For Students

More information on Occidental’s plans for a remote Fall 2020 semester, organized by topic. You can also review our FAQs.

Read President Elam’s Oct. 16 update on planning efforts for the Spring 2020 semester, including L.A. County guidelines and academic planning.


At Oxy, regardless of the mode of instruction, students benefit from the high quality and integrity of our academic programs, our superb faculty, and our focus on personalized advising and a culture of care for the whole student. Read President Elam’s welcome message to returning students as well as Deans Sternberg and Flot’s message. Starting August 24, President Elam will hold bi-weekly office hours explicitly for students. Sign up with Rocio Ramos (ramosr@oxy.edu).

Occidental has frozen tuition at 2019-20 levels, provided a $1,500 tuition credit for each enrolled student, and increased financial aid. Financial aid packages revised to account for remote learning have gone out to first-year and returning students, and the College has remained committed to meeting the full demonstrated need of each student.

Those students who have decided or are considering living in the surrounding area will have access to a meal plan with contactless pickup, but should also be aware of the restrictions on campus building access. If you are  looking for off-campus housing near the College or in the greater L.A. area for this fall, REHS has put together some helpful resources.

The Academic Resources & Technology (ART) team is here to help meet students’ technology, training and resource needs. On the ART webpage, you can get help and request technology resources. Our new Virtual Campus page is a super-helpful hub for virtual class resources, community-building events and a comprehensive roadmap of all the resources you need to succeed academically.

No decisions have been made for the Spring 2021 semester. Our current intent is to return more students and offer in-person instruction as conditions allow. We will keep the students and families apprised of spring planning.

Oxy faculty and staff across all departments are here to support you and are available to answer questions. See below for additional details by specific subject, and check our FAQ page.

Health & Safety

In order to minimize the spread of the virus and protect our campus community, we must implement health and safety requirements for those who will be living or working on campus. This includes wearing face masks in public at all times, practicing physical distancing, and using a College-sponsored monitoring app for daily temperature and symptom checks.

Student health insurance began automatically on August 1, 2020. If a student defers for a semester, it is not possible to keep student health insurance active. If enrolled students do not want the student health insurance but do not waive by the deadline of August 17, their student accounts will be charged.

Consistent with our current policy, all cases of COVID-19 will be communicated with the community. The Office of Parent Engagement will notify parents of steps taken to ensure the community is protected, including contact tracing, isolation and quarantine protocols and testing procedures.

More info on Oxy's health and safety requirements

Academics

At the core of Occidental's academic program is the deep and meaningful relationship that develops among faculty and students both inside and outside the classroom. While our instruction for the fall will be exclusively remote, we are wholly committed to continuing and, wherever we can, even enhancing the deeply personal academic experience that is the signature of an Occidental liberal arts education.

Academic Calendar: As we announced on June 15, classes will begin on August 24 and will end before Thanksgiving. View fall academic calendar

Policy Updates: Several policy changes have been put in place following discussions among the faculty as a whole, and within a committee of faculty and academic administrators (which also includes the ASOC VPAA) that has been meeting this summer to consider policy adjustments. More information

Academic Support: A host of support is available to our students remotely, from academic advising to online writing help, peer learning and tutoring. We are also working to ensure educational equity and address disparities in learning environments during the remote fall.

Read Academic FAQs

Financial

Tuition/Room & Board: All Occidental students who enroll in the Fall 2020 semester will receive a one-time $1,500 tuition credit for that semester. As communicated on June 22, Occidental is not increasing tuition this year, keeping it frozen at the 2019-20 rate. Students who live remotely will not be charged room and board.

Financial Aid: Financial aid packages have been revised to reflect the change in the cost of attendance due to remote instruction, which includes a decrease in direct costs. This may result in the reduction of need-based financial aid because the estimated annual budget for living off campus ($13,066 for both room and board) is less than the cost of living on campus ($16,600). The Financial Aid Office determines off-campus living costs based on national averages as well as the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) Student Expenses and Resources Survey (SEARS). More information on 2020-21 costs

Work Study: Work-study awards are being included in 2020-21 financial aid packages, and students will be able to work remotely in some jobs that lend themselves to remote work. Job opportunities will be more limited because of the pandemic, and continuing uncertainty about fall enrollment and its impact on departmental budgets has delayed the posting of student jobs. As budget information becomes available to individual departments, job openings will be posted on the HR website. Students with work-study awards should continue to check the HR website.

Read Financial FAQs

Housing

We have decided that instruction for Fall 2020 will be remote, and housing will only be available for returning international students and those returning students who are facing significant housing hardships. No first-year students are eligible to petition for on-campus housing.

Guidance for students living off campus: Students who plan to return to the surrounding area to live off campus should be aware that while access to outdoor campus spaces will be permitted, access to campus buildings will be limited. Read more about what campus services will be available to them, and learn about the no-contact Tiger Takeout program. Any student visiting campus will be required to follow critical safety practices—face coverings, social distancing, good and regular hygiene, and a wellness check via our health app prior to arrival on campus. Off-campus students will have access to all virtual Emmons services, including telemedicine and counseling. If specific in-person care, including testing, is needed, Emmons will invite you in or refer you.

Read Housing FAQs

Student Life & Student Support

Although we will be virtual in Fall 2020, we are here to support you with a full range of services, support and programming. Nearly all of the co-curricular programs, services, and supports that students experience on campus are available virtually—no matter where you are, Oxy’s Culture of Care is here for you. There are also a host of community-building programs throughout the fall semester that students can take advantage of.

Orientation: New Student Orientation will remain a dynamic, celebratory, and welcoming experience—a virtual space where new students can explore how to make informed academic decisions and responsible social choices by tapping into resources and services offered by the College. The first phase of Orientation, “Kickstart Oxy,” took place July 27-29 and featured virtual, peer-to-peer engagements to help new students become more familiar with our campus and many of the student resources available. On August 21-23, all new students will participate in a shared orientation experience to make the transition to Oxy this fall as smooth as possible.

Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLICE): Taking a holistic approach to student development, SLICE offers involvement opportunities and programs that center on identity construction, intercultural communication, and community engagement. Putting Oxy’s values into action, SLICE intentionally focuses on meaning-making and transformative learning on campus and in the public sphere. Whether you are interested in starting a club, being involved in student government, or engaging with elected officials and community organizations, SLICE and its team of dedicated educators, event organizers and student programmers can guide and support your passions.

Intercultural Community Center: Despite being remote this fall, the ICC is still at the ready to provide services, support and programming for Oxy students. The new Black Advocacy Plan is an intentional response to the needs of the Black student community, supporting a sense of belonging and interconnectedness at the college as well as overall mental health and wellness. There is continued commitment to programming such as the 365 Series, the Lavender Lounge and LatinX heritage as well as dedicated online support spaces (group and one-on-one). Support for the LGBTQIA+ community is available in the form of special trainings and a new Lived Name Policy at the College.

Career Planning: The Hameetman Career Center offers remote and online access to career resources, services and events no matter where you are located. To learn more, contact our staff at careers@oxy.edu.

  • Handshake: Students can access their personalized Handshake account to schedule an appointment with a career adviser, sign up to attend an event, search jobs and internships, and much more.
  • Big Interview: Students can access their Big Interview account to learn about job searching, practice and prepare for interviews, and complete interview preparation assignments created by their career adviser.
  • Virtual Career Advising: Use Handshake to schedule a time to meet with a career adviser virtually for personalized attention.
  • Virtual Office Hours: Midday and evening office hours will be available for students to ask career-related questions without scheduling an appointment.
  • Employer Recruiting & Career Education Seminars: Check the “Events” tab in Handshake regularly to access info about scheduled events. All events will be recorded to accommodate students in different time zones.

Athletics: Intercollegiate athletics is an important part of the Occidental experience for many on our campus. Unfortunately, due to the continuing health and safety concerns, we will not be participating in intercollegiate athletics in Fall 2020. Oxy Athletics will continue to work with the SCIAC to evaluate opportunities for our student-athletes in the spring. Club sports are also cancelled for Fall 2020.

On July 9 the NCAA DIII Administrative Committee approved a blanket waiver for all DIII student-athletes for the upcoming academic year. In 2020-21, DIII student-athletes will not lose a year of eligibility if their teams can only complete 50% or less of their maximum allowable contests as defined by the NCAA DIII rules manual. In addition, DIII student-athletes will also be granted two extra semesters to complete their eligibility if their teams fail to complete over 50% of their maximum contests, or if COVID-19 prevents them from participating at all.

Mental Health Services: Emmons Wellness Center is committed to meeting the mental health needs of all of our students, regardless of where they are. This includes crisis counseling, virtual drop-in counseling and workshops. Emmons professionals will provide ongoing individual and group telecounseling to students residing in California. Out-of-state students will have access to ongoing telecounseling through a national therapy group practice. Emmons will also assist students in finding local therapy referrals for any student. All Oxy students anywhere in the United States continue to have access to the 24/7 confidential hotline at (323) 341-4141.

Our psychiatrist will provide telemedical services to students residing locally (on- or off-campus) based on their insurance coverage, and to pre-existing patients regardless of location, if medically appropriate. For all other students Emmons counselors will assist in finding a local psychiatry referral. Our dietitian will be available to meet virtually with all students at no cost. Virtual workshops available to all students will be offered on a variety of topics, including mindfulness, managing COVID-related stress, and support for race-based trauma. We are also partnering with other offices such as ICC and SLICE to provide virtual outreach and programming events specifically for marginalized students.

Dean of Students Office and Disability Services: we are committed to continuing to provide the full complement of student support services remotely and by telephone. These services include individual support and advocacy related to personal issues and crisis situations, academic flexibility notifications, academic support and academic coaching, and disability accommodations. Additionally, all Dean of Students staff members will continue to offer daily office hours where students can "drop-in" virtually to meet with a staff member for same-day support. As always, students can also schedule meetings with individual staff members or by reaching out to deanofstudents@oxy.edu.

Project SAFE: Project SAFE, which provides advocacy, resources and support services for survivors/victims of sexual and relationship violence—including sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking and sexual harassment—remains a resource for Oxy students both on and off campus. Our staff are working remotely, and you can reach us at projectsafe@oxy.edu. We acknowledge that these are uncertain and surreal times, and that social distancing, the need to return home, and a change in routine without a concrete end date can all exacerbate acute violence or the mental health impact of past trauma. Please know that you are not alone, we are here for you, and we want to help.

Title IX: The Title IX Office remains available remotely to anyone wishing to report an incident of sexual misconduct or seeking information about options and resources. We want to ensure that anyone who reports an experience involving sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, intimate partner violence, and retaliation feels safe, knows their rights, and is aware of all resources and options available to them. Any person with questions or concerns can contact Title IX Coordinator Alexandra Fulcher by email at afulcher@oxy.edu or telephone at (323) 259-1338. They can also file a report online.

Read Student Life FAQs

International Students

The July 6 ICE directive was rescinded on July 14. This means that ICE is returning to the Spring 2020 guidance, which allowed students to maintain valid F-1 visa status as long as they are enrolled full-time (12 units) in Occidental classes—even if those courses are delivered through remote instruction and regardless of whether the student is inside or outside the U.S. New federal guidance for F-1 students was received on July 24; learn more about the impact of federal guidance for Oxy students.

Read International Students FAQs

Gap Year & Leave of Absence Requests

This fall, Oxy will offer students rigorous and engaging educational experiences through some exciting new programs that take advantage of remote technologies and provide personal attention and meaningful connections to faculty. While we are enthusiastic about what the College will be offering, we also understand that some of you may have difficult decisions to make about the fall semester.

For new students, the deadline to request deferred enrollment (or gap year) for Fall 2020 has passed. If you would still like to be considered for a deferred enrollment please contact the Admissions Office at admission@oxy.edu as soon as possible. Deferral requests must be granted by the Office of Admission, who will review the requests and notify students in writing. First-year students may take a maximum of 2 courses (8 credits) for academic enrichment during their gap year at other institutions (typically community colleges), though there is no guarantee that these courses will have direct equivalents at Occidental for transfer credit. For first-years, deferrals are granted for one year. Two years may be granted in special circumstances, such as national military or religious service. For transfers, deferrals are granted for one semester to the Spring 2021 term.

Unlike gap years, Leaves of Absence (LOAs) are processed through the Registrar’s Office. Before the fall semester begins, returning students can request a leave of absence using this form. In order to receive a 100% tuition refund for fall, you must submit your leave of absence before Fall 2020 Clearance is complete (at which point the student is considered officially enrolled). Clearance begins the first day of classes: August 24, 2020.

Once the semester begins, students considering a leave or withdrawal once the semester begins should be aware of the following: once a student completes the Clearance process (including payment of tuition) they are considered an officially enrolled student. After that point, if a student decides to withdraw they initiate that process by filing this form and the following conditions would apply:

  • Grades of 'W' (withdrawal) are recorded on the transcript (a non-punitive grade)
  • Tuition owed for the semester is determined by withdrawal date (dates and percentages are listed on the academic calendar)
  • Students use up one semester of financial aid eligibility (contact Financial Aid for more details)

Applying for a leave of absence

Technology & Remote Learning Support

As the College community prepares for the fall semester, the Academic Resources & Technology (ART) team is available to assist students with their technology, training and resource needs. Below are information and resources available to help students succeed in a remote learning environment. A fully remote semester presents unique challenges, and we are committed to doing everything we can to provide students the tools they need to succeed.

Resources for Learning Remotely

Please check out our recommendations for computers and connectivity. The critical tools are:

  • Reliable internet access of at least 1 mbps. To test your connection speed, google search “Speed Test” and run the test to get your results.
  • Computer with at least a dual core processor, 4 GB of memory, a webcam, microphone and speakers

It is essential that every student feels adequately prepared to attend classes and stay connected to the Oxy community. We have streamlined our online support documentation into a landing page that addresses a wide range of needs. All students should review the materials on the Learning Remotely hub to find out about the tools and resources available.

You can also go to our Technical Resources page to learn more about the software and tools available to students.

Getting Help & Requesting Technology

If you have questions about technical support or resources available to students, please email helpdesk@oxy.edu

If you do not have the tools you need to connect in the fall, the Academic Resources & Technology team will loan laptops, provide internet access assistance and assist with access to other tools to support remote learning. Please fill out this technology support request form and your request will be reviewed and decided upon by a working group from various departments on campus to ensure we are addressing your technology and resource needs.

As we only have a limited number of resources available, we ask that you request to borrow equipment and/or for assistance with internet service if you do not have these resources or what you have does not meet the minimum requirements to stay connected.

Technical Assistance for Remote Learning FAQs