College announces changes to financial planning, summer plans, course pre-registration

Jackson Hartigan

A series of emails sent out by the College over the past week has detailed further plans for how the College will adjust to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The first email, sent on April 9 by Provost Dukes Love, described plans to form a new ad hoc advisory committee on financial planning. An email sent by President of the College Maud S. Mandel several hours earlier first announced the creation of the committee. Love wrote, “The COVID-19 pandemic will have a substantial impact on our endowment, expectations for philanthropy, and the financial need of our students and their families.” The Committee would address such changes to ensure financial stability while “preserving, and as much as possible advancing, the educational mission of the college.”

The committee consists of 19 members, including faculty, staff and students. Those who wish to provide input can write directly to the committee through its website.

“Of course, no group is large enough to truly represent all of the different areas of the college,” Love wrote. “So instead of asking them to act as a representative committee we have explicitly charged them with serving as a hub to draw input from committees, areas and people across campus.” The committee will also hold forums with various constituencies to discuss financial options.

Another email, sent on April 11 by Dean of Faculty Denise Buell, announced that course pre-registration, along with major and concentration declaration for sophomores, will be pushed from April, as formerly planned, to June.

“This delay will allow us to have more information about next year, including whether the college might need to make any changes in light of updated public health recommendations and new insights about COVID-19,” Buell said. The course catalogue will be released a few weeks before the pre-registration deadline.

A third email, sent by Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom, explained that on-campus summer opportunities will not be held during June and July, and summer fellowship application deadlines have been extended. The email also addressed questions about summer housing for students who may need to stay on campus.

Sandstrom began by addressing student housing during the summer. Students currently on campus will be allowed to remain there during the summer if necessary, though the number of students who will need to do so is currently unclear.

 “The college is not ruling out the possibility that students might be able to be on campus for a portion of the late summer, should public health guidelines permit,” Sandstrom explained. “But given that the situation related to COVID-19 remains uncertain for the coming months, the college needs to plan for students to access campus opportunities remotely, to the extent possible.”

Students planning to work with a faculty member on research through the Class of 1957 Fellowship or summer science research fellowships, as well as students planning to be employed as research assistants, are instructed to immediately contact the appropriate faculty members and determine how best to carry out their position remotely, if possible. The College has waived the on-campus work expectation for Class of 1957 Fellowships.

Other programs, including the Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowships, Allison Davis Fellowships, Summer Humanities and Social Sciences and the Summer Science programs for incoming cohorts of first-year students will be conducted remotely.

Sandstrom’s email also announced that summer fellowship and internship funding application deadlines have been extended to various new dates. Those who have already applied are instructed to contact their respective programs to discuss any changes they may need to make to their plan in light of travel restrictions and closures.