Dear Students and Families,
As you know, due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in San Francisco and California and specific instructions issued to higher education institutions by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, USF’s classes and operations will be primarily remote for the fall 2020 semester. I know many of you are deeply disappointed. I wish we could come together as a community on campus this fall as much as you do, yet this moment requires us to make decisions amid uncertainty, with the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff at the forefront.
While in-person classes will be replaced with remote learning and the day-to-day educational experience will be very different, USF’s focus still puts people at the center. The expertise and attentive mentorship of your professors and staff will continue. The highly personalized education that you have come to expect from USF will continue. For that reason, USF is not reducing or waiving tuition for the 2020–21 academic year.
The university has implemented a robust and dynamic academic and co-curricular program for our students this fall. During the spring and summer months, faculty and staff have been preparing for the possibility of remote teaching and for providing community experiences that take full advantage of technology and hands-on support from the university’s Information Technology Services. Beyond the rich content and student-faculty interaction that will take place in each course, our student-facing programs — including Gleeson Library, Career Services, International Student and Scholar Services, Center for Academic and Student Achievement (for undergraduates), Student Disability Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, and more — will be fully engaged in supporting students’ professional and personal goals. Unlike the emergency move to remote instruction that the spring semester necessitated, the fall 2020 experience will be enhanced by extensive training and technology upgrades and informed by best practices and surveys of students, faculty, and staff. The global pandemic makes this a very different semester for students, but USF faculty and staff will provide an enriching experience, both within and beyond the virtual classroom.
USF is in the process of revisiting current fees charged to students due to the changed circumstances as it moves to remote operations. While the student activity fee for undergraduate and graduate students will stay in place at the recommendation of ASUSF and the Graduate Student Senate, the transportation fee charged to undergraduates will be eliminated.
In the new environment we are all navigating, we are also very much aware that students and their families may be experiencing new financial challenges. We are firmly committed to maintaining the amount of institutional financial aid USF offers. After salary and benefits, financial aid remains our second-largest budget category. If your economic circumstances have changed as a result of the turmoil caused by the pandemic, we encourage you to contact our Financial Aid Office to discuss how you may appeal your financial aid award. Our staff will work closely with you to review your situation and determine what adjustments may be possible under federal regulations.
Students are at the heart of everything our distinguished faculty and talented staff do at USF, and we support your success and intellectual, creative, and spiritual growth — whether we are meeting on campus or connecting online. Thank you for your patience, creativity, and engagement as we continue to adapt to these changes and overcome these current challenges while remaining dedicated to the distinctive USF educational experience.
Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J.