Frequently Asked Questions About the Fall 2020 Semester For Traditional Undergraduate New Incoming Students

Will FPU be face-to-face for the Fall semester?

Given the spike in coronavirus cases and the signals we’ve been getting from the governor, FPU’s Fall semester will be online. We will not shift to in-person instruction in the middle of the semester. 

What services are open to assist me while we are online?

  • Academic Success Center – Including tutoring, writing assistance, academic coaching, and more!
  • Counseling Center – Provides free online private mental health counseling sessions to FPU students
  • Office of Spiritual Formation and Diversity
  • ALAS Intercultural Learning Center
  • STEM Learning Communities
  • Library
  • Student Life
  • Sunbird Food Pantry
  • Residence Life
  • Commuter Services
  • Student Financial Services
  • College Hour and Mentoring
  • IT Help Desk
  • Registrar’s Office
  • Information Desk
  • Athletic Office
  • Campus Safety (for on campus issues)
  • Career Development

And more! This is not a complete list, just a sample of ALL the services still open at FPU while you are taking classes online. Please keep in mind that “Open” may not be the physical office on campus. Some services, like classes, are operating remotely. Please check before coming to campus.

Will my tuition be reduced because of going online?

Moving classes online can pose a challenge for some students and be beneficial to others. In either case, our main concern, next to safety, is to help every student succeed in their educational goals. To this end, FPU has chosen not to discount tuition, which would force a reduction in student support, but rather to take proactive steps to help students succeed in an online environment. Some of these steps include:

  • Adding staff to act as mentors to sophomores and juniors
  • Increasing the level of support in the Academic Success Center
  • Providing faculty additional training in online course development and teaching
  • Bringing in outside experts to help improve the quality of our online classes
  • Implementing software to improve our online interactions with students
  • Purchasing laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots to loan to students who need them
  • Hiring additional faculty to keep section size low
  • Making emergency grants available to students experiencing financial difficulty because of the coronavirus

We are confident these steps and others, combined with the personal attention FPU is known for, will help our students succeed online this semester. If you have concerns about online learning, we encourage you to try the FPU online experience.

What about Student Fees?

Traditional Undergrad (TUG), Degree Completion, and Graduate student fees help offset a variety of student support services, like those listed above, that will continue in the online mode. However, the TUG fee also includes a number of on-campus activities that will not take place. To account for this, the TUG student fee will be reduced from $249 to $150 for the Fall semester.

Will my financial aid award change? 

  • Although tuition will remain the same, we are reducing the TUG student body fee for the Fall 2020 semester to $150 (reg. $249).   
  • Student Financial Services will be adjusting financial aid packages based on students moving from on-campus housing to living with their parents or off-campus. If you were planning to live on-campus and are now going to be at home, you will be receiving a new financial aid package in the next couple of weeks which will remove the on-campus room and board charges. In most cases, your balance due will be less than your original package.
  • Academic and performance-based (music, theater, art, athletic) scholarship amounts will be honored up to the cost of tuition this fall. 
  • Keep in mind that some students may experience adjustments to their need-based aid as a result of changes to their cost of attendance and financial need. For example, in some cases, the Residence Success Grant (for on-campus) may be replaced by the Fresno Pacific Grant (for commuters).
  • Our Student Financial Services team is working hard to update all of the packages in a timely manner. Please be patient as they are working on getting them out.

My family has had financial challenges because of the Coronavirus situation. Can you help me?

FPU has emergency funds available for students who qualify for federal financial aid and who need help paying for their education because of the coronavirus (e.g., the student or a parent lost a job). Please contact Student Financial Services for details at 559-453-2041 or sfs@fresno.edu.

Are jobs available on campus? I was awarded work study.  

There will be a very limited number of jobs available on campus due to the shift to online learning for the Fall semester. Opportunities for work-study and off-campus jobs can be found through the Career Development Center https://www.fresno.edu/students/career-development-and-experiential-learning-center 

Will the residence halls be open? What about my housing deposit?

The residence halls will be closed to the general student body. However, housing on campus will be available to all students that have approved exemptions to live on campus. Only those with significant expressed need will be allowed to live on campus to begin the year. As requirements relax the university may reevaluate the possibility of other students moving onto to campus in small numbers.

If you believe that you fall into the significant housing need category, please contact Mandie Wall, Director of Resident Life and Housing at mandie.wall@fresno.edu

If you submitted a housing deposit, it will automatically be rolled over to the next semester (Spring 2021). If you would like it refunded to you, please contact Mandie Wall, Director of Resident Life and Housing at mandie.wall@fresno.edu. Keep in mind when housing opens in the spring, rooms will still be very limited and placements will be awarded based on the order of deposits.  By requesting a refund, you will lose your current place in the housing list and will be housed on a space available basis once housing opens up more.

Do I need to change my course schedule to online classes?

We are working on this. Please check back for an answer to this question.

How will practical courses be handled? (i.e. internships and lab classes) Will we meet online?

We are working on this. Please check back for an answer to this question.

I don’t think online is the right option for me. What steps do I take to withdraw from classes?

Online education is not for everyone. We would welcome a conversation to talk with you about your online concerns before you make a final decision. We do offer quite a bit of support online for students. However, if you do make the decision to withdraw, and wish to withdraw before the start of classes, please contact your admissions counselor to begin the process. If you are withdrawing before the semester begins, you may also defer your admission to the spring. The enrollment deposit can be moved and applied to a future term. 

If you are withdrawing after the start of the semester, please make sure you are familiar with the drop policy for the Fall 2020 term prior to withdrawing. This will inform you on how much of a refund on tuition you are eligible for. There is a significant change in the amount refunded if you withdraw after classes begin (Week 1 is 100% refund).

If I start online and it is not working out, can I withdraw? Are there fees?

While we don’t like to see students go, yes, you can withdraw if done before the drop deadline. Keep in mind that there are certain fees depending on when you withdraw. You may drop during the first week of classes at 100% refund. After the first week, the amount drops significantly, so please make sure that if you are considering dropping you do so during the first week. We encourage you to meet with your advisor/mentor, or connect with Jesse Torres, Director of Student Persistence at Jesse.Torres@fresno.edu before dropping to see if there is anything we can do to assist you and provide support for you before you decide to withdraw. If you withdraw, your financial aid will be adjusted, and funds may need to be returned. Please consult with your financial aid advisor prior to withdrawing to determine how a withdrawal will affect your financial aid.

I don’t have internet access or a computer. I am concerned that I won’t be able to keep up. Are there resources to assist me?

We are working on securing resources for students who have limited internet or computer access. Please contact the Academic Success Center for more information. 

I just don’t learn well online. Can I speak with someone about what to expect? Will there be information on what is expected during online classes?

Our Student Admission Ambassadors would be happy to talk with you about their online learning experiences from this spring and summer. If you would like to connect with one of them, please call the office at 559-453-2039 or email us at ugadmis@fresno.edu to set up an appointment.

If you would like to read more about what our Academic Success Center offers, please visit the ASC Moodle page (https://learning.fresno.edu/course/view.php?id=27774), email the ASC (academic.success@fresno.edu) or call 559-453-5585.

If I am a student with a disability, what type of accommodations will I receive?

If you are approved to receive accommodations or have questions about any of our disability services, please contact Melinda Gunning, Director of Disability Access and Education, at Melinda.Gunning@fresno.edu

Is New Student Orientation still happening? How will it work?

The Campus Life team originally planned for new students to participate in an on-campus orientation called "Welcome Weekend" on August 21 (Freshmen) and August 22 (Transfers). With the latest change to the university moving fully online, it has been determined in the best interest of the health of students, staff, and faculty to refrain from on-campus programming that would necessitate a large number of individuals on campus at one time.

We are excited to offer an alternative opportunity for students to visit campus at an assigned time to pick up a giftbag with FPU swag as well as meet others specifically from their Collegium and/or program of study. This fall, we will be hosting "FPU Meet & Greet" on the same dates as originally planned: Friday, August 21 (Freshmen) and Saturday, August 22 (Transfers) between 9:00AM - 12:00PM each day. Peer Mentors will connect with students via email with further details about their Collegium's assigned time slot. Social distancing and facial coverings will be required of all participants, as well as a health questionnaire that must be completed upon checking in to campus. This event is limited to students only. Participation at this event is not mandatory.

How can I pay my bill?

Students can pay their bill online by going to my.fpu.edu and clicking on the Online Payments tile. This is the preferred method. However, beginning August 17, 2020, the cashiers window will also be open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to take payments in person or over the phone.  

I am an athlete. Will coaches hold practice? If so, how will they implement social distancing?

FPU Athletics will be reaching out to all recruited and current athletes with practice information and safety guidelines established by FPU and the NCAA. If you have concerns or questions, please contact your coach or the department of athletics.  

Will classes be held virtually at their regularly scheduled time with professors and classmates or can they be done at my own time?

We are working on this. Please check back for an answer to this question.

How will I be able to connect with my professor’s face to face if I have a problem?

You will receive a class syllabus for each of your online classes. It will provide you with contact information for your professor including email and office phone number – in some cases even cell phone numbers. While professors may not physically be in their offices, our phone system is set up to ring to their device via Skype for Business. Their office phone number is not tied to a landline phone. In addition, most faculty members will list office hours. These office hour times can be used to schedule one-on-one video or phone conferences. Professors may also give you additional ways to contact them in the syllabus or during your online class.

We realize you may have additional questions and ones we are still working on answering for you. Please check back for updates to this FAQ list as more will be posted as information is released.