awards and RAs.

Technical Assistance for Remote Learning

How do I request computer equipment or internet access assistance if I don’t have the tools I need to take remote classes?

For students in need of assistance, ITS will loan laptops, wifi hotspots or other tools to support remote classes. As we only have a limited number available, we ask that you please only request a laptop or internet access assistance if you absolutely do not have access to a computer or internet. To apply for assistance, please fill out this technology support request form and it will be reviewed and decided upon by a committee including ITS, Academic Affairs, Dean of Students Office and Financial Aid.

Will students have access to their Oxy email address during a leave of absence? How do they stay informed of college updates while on a leave of absence?

Yes, they will have access to Oxy email and to all Oxy updates.

Student Life

How will the college foster virtual community connections for students and their peers? For students and their professors?


Our faculty have been working throughout the summer to redesign and rethink their classes, create new approaches, and develop new courses that are tailored for a high-quality, personal, interactive online experience. Likewise, our Student Affairs team has been working to develop virtual programming and involvement opportunities for students this fall. Read the Deans’ message to first-years

Will student clubs and organizations continue during a remote semester?


When is Orientation happening?

Orientation will take place virtually, August 21-23. The initial phase of Orientation, “Kickstart Oxy” takes place July 27-29 and features virtual, peer-to-peer engagements that will help new students become more familiar with our campus and the student resources available. The full schedule is available online.

What forms of support will be available to students remotely?


Will there be fall sports? What about other seasons?

Due to continuing health and safety concerns, we will not be participating in intercollegiate athletics in Fall 2020. Oxy Athletics will continue to work with the SCIAC to evaluate opportunities for our student-athletes in other seasons. Club sports are also cancelled for fall.

Will there be a Parents Weekend in the Fall?

We will host a virtual Fall 2020 Homecoming and Family Weekend celebration, and will be in touch after the start of classes with more details.

What will Spring 2021 look like in terms of mode of instruction and housing?

While no decisions have been made about spring semester, our current intent is to offer in-person instruction and, as conditions allow, to return more students to campus. Our ability to do so will benefit significantly from the work and planning that has been underway over the past several months and which will continue into the fall.

First-Year Questions

How will the College facilitate social connections and support systems for incoming first-years if they are attending remotely?

Although instruction will be virtual in Fall 2020, Oxy is still here to support our incoming students with a full range of services and programming, starting this summer. We are also developing content for an online Academic Success Center that will help students find resources that are tailored to their specific interest and needs. We launched the Wayfinders program to help incoming students connect with both Oxy community members and each other. Virtual programming is available through the Summer Student Workshops, and first-years can meet their peers through the L.A. Engage program. There's also KickStart Oxy (July 29-31), New Student Orientation (Aug. 21-23) and Welcome Week. You can also celebrate the start of the new year with other incoming students and their families virtually through Summer Community Celebrations. Welcome Week activities, workshops, and virtual mixers are designed to connect faculty, staff, and students for a student-centered Oxy experience.

Why can’t first-years considered for on-campus housing, especially those who do have hardships at home. Will any exceptions be made?


International Students

What happens to international students who can’t be in the U.S. to take remote classes?

The July 6 ICE directive was rescinded on July 14. This means that ICE is returning to the spring 2020 guidance which allowed returning students to maintain valid F-1 visa status as long as they are enrolled full-time (12 units) in Occidental classes even if those courses are delivered through remote instruction and the student may be either located inside or outside the U.S. New internation students may enroll in remote classes at Oxy. Federal guidance of July 24 indicates that new international students "will not be able to enter the United States to enroll in a U.S. schools as a nonimmigrant student for fall term to pursue a full course of study that is 100 percent online." Students can enroll in courses from home and the student visa record will be deferred for arrival in spring 2021.

Who is considered an international student? Is a U.S. citizen who lives abroad treated as an international student?

Officially, only F1 visa holders are considered "international" by the College, but many College departments are aware of Oxy students who are U.S. citizens living overseas. U.S. passport holders or U.S. permanent residents living abroad should make their situation clear in communications with the College.

Will tuition fees be reduced for students taking online classes from China?

Tuition is the same for all Oxy students studying remotely. Occidental is not able to contract classes at universities in all the locations that Oxy students now live either in the U.S. or abroad. A returning student could take a one-semester leave of absence to take courses at a local university, provided they have obtained prior approval, but new students would need to consult with Admission about their overall status.

If an International student decides to take a gap semester/gap year, what is that going to be like?


For Spring 2021, will we be allowed to still study remotely from our own home countries?

We aren’t in a position to be able to answer this question at this time.

Information for Staff

When will we know whether or not we are expected to return to campus for work?

Human Resources is working on a return-to-work process; supervisors will be identifying positions that need to be on campus. If you're working from home, you can continue to do so until directed otherwise by your supervisor. Look for future updates from HR.

What accommodations can the College provide to employees who are working parents and whose children attend public schools that will be fully remote this fall?

If you need an accommodation based on child care concerns, contact Jacie Feigelman at jacalynf@oxy.edu.

We’ve been told to expect additional budget cuts later this fall. When can we expect to learn more about the size of the cuts and what the resulting impacts will be?

A virtual all-staff meeting will be held on Friday, July 17 at 9 a.m. at which President Elam and senior staff will discuss the Fall 2020 decision and talk about next steps, including financial implications for the College. A clearer picture of the implications of the financial impact of all-remote instruction this fall won't be available until early August.

What health and safety measures will be in place to protect me at work?

You can find a complete account of health and safety measures here.

Will campus continue to be closed to outsiders this fall?


Will the Child Development Center be reopening any time soon?

No final decision has been made yet. The CDC is faced with the same challenging health and safety issues that all other preschools are.

Have there been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus?

Five people, all Oxy staff members, have tested positive for COVID-19—on July 19, July 15, June 21, July 22, and July 24. We followed our notification and tracing policies in each case. The staff member who tested positive on June 21 was completely asymptomatic and has since returned to work. None of the cases appear to be related.

What do I do if I get sick?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, contact HR or Sara Semal ASAP to notify us so that contact tracing and quarantining can be conducted and community notices can be made (if warranted). Please note that your personal information and diagnoses will remain confidential.