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8/5: Fall 2020 Academics, Housing, Student Life, and Community Expectations

The following message was emailed to the campus community on August 5, 2020.

Dear Santa Clara University Students, 

Thank you for your ongoing patience, support and understanding as Santa Clara pivots to a new plan for fall 2020—one for which we extensively prepared, but hoped we would not need to implement. As Father O’Brien announced, our fall 2020 undergraduate courses, like our graduate ones, will be conducted primarily online. Further, on-campus housing will be restricted, as it was in March, to only those with demonstrated, emergency need. 

We know that families are feeling buffeted by these changes, even as they are making important decisions for the fall quarter. We deeply sympathize with the high level of persistent uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Our own decisions as a University are dependent on guidance and data that are rapidly changing, yet have profound implications for the health, safety, and welfare of our students, faculty, and staff. 

Below, we share key information about our revised fall 2020 registration and course information, financial assistance, fall housing update, on- and off-campus student expectations, and student engagement.  

Delivering a Student-Focused Education in the Jesuit Tradition 

The caliber of instruction that SCU delivers will continue to be intellectually rigorous, student-focused, and grounded in the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, care for the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. Well before this week’s decision that fall 2020 courses will be primarily online, hundreds of our faculty and academic support staff had been hard at work planning for rich virtual classroom experiences that take advantage of the latest technology and best online teaching practices to bring enhanced and inclusive learning opportunities to our students. With every course redesigned to optimize the remote nature of instruction, students will experience a variety of flexible course modalities—a mix of real-time, professor-led classes, recorded lectures, activities and assignments, virtual class discussions with classmates and instructors, and one-on-one online time with professors. Faculty will record course content so students across all time zones have access.

Over the next three weeks, the Office of the Registrar will be working closely with the undergraduate programs to gather detailed information about specific learning modalities. Course Avail will be updated to provide additional detail about course format so that students have an idea of what kind of learning environment they can expect for each class. We will provide a registration update by August 31 that will include guidance on revised course descriptions and details about the September add/drop registration process.

Helping Our Families Through These Difficult Financial Times

We know that many families' financial situations have changed over these last few months. As a result, we have increased our financial aid budget and created a special fund to give grants this year, which is supported by our alumni and other benefactors. In addition, the University has received funds from the federal stimulus package, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which has already helped more than a thousand students with up to $1,500 for unanticipated expenses related to campus disruptions from COVID-19. 

  • Those in need of small grants from the SCU Emergency Assistance Fund—created by our generous donor community of alumni and friends—are encouraged to complete a request. 
  • Students who demonstrate need and meet eligibility requirements for funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, set forth by the Department of Education (DOE), can apply through eCampus. More details are available at the CARES Act Relief Fund FAQ page.
  • Students needing a greater level of assistance may be able to establish increased eligibility for financial aid and/or other forms of relief funding. Students are advised to inform the University Office of Financial Aid about any significant change in their family financial circumstances. 
  • Students can still file a 2020-21 FAFSA to determine their eligibility for federal aid by going to If your family's finances recently changed, and you need to make corrections to your FAFSA, please visit for more information or contact our financial aid office at

Emergency-Only Housing for Undergraduates, Fall 2020

Given the necessity to protect our campus from worsening COVID-19 trends, fall 2020 campus housing contracts will be canceled. We strongly recommend students reconsider housing plans and remain home this fall.  Emergency housing for undergraduate students will be available for those meeting one of the criteria below. 

  • Safety and Security: Student from a home environment that is not safe or healthy; where a member of their household has a chronic illness or is terminally ill; or a student with an approved accommodation under ADA.
  • Housing Insecure: Students who are homeless, or who do not have a permanent residence to which they can return; or international students who are currently in the US who have immigration, travel, and/or visa restrictions or are without off-campus housing options.
  • Academic Success: Students who identify on-campus housing as necessary to serve their academic success. This includes students with extremely limited internet connectivity at home; a requirement for in-person course attendance to make progress toward their degree; student athletes; or students who are unable to effectively study from an off-campus location.
  • Financial Security: Students who have a financial hardship for which the student needs campus accommodations (in consultation with the Financial Aid Office).

If you believe you meet one or more of these criteria, you must log into your Housing portal via eCampus starting Monday, August 10 and complete a supplemental application by Monday August 17. Applications will be reviewed and approved on a rolling basis. 

In the coming days, the On-Campus Living website will have additional details. Only those students who receive an assignment through the supplemental application process will be billed for student housing and meal plans once fall assignments are confirmed.

Community Expectations for On- and Off-Campus Students

This pandemic is bigger than just us. We need to practice and maintain  foresight and unwavering commitment to do what is right and call upon others to do the same. We are one community of students, faculty and staff and each of us plays an important role in keeping each other safe and ending the pandemic. We call upon each of us to model what is right and to ask the same of those within our respective spheres of influence.

As we have seen in outbreaks at other universities, it only takes one gathering (on- or off-campus, indoors or outdoors) that brings together multiple people from separate households in a single space, to risk the health of each attendee and everyone they come in contact with, prolong the pandemic, and further delay our plans to advance the re-opening of our campus community. Students are advised that non-compliance with a State of California or Santa Clara County Health Order, or University Order could result in violations of the Student Conduct Code.  

Given the impact that COVID-19 has already had on our campus—forcing us to stay apart from one another for another academic quarter— SCU will embark on a rigorous—and strictly enforced—campaign to ensure that our students, staff, and faculty make the sacrifices necessary to weather this period without outbreaks or harm to our neighboring communities. The goal will be to bring us all to the other side of this pandemic healthy, on track to earning your degree, and stronger. Expect to hear more about this campaign in upcoming campus messages, social media, and campus signage. 

A Robust Virtual Campus Life

Even online, Santa Clara will maintain our array of opportunities for students to follow their passions, explore new interests, and maintain their physical and emotional health—from mindfulness and meditation practices offered by Campus Ministry; to any of more than 150 student organizations focused on interests like entrepreneurship, poetry, STEM, or social justice; to student government and leadership opportunities; to career counseling or internship guidance. Our staff members and offices have continued to maintain an active and vibrant virtual meeting and event schedule with many of our student leaders and student organizations. Our concern for community and engagement remains strong--even in current challenges.

Excellent Infection Prevention

Everyone —whether they come on campus or not—will be fully trained in University expectations to do their part to help halt the spread of COVID-19, among both our campus members and our off-campus, neighboring communities where many of our students will be spending fall 2020. Signs are posted throughout the campus reminding our community of these expectations.

Everyone will be expected to:

  • Complete daily symptom screenings 
  • Not come to campus if you are sick or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms
  • Participate in SCU’s COVID-19 contact tracing program
  • Wear face coverings at all times on campus—indoors and outdoors
  • Practice social distancing (6-feet minimum) at all times—indoors and outdoors
  • Wash or sanitize hands frequently throughout the day
  • Practice good cough and sneeze hygiene
  • Abide by posted occupancy limits in elevators.
  • Those students who receive waivers to live in on-campus housing will not be permitted to enter other residence halls, host any guests, or use many communal facilities. 

Career Services

Santa Clara’s Career Center will continue to offer initiatives, virtually for now, to help students at all phases of their career preparation and search, including Career Boosters bringing students virtually to employer sites; recruitment opportunities; mentoring classes or Q&As; career coaching sessions; virtual career fairs; employer and industry meetups; and mock and real employment interviews. The Center also offers resources including career guides; job prep toolkits for resumes, networking, and LinkedIn; and career exploration tools. See the Career Center’s COVID-19 website for more information. 

Supporting Mental Health and Wellness

We miss all of you. We know you miss one another, the campus community, and the fulfillment of sharing your Santa Clara experience with others. These times can lead to uncertainty, stress, and loneliness, and we encourage you to seek out resources to get the support you need. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), will utilize a virtual and an in-person model in meeting the mental health needs of the Santa Clara University student body. Outside of a critical need to meet with a student in-person as determined by one of the Center's practitioners, most of the Center's services will be offered virtually. Wellness Wednesdays (online) throughout the fall term will offer ways to engage students in various wellness topics (nutrition, physical activity, connecting online/social isolation, etc). There will be a Mental Health Resource Drive early in the fall quarter to educate students about both on- and off-campus resources. 

Student Activities/Involvement/Engagement

Multiple departments across the campus will provide ways to practice self-care, and provide opportunities for student engagement and overall wellness during this time of COVID. We hope all students will take away the culture of wellness and social connectedness as we go through the nine weeks of the quarter. A few examples to look forward to:

  • During Week 1, the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) will host a Virtual Involvement Fair. Over 150 student organizations, campus departments, and club sports will participate—sharing ways to get involved, showcasing programs they will be hosting this fall, and much more. Look out for Zoom details by following the CSI Instagram @csiscu.
  • Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and Chartered Student Organizations (CSOs) will be hosting a variety of virtual events throughout the quarter. To view the RSO directory, visit this link: To view a list of our CSOs, visit this link:
  • Christian Life Community (CLC): Join one of numerous small faith-sharing groups of about 10 other students each, for sharing and reflection once a week. All are welcome regardless of faith or religious identity. Learn more here:
  • Follow the CSI YouTube channel to view videos from our student organizations.

Academic Support Services to Enhance Your SCU Experience

The Office of Accessible Education (OAE) has compiled a list of topics that address questions surrounding accommodations for students with disabilities. OAE offers 1:1 appointments via Zoom and telephone appointments with students and faculty as well as drop-in hours virtually for faculty and students. 

Although the fall term will be very different from what we’re used to, retaining as much of our Bronco experience as possible remains central to all of our efforts. We will continue watching trends and seeking guidance from state and county health authorities to determine if expanding in-person instruction and on-campus housing might be possible for the winter quarter which begins in January 2021. 

We will continue to provide timely updates, respond to questions that are posed to our email address, and provide support to those struggling with difficult decisions in these hard times. Our Prepared SCU website contains updated information and FAQs. We miss you. We care about you. Until we are able to be together again, please stay safe and well.


Lisa Kloppenberg
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Robin Reynolds
Associate Vice President, Auxiliary Services

Jeanne Rosenberger
Vice Provost for Student Life