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Fall 2020 Enrolling Student FAQs

On Aug. 5, with six weeks to go until Santa Clara’s fall quarter begins, President Kevin O’Brien, S.J., announced that Santa Clara University had made the difficult decision to continue remote learning for our undergraduates for the fall quarter, with some limited exceptions, and to suspend plans to bring students back to on-campus housing, again with some exceptions. We are joined in this decision by many other universities locally and across the region, including University of San Francisco, UC Berkeley, San Jose State, St. Mary’s College, University of the Pacific, and a growing list of institutions in California and other states.

Everything we are announcing applies to fall 2020 only. 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. 

By several key measures, such as average daily new cases and hospitalizations, the COVID-19 trajectory in the Bay Area and California has worsened since we moved to remote learning in the spring. This has implications for the availability (and turnaround times) of testing, health care capacity, and ongoing restrictions on interpersonal activity. We have been in regular contact with local health officials. Unfortunately, the state of California has not yet issued any updated guidance to higher education, but recent directives haved required K-12 schools, including those in our area, to begin their year online, until cases recede. Finally, in both our county and state, the fastest-growing demographic for COVID-19 infection is 18-34 year olds. 

We have heard from many students and families who have experienced financial hardships as a result of the pandemic and have asked for assistance. In light of this, we will delay the 3.75% tuition increase previously scheduled to begin this fall quarter until the winter quarter (or spring semester for our graduate programs). We will waive the undergraduate enhancement fee for the fall quarter as well. Graduate school fees for the fall quarter/semester will be reviewed on a school-by-school basis.

We are currently working to process the tuition reduction (from rolling back the 3.75% tuition increase that was scheduled to apply to fall quarter) as well as the enhancement fee waiver for families.

The credit for the reduction in tuition and the enhancement fee will be posted to undergraduate students' accounts within 3-5 days. You do not need to do anything in order for these credits to appear on the student account. You can view the real-time adjustments and the new, lower balance due, on the Parent Authorized User portal. Students can view the changes on eCampus. A new billing statement will be generated on September 1.

If you have already enrolled in the monthly payment plan, your amount due will be rebalanced in September so that the subsequent payments will be reduced accordingly. If you have paid the account balance in full, the credit can remain on the student account to apply to future charges. If you need the credit refunded to you or your student, we will begin processing student refunds the second week of the quarter.

Please note that your student’s account will reflect the corrected amount due prior to the August 21 payment deadline so you can either pay in full or enroll in the monthly payment plan as needed. If you need assistance understanding the new amount due, please feel free to reach out to us for assistance.

In addition, if you plan on waiving the University Health Insurance, please ensure you do so by the deadline of September 25th or else your student will be enrolled in the plan for the year and you must pay the premium. Your student can complete the health insurance waiver at

The Dewars Tuition Insurance Plan charge of $70 is charged to the student’s account if he or she is enrolled in 12 units or more. We highly encourage you to take advantage of this low cost insurance to help protect your investment in your student’s education in the event he or she needs to withdraw from fall quarter for medical or mental health reasons. If you do not wish for your student to be enrolled in the Tuition Insurance Plan, you must complete the waiver by September 20 online at The waiver is for the entire academic year.


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

For those with financial aid packages: Please note that additional information will be forthcoming in the early weeks of August to address questions students will have about financial aid.


Only a few courses, such as performance-based, specialty, or lab courses will have some limited in-person components. The remainder of undergraduate courses will be taught remotely.

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.

More detailed academic information from the Office of the Registrar will be forthcoming by mid-August.

Students are being strongly encouraged to reconsider housing plans, if possible, and remain at home this fall. 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.


Students are being strongly encouraged to remain at their permanent residences this fall. Emergency housing for undergraduate students will be available only 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 Financial Aid Office)

If you believe you meet one of the aforementioned criteria, you must log into eCampus and complete a supplemental application.


For students who live close to campus, more information will be forthcoming by late August on availability of campus spaces and facilities, including shared spaces for learning and studying.

Students who have challenges to learning and live far from campus can apply to live on campus on an emergency basis. One of the criteria for granting emergency housing requests will be for 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.

Further information will be available later in August at the On-Campus Living website.

Bronco Athletics is reviewing the status of fall sports with guidance from public health authorities, the West Coast Conference (WCC), and the NCAA. A few of our teams are engaging in permissible strength and conditioning activities that observe strict public health and safety measures, while we await additional updates in the coming weeks.

Prior to the start of the term, a returning student would need to meet with a University advisor in the Drahmann Center to withdraw as well as discuss the process to re-enroll. If the student is an incoming student, they need to contact

There are certain types of aid that will remain for gap year students and other types of aid that will be canceled. Incoming students should direct gap year questions to The admission counselors would like to speak to each student/family individually if they are considering a gap year so that they can discuss specifics on a case-by-case basis and ensure that the student is making the right decision for the right reasons.

The traditional reasons for a gap year are not applicable during the pandemic (internships, travel abroad, etc.), so the counselors want to have one-on-one conversations with the families. Aid renewal is an important part of that conversation.

If a current student takes a quarter off, their aid is reinstated when they return, for the same amounts. And as long as they remain on track to graduate in 4 years, nothing changes. Their SCU aid is only awarded for 12 consecutive quarters so they wouldn't get aid if they needed to stay past 4 years.

Students can refer to the undergrad bulletin about bringing in up to 10 elective credits once matriculated.

The current plan is for the learning commons and library to be open for the university community. Patrons will be able to check out materials, use the study space as well as to speak with library staff.  It is anticipated that hours will be shortened and capacity limited to ensure social distancing. All of this is predicated on guidance from the county.