Photos by Kayiu Wong
Pepperdine released its finalized plans for Seaver College for fall semester with new information on course offerings, the suspension of several International Programs and an updated academic calendar.
Students received the announcement via email Thursday, July 9 at 4 p.m., addressed from Seaver Dean Michael Feltner.
The email further outlined instructional format options for students, the suspension of all International Programs — excluding the Washington, D.C., program — the option of in-person courses for international students, updated housing guidelines, tuition rates and more.
“Without question, the fall semester will be different than previous semesters,” Feltner wrote. “Each of us can view all pandemic-required adaptations as losses or we can understand that each provides an opportunity for us to learn anew. I don’t understand why COVID-19 has manifested itself upon our world and its people, but each of us alone determines how we respond.”
Students have multiple options to choose from for the delivery method of their courses.
Wednesday, July 1, Pepperdine announced to faculty that they would have the option of giving courses in person, online or a mixture of both in-person and online. Faculty finalized their decisions yesterday, July 8, and the administration is working with faculty to present new class plans to students. Once the delivery method is finalized, students will have the option to select a new course schedule based on how the course is delivered as well as course content and schedule.
“While it is not possible to offer every course with multiple modes of delivery, we anticipate that sufficient variety will exist to allow all students to continue timely progress toward degree completion,” Feltner wrote.
Students will be able to change their courses with a new add/drop schedule beginning July 27, with those enrolled in a suspended International Program and ending July 31 with first-year student registration.
The academic calendar has also been finalized for fall 2020 and is unchanged since the announcement of the Pepperdine Restoration Plan on May 15. Classes will begin Aug. 17 and finish Nov. 19, with finals conducted Nov. 20, 21, 23 and 24, completing fall term before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Spring 2021 is still planned to start Feb. 8, 2021, and to end May 20, 2021. One difference to note is that there will be no spring break with this current plan; however, the spring and summer academic calendars have not been finalized.
Feltner noted that these changes reduce the number of students traveling between and during semesters and also allows students to be away from campus during cold and flu season, late November 2020 to early February 2021. The University also indicated this could provide time for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Because of the large winter break in the academic calendar, a new January 2021 winter session will be available to students looking to take courses and also replaces the traditional May summer session. The session will begin Jan. 4, 2021, and end Jan. 29. The current plan is to offer online courses for the January 2021 session; however, Pepperdine hopes to offer in-person, study abroad, undergraduate research, internship and other similar special programs as well.
Student-athletes will receive an update from the Athletics department about their return to campus and other protocols.
All international study abroad programs — Buenos Aires, Florence, Heidelberg, Lausanne, London and Shanghai — have been suspended for fall semester 2020.
“We have been closely monitoring the conditions at each IP location throughout the year, and it recently became evident that suspending the aforementioned programs was required to uphold our commitment to prioritize the safety and well-being of all program participants,” Feltner wrote.
Pepperdine plans on sending students abroad for spring 2021 and is considering options to allow for greater student participation for study abroad summer 2021. Updates on both spring and summer 2021 will be provided as the academic year progresses, Feltner wrote.
Students enrolled in a fall 2020 suspended program will need to create an alternative course schedule and register for on-campus housing in the coming weeks. Fall participants who wish to sign an enrollment deferral until spring 2021 will be given the option to do so; however, they cannot defer to summer 2021 or future academic years. Academic-year participants are granted a deferment should they choose to go abroad spring 2021.
Pepperdine’s updated academic plan now allows international students to either elect to stay in their home country and take online courses or return to Malibu and take courses of their choosing.
In response to the recent decision by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), Feltner wrote the University was surprised to learn of this update and that this determination will create hardship for some students. On July 6, ICE announced international students must take at least some in-person courses or face deportation.
Seaver College, however, intends to offer in-person or hybrid courses for the fall semester and will support international students residing in the U.S., Feltner wrote.
“By enrolling in a mix of in-person, hybrid, and online classes that allow for normal progress toward degree completion, all international students living in the US will be able to comply with the updated ICE/SEVP ruling,” Feltner wrote.
International students needing a SEVIS record and I-20 can work with the Office of International Student Services (OISS) to secure this, and OISS will be providing updated and detailed guidance to all international students in the near future.
Students, along with being able to select their course delivery method, will also be able to choose between residing on campus or elsewhere — presumably at the student’s permanent residence — for fall semester.
Single-occupancy housing will also be available to students at 15% higher rate than is standard, allowing those who would prefer to live on campus in single rooms to do so.
Updates have been made to housing guidelines, notably for first-year and sophomore students.
First-year and transfer students taking in-person classes may reside on campus, but if they are taking all online-only courses, they must live off campus. Exceptions will be allowed by request only. Students may be required to live on campus for spring 2021 depending on conditions.
Sophomores can live on campus, at home, or break their housing contract and move off campus for the academic year.
Juniors, seniors and graduate students can live off campus, at home or on campus and on-campus housing.
“To reduce the number of people living on campus during the fall 2020 semester, HRL urges all junior, senior, and graduate students who can make alternate housing arrangements to please do so,” Feltner wrote. “If the University acts in the interest of community safety to limit housing to one student per bedroom in residence halls, suites, and apartments, housing contracts may be terminated for certain student populations (possibly, graduate students, seniors, and juniors).”
All housing contracts canceled before July 16 will not result in cancellation fees. Students wanting to contract for a single room can fill out a form by July 15.
Room assignments and move-in time slots for first-year students will be released Friday, July 17.
Tuition and Fees
Due to the financial effects caused by COVID-19, Pepperdine has elected to keep Seaver College’s tuition unchanged from last year’s amount — $28,875 for fall semester.
The Campus Life Fee, also called the Student Government Association Campus Life Fee, will be reduced from the standard $126 to $63, presumably in response to a reduced possibility of in-person event programming.
For students facing special circumstances, Pepperdine has also created the opportunity for appeal for additional financial assistance toward tuition costs.
More details about the Pepperdine Restoration Plan for fall semester can be found here.
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