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Winter Quarter 2021 FAQs

Following up on a Jan. 9 message from the president and provost.

(Note this is the first of two FAQs. The second FAQ, published Jan. 11, is available here.)

Here is more information on winter quarter 2021, in connection with a change in the university's plans announced Jan. 9.

Spring and summer quarter plans

 

What does this mean for spring quarter? Who will be allowed on campus?

We are planning for juniors and seniors to join us on campus for the spring quarter in addition to student staff and special circumstances students. These plans, as always, are subject to the conditions of the pandemic.

What does this mean for summer?  

As we’ve shared, we are planning to have summer as a fourth quarter during the pandemic.  We will be inviting frosh, transfers and sophomores to campus for the summer quarter.  We believe this will be an important time of connection and reconnection for these classes.  We will continue to communicate as we work out course offerings and plans for the student experience during the summer quarter.

Can I keep my winter quarter housing assignment and friend group during summer quarter?

There will be a separate housing allocation process for summer quarter, based on our assessment of prevailing circumstances. Students will need to re-apply for housing, and resubmit their housing choices and friend group members. Every effort will be made to preserve friend groups in making assignments. Students with housing accommodations approved by the Office of Accessible Education will be assigned accordingly.

Can I still take a leave of absence?

Updated information, as of Jan. 11: 5 p.m. Tuesday, January 19 is the deadline to submit a Leave of Absence request for a full refund (see undergraduate leaves of absence and graduate leaves of absence).  After January 19, students will be charged prorated tuition based on their days of attendance, through the Term Withdraw Deadline (February 19). Please see Tuition and Refund Schedule for a full refund schedule. Students may declare their Flex Term, via the Quarterly Check-In, through 5 p.m. January 29.

Frosh: When circumstances arise which make it advisable or necessary for first-year students to take a leave of absence during any of their first three quarters, please note that the student is required to wait until Autumn Quarter of the following academic year to return.

International Students: Please consult with Bechtel International Center before taking a Leave of Absence to understand the implications on the ability to remain in the United States during such a leave.

More information is below, under Enrollment options.

Will Stanford vaccinate students in time for spring quarter?

We are following federal and state guidelines for distribution of the vaccine.  Here is the most recent information for our campus. At this time, there should be no presumption that Stanford will be allocated doses of the vaccine to administer to students.

Special circumstances students

 

Can students currently on campus and students with special circumstances stay?

Yes.

What does this mean for students in transit to campus right now? 

Currently, only students with approved special circumstances and student staff with a housing assignment should be traveling to campus. These students are still allowed to arrive and stay on campus. All other students should cancel their travel plans.

What do I do if I have nowhere to live because I was planning to live on campus? Can I still apply to live in housing through the special circumstances process?

Yes. Frosh and sophomores who were planning to come to campus for winter quarter and have a current housing contract may apply through the special circumstances process. Special circumstances include international students who may face travel or visa complications; students experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity; students with home environments that prevent them from being able to participate in a remote learning environment or are unsafe; and other special needs. To be considered for special circumstances housing, please fill out a service ticket and include an explanation of your current situation. The deadline for special circumstances is 5 p.m. January 17.

What does this mean for student-athletes?

Stanford Athletics will be in touch with student-athletes as information is available about whether/how winter quarter changes affect them.

What will happen to in-person classes?

We are currently looking at the in-person offerings and will be providing more information soon. All international frosh and transfer students who have been approved to reside on campus will be able to enroll in the in-person courses offered each quarter.   

Financial aid and travel



How will all of this impact my financial aid?

Housing will provide information to the Financial Aid Office about students with housing contracts and your aid will be adjusted accordingly. If you will not be living on campus, we will assume you are living rent free unless you submit documentation of your living expenses.

Will there be reimbursement or help paying for changes to travel plans?

Updated information, as of Jan. 11: If you have already purchased flight tickets, contact the airline to cancel the flight and get credit you can use on a future flight. For students on aid, your financial aid package has already assumed a standard amount for travel costs. If you find that your actual expenses are higher than what is shown on your award letter, please submit documentation of your costs to the Financial Aid Office.

Housing and your belongings

 

Do students who are currently living on campus need to move? 

We will need to consolidate students into a smaller number of houses for the winter quarter. We are working on a process that prioritizes friend groups, keeps the density of houses low but also maintains a critical mass of students in each space for safety and security. The university will work with students to provide packing boxes and materials.  The university will not be providing professional moving assistance.

What kind of a refund can I expect on my housing? Will I be charged for canceling housing?

R&DE will automatically cancel housing and dining contracts for students who are no longer eligible for winter quarter housing. 

If a student is currently living on campus and wishes to leave, they should file a Termination of Occupancy within the Housing and Dining section of Axess and indicate the date they will depart. There is no fee for terminating a housing contract. Students will only be charged for housing and dining up to their departure day as long as they completely vacate their rooms and return their keys to their housing front desk on or before that departure date.

What will happen to my belongings in storage?

For undergraduate students who had items packed and stored with Collegeboxes this past spring/summer, Collegeboxes will continue to hold these items for you in their warehouse in Santa Clara at no cost to you through June 30, 2021. Undergraduate students are encouraged to contact Collegeboxes through your online account if you would like your belongings shipped to you, also at no cost to you through June 30, 2021. The rental fee for storage or shipping costs starting July 1, 2021 will be charged to you.

For undergraduate students who lived on campus during the autumn quarter and moved items into temporary storage containers at the Wilbur parking lot for the winter break period, those items need to be moved out of the storage containers by you or your proxy before January 15, or the items will be transferred to Collegeboxes to be stored in their Santa Clara warehouse. The ongoing storage rental fee beyond January 15 will be charged to you as communicated in November when you signed up for temporary winter break storage.

What will happen to packages shipped to the FedEx office on campus?

If you shipped items to the FedEx office on campus, contact them at 650-723-3132 or use their email form for assistance.

Will RAs be paid? Will RAs have a role and home on campus?  

Yes, RAs will be paid their full winter quarter stipend and they will be able to continue to live on campus. We are working on what RA roles will be in response to the changes for the winter quarter. ResEd will be in touch with RAs with more information.

Will we have virtual dorms?

We are looking at how to best keep our frosh and sophomores connected to one another and to campus. We will be in touch on our plans for how to do that shortly.

Enrollment options

 

What are the flex quarter and Leave of Absence deadlines?

UPDATED: 5 p.m. Tuesday, January 19 is the deadline to submit a Leave of Absence request for a full refund (see undergraduate leaves of absence and graduate leaves of absence).  After January 19, students will be charged prorated tuition based on their days of attendance, through the Term Withdraw Deadline (February 19). Please see Tuition and Refund Schedule for a full refund schedule.  Students may declare their Flex Term, via the Quarterly Check-In, through January 29 at 5 p.m.

Please note that if first-year students take a Leave of Absence during any of their first three quarters, the student is required to wait until Autumn Quarter of the following academic year to return.

International students should consult with Bechtel International Center before taking a Leave of Absence to understand the implications on their ability to remain in the United States during such a leave.

Remind me, what are the enrollment options available?

For each of the four quarters, students must choose one of the following options:

Enroll in Classes  

Students can enroll in courses and have access, as normal, to the resources that we provide on campus and/or remotely. Tuition will be charged at the full-time flat rate for that quarter. There is no per unit tuition billing in any of the four quarters.

Take Your “Flex Term”

During a Flex Term, students will be able to participate in Stanford activities, such as student organizations, and use many of the associated university resources. Students can take one Flex Term in any one of the four quarters of this year. Tuition will not be charged for the Flex Term.

Five free units during a Flex Term. Undergraduates and coterm students in the undergraduate tuition group are eligible to take up to five free units during their Flex Term. The units will appear on the student’s transcript and be subject to the same grading policy as all other course units in 2020-21. Again, no tuition will be charged for these units. We encourage you to visit with your academic advisor if you’d like to explore pursuing these units.

Experiential opportunities. Students can use their Flex Term for full-time experiential Stanford opportunities—such as Stanford-funded research, Cardinal Quarter, or other experiential opportunities—after completing two enrolled quarters in the current academic year (2020-2021); therefore, these full-time programs will only be available in spring and summer quarters.

Living on campus. Students can live on campus during their Flex Term only if (1) their cohort has been invited back to campus for that quarter or if they have been approved through the special circumstances process and (2) they are participating in a full-time approved spring or summer experiential learning opportunity like those described above.

Take a Leave of Absence (deadlines above, under Spring and summer quarter plans

If a student wants to take time away from formal course work and the university during this year, a student can take a Leave of Absence (LoA). Undergraduates can take one un-enrolled quarter (your Flex Term) away from Stanford without having to file for a LoA. You must file a LoA form if you take quarters away in addition to your Flex Term. It is important to note that while on a LoA, you will not have access to the university’s programs and services. 

Please note that if first-year students take a Leave of Absence during any of their first three quarters, the student is required to wait until Autumn Quarter of the following academic year to return.

International students should consult with Bechtel International Center before taking a LoA to understand the implications for their ability to remain in the United States during a LoA. 

In summary, you can:

  • enroll in as many quarters as a student prefers; however, in most circumstances, financial aid will only be available for three quarters.
  • take one quarter away from classes as a Flex Term. 
  • take a leave of absence for as many quarters as a student prefers.

Here is a summary of the campus resources and what is available to students based on their student status. 

Connection and community

 

What kinds of virtual resources are available?

We encourage you to check out our department and program websites for the most up-to-date information.  Here are a few quick links to get you started:

  • Academic Planning/Advising: Explore advising resources and/or make an appointment with your academic advisor here
  • Well-being:  Resources for Well-being here including coaches available to meet with you virtually and resources for families seeking to support their students! 
  • Counseling & Psychological Services:  How to access support here.
  • Stanford students with disabilities:  Resources for managing accommodations here.
  • Support for gender, relationship and sexual violence here.
  • Honor Code:  Resources on navigating the honor code in a remote environment here.
  • Tech Support at home:  Resources here.

What kinds of virtual events can we expect?

We encourage you to check out our department and program websites for the most up-to-date information.  Here are a few quick links to get you started:

  1. Career:  Check out all of our virtual career events here!
  2. Community Centers:  See what is happening in our 7 community centers here!
  3. Schwab Learning Center events are here.

Will Stanford do anything special for the class of 2024 next fall, since we didn’t have an in-person New Student Orientation this year? 

We would like to provide some large class experiences for the sophomore class of 2024 that we were unable to hold this year. 

Classes

 

I am taking a class and was expecting to receive a lab or other class kit once I reached my dorm.

We are working with instructors to ensure that kits are mailed to the correct locations.

I am enrolled for a class that was planning some in-person instruction in specialized spaces. Can I still come to campus?

No. We will be working with these instructors to make sure that they are aware that some students will not be able to come to campus so that appropriate accommodations can be made.

More questions?

 

You can reach us here with your general suggestions, comments and concerns about this unique year. If you have a personal question, please submit a ServiceNow ticket. For academic planning discussions and related questions, please make an appointment with your academic advisor.