MSU Leadership Answer Spartan Family Questions


April 14, 2021, Spartan Family Office Hour Questions and Answers

Answers provided by MSU presenters: Vennie Gore, senior vice president for Auxiliary Enterprises and interim vice president for Student Affairs and Services; David Weismantel, M.D., university physician; Mark Largent, associate provost for Undergraduate Education and dean of Undergraduate Studies, Allyn Shaw, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and Services.


Question: Will you require all students to be vaccinated before returning to campus?

We are discussing that and working through the details of what the plan will be for the fall semester, so there is no definitive answer at this time. However, over the coming weeks, if it becomes obvious that an overwhelming proportion of our student population is receiving the vaccine, it will influence planning for the fall, in that we may not need to require a vaccine. Encourage your students to get the vaccine as early as possible and to get it because that is what is going to help and to ensure that we have as close to a normal a fall as possible. It's just how we get there. That's going to be an integral part of our planning process. 

In addition, we are doing surveillance COVID testing for students coming on campus to learn and for those living on campus. And we have on-demand testing for any of those students that have symptoms. Those are things that we would continue to be able to use, if needed, and those are things we're talking about. 

Question: How long must a student wait after they have recovered from COVID-19 to receive their vaccination?

They must wait only until they are out of their isolation period, which is10 days after their symptoms start or 10 days after their test. As soon as that period is over, people can get their immunization. You don't have to wait any longer than that. 

Question: How are you supporting and helping students who are struggling during COVID with mental health assistance?

Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) is the counseling psychiatric services here at MSU. With the transition to remote learning and work, CAPS is using the tele-mental health platform model, which means that all the services that were previously offered in person are currently offered, but in a remote fashion. These services are available to all students, those within East Lansing and those outside of East Lansing. These include counseling, individual relationship counseling, psychiatry visits, as well as group counseling services.

For students who are having acute needs, crisis needs, CAPS is still offering 24/7 365-day crisis services by calling the CAPS main phone number and pressing one at the prompt. You will be connected with a crisis counselor immediately. Students that go to that number and don't press 1, students will get a phone tree to set up an appointment or do other things.

Question: Would you tell us about the COVID-19 vaccine sites at MSU?

Those are offered at the MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education, and It's been going very well. We're just really happy that the state of Michigan and our partners at the Ingham County Health Department were able to supply vaccines for MSU, specifically for our students. We completed one day last week using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It went very well, and as we all know, there was an announcement that a hold was put on using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to some concerns. (The vaccine has since been re-instated.) Because of the state and county being so helpful, we were immediately able to switch over to the Pfizer vaccine and we are honoring all the appointments that were given to students to receive the vaccine over this week.

Those receiving the Pfizer vaccine need to come back in three or more weeks to receive a second vaccine to be fully immunized. But they're being informed and we're trying to ensure they would be able to get that second vaccine at other places, in Michigan at least, and have that all lined up within their immunization record within the state of Michigan.

When do you expect to allow on campus visits for High School students? In addition to our MSU freshman we have a HS Rising Senior.

The Office of Admissions is offering in-person tours by invite only at this time. Learn more at


Question: Is the university still on track to have face-to-face instruction this fall?

We are planning for a fall that is in person. There's been a kind of 75-25 number thrown out there. We want to make sure people know what that means. Our intention is to be back on campus in the fall, back in our offices, back in our residence hall rooms, back in the classrooms. The Wharton Center is planning a full suite of performances at the big theater on campus. Athletics is planning to have sporting events with spectators in the stands. Classrooms will again have students.

We typically offer about 10% of our courses online and about 90% of them have an in-person requirement. With the pandemic and it's kind of lingering effects in some places, as well as some input that we've had from students about their experience online, we know that we probably need to offer more classes online. So, while we're planning on launching all of our courses, either in person, hybrid or online, we do intend to offer a larger number of online courses for the fall. That's going to help protect those students and their families who can't get to East Lansing. It will allow them to continue to make progress toward their degrees. But we want to go back to being the residential university that we know and love. That’s really important to us.

Question: Last we heard the university was looking at 75% in person instruction. How does that really      look? If this changes, how will we be notified?

Right now, 84.59% of our courses for the fall, our 100-, 200-, 300- and 400-level courses, about 84 1/2% of them are in person. They are either hybrid or 100% in person. We're going for about 15% of the classes online, and the goal was to spread those across all four years, so that freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors who can't get to campus for whatever reason will have access to the courses they need to keep making progress toward their degrees.

We do not plan for any physical distancing in the classrooms. We had designed for a six-foot physical distancing for the classrooms. What that meant was that we lost better than 80% of our seat capacity. With what we reasonably expect with the vaccines that isn't going to be necessary to have that physical distancing. There will be other safety measures in place.

We also worked to reduce our class sizes. That became really important for us. MSU is a massive university. It's one of the biggest. Having in-person connection with smaller classes is extraordinarily important. We took every class that was over 100 students and found other ways to teach them. We broke them into multiple classes. We took some of the seats in those classes and made them hybrid. We took some of the seats in those classes and made them online. The idea was to shrink our classes in order to get more engagement between students and between students and faculty. That's really the biggest change for the coming fall.

Question: Why are so many of the options for fall classes online and not in person, even in upper classes?

There are a number of classes that don’t have a clear distinguishing online component. Those ones are up in the air right now. But if a class is marked in person, it's going to stay in person, barring something dramatic happening with the pandemic. If it's hybrid, it's going to stay hybrid and if it's marked as synchronous or asynchronous online, in all likelihood, it will stay that way.

The goal is to distribute classes in the three teaching modes across different courses. So, as an example, if we offer 10 different sections of Psych 101, four or five of them are in person and three, or four of them are hybrid and two or three of them are online; what we're watching is student enrollment and seeing where the students go. Right now, a little less than 1/4 of our students have had their enrollment appointments, but we're seeing those bins fill up relatively evenly, which tells us that we think we've offered about the right mix of in-person, online and hybrid courses.

Question: When do you expect study abroad courses to resume?

Study abroad it's going to be limited this summer. The university has travel guidelines to follow. The expectation is that study abroad will return in a very full way, but right now it is operating a pretty limited level.


Question: Can you explain the process of commencement?

Michigan State is offering an in-person graduation ceremony this year in which students will walk across the stage individually and have their names read and have guests in attendance. A combination of those three things:  in person, individual recognition and guests in present. It's really a tremendous undertaking. We typically do 16 undergraduate graduation ceremonies. We're doing 54 this year. The graduation ceremonies will be spread over four locations. They will be held outside; we are spread out. Students are seated six feet apart where they would normally be shoulder to shoulder. Each student can bring two guests. The entire event will also be live streamed for family and friends that can't make it. The two guests will be seated together and then they'll be six feet away from others.

Some colleges are going to have as many as five graduation ceremonies. It's a huge lift and the folks who organized this are doing really amazing work. 

We are doing only spring graduates. We can't include the summer graduates and then we have this whole group of students who graduated spring, summer and fall of ‘20 who we owe a graduation ceremony to and we can't do them at this point, but for the spring graduates of 2021, who really weathered the last three semesters of their college experience through the pandemic, we want to make sure they have that in-person experience.

On-Campus Housing

Question:  When will students be able to select their living quarters for next year?

Sign-up begins in June for incoming new and transfer students. Sign-up begins with students in a living-learning community, and then the remainder of students.

New this year, students will be given a 24-hour window to select their space. Housing options across neighborhoods will release throughout each of these 24-hour periods. This will help provide a better user experience and reduce potential system overloading issues.

Housing sign-up information is available at 

Question:  How do you plan to keep students social distancing for those that have to share dorm space?

While plans for fall 2021 are still being developed, the university will continue to follow guidance from national, state and local health authorities. Currently, the MSU Community Compact requires students to wear a face covering indoors and outdoors when not alone in their room, to maintain 6-feet of physical distancing and to maintain good hygiene. Update 5/1/21 Outdoor mask requirements have been removed, following MDHHS guidelines of gatherings under 100. Future changes will follow CDC and MDHHS guidelines.

Residence hall rooms are set for students sleeping 6-feet apart head-to-head. Public spaces and dining halls have maximum occupancy signage upon entrance and have furniture set to allow for 6-feet physical distancing. 

Question: During senior year, if the student graduates in fall (one semester early), will the housingcontract be only for that one semester or for the entire year?

Students who graduate at the end of fall semester will be released from their housing contract for spring semester. Email for more details.  

Question: Housing for the fall for returning sophomores.  Within a month of opening housing applications, there was already a waiting list? Why is there a waiting list? 

With most students following the university’s guidance and learning from home this academic year, there was a higher demand for 2021-22 on-campus housing than anticipated. We also need to maintain quarantine and isolation housing for fall 2021. We encourage all interested current students to sign up for the waitlist in their My Housing account. We will contact students who have signed up for the waitlist as space becomes available. Please note that this will occur throughout the spring and summer. We sincerely hope to provide on-campus housing to all students on the waitlist.

Question: Is it possible for wait-listed students to not be offered campus housing, with the information coming very late?

Yes, it is, however, we are working through the waitlist as quickly as possible.

Question:  How many students are on the dorm wait list and how many of those wait listed does MSU anticipate being to able offer a dorm?

We are continuing to receive cancellations for fall. When space becomes available, we will place students and notify them directly of their assignments. Students can also check their status through My Housing. We will continue this process throughout April and May. 

We have a number of different tools in place and so as we do our planning, we also need to be prudent in case we do have some students who may get sick and have not been vaccinated, that we have a place to quarantine them.

When space becomes available, we are placing students from the wait list in those rooms. Students can access their status through My Housing. 

When will students who are coming in next year start selecting their house?

That will start in June and we start with the the Living Learning communities. Those students who were part of Lyman Briggs, James Madison, the Residential College of Arts and Humanities, Rise in Spartan Engineering and the Eli Broad College of Busines, those programs will be done first and then all of our other students will be assigned.

Question: What is the deadline for students to decide on campus housing or when is the wait list finalized?

We will be working on the waitlist throughout the spring and summer.

On-Campus Dining

Question: Will dining on campus open this fall?

In Fall 2021, MSU Culinary Services intends to open the majority of dining locations on campus. Select Sparty’s mini markets will remain closed.

  • Dining halls in Holden and Holmes will transition to grab and go and mobile ordering locations to offer an array of service modes across campus and enhance convenience.
  • Students will have access to all you care to eat dining halls, grab and go locations, and mobile ordering. We are also exploring delivery options for Sparty’s Market.
  • We look forward to increasing the variety for Combo-X-Change, the grab and go meal concept that is included with dining plans. New locations on campus will begin accepting Combo-X-Change in the fall.

We added to the combo exchange the ability to go to Starbucks and Panera and Panda Express, our off-campus vendors here.

Student Engagement and Activities

Question:  How are you going to give the freshman from this year an opportunity to feel connected to the school? What are you going to do to "orientate" them to MSU and give them back a little of what they missed as incoming freshman students?

MSU is working on a (re)orientation for freshmen, sophomores and juniors who only had one semester on campus before COVID-19. Class consists of 15% of students’ time, and when they're not in class, they are in college and that broader experience that a student has is with residence life, and with Student Affairs, and with athletics and the Big 10 experience, and with friends on and off campus.

We are orienting a certain set of students and we are (re)orienting another set of students. One group we’re focused on is this year's first-year students who, from the spring of their junior year in high school until the fall of their freshman year of college, had a very unusual experience. The second group we're focused on is next year's first-year students who will be sophomores, many of whom will be on campus for the first time next fall. And the third group consists of juniors and seniors who've had, at most, a semester and a half on campus, so far.

Being remote has been a lot of work. Going back to something more normal is going to be a lot of work. There's a series of things that we, as a community, have really confronted in last 14 months, and this group of very thoughtful leaders is trying to help think about how we will pick up that work in August and then again help students come to Michigan State. That requires a lot of thoughtfulness and a lot of very student-centric care.

Question:  What is MSU planning to do to help rising sophomores become engaged and feel part of the Spartan Nation?

MSU has several committees reviewing the orientation and fall welcome experience for all students new to campus. Residence Education will be launching their Spartan Navigator second-year experience program this fall, focusing on the following outcomes:

  • Enhanced sense of purpose and academic engagement
  • Advancement of knowledge and skill related to diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Development of skills related to multiple aspects of wellness
  • Increased ability to learn, lead and serve in community settings

We suggest students connect to MSU’s Registered Student Organizations (RSOs). They number more than 900 in the Division of Student Affairs and Services and can be found at

Question: Can the reorientation program also engage transfer students too?

Transfer students are considered incoming students and welcome to all of those activities 

Question: Are there any plans to upgrade or replace MSU student recreation facilities? Other colleges charge a recreation fee with tuition to help fund these projects. Wouldn't an upgraded recreation center be beneficial, particularly since there is now the two-year on campus mandate for incoming students?

We are in the process of a feasibility study of our campus recreation facilities. IM Circle was built 100 years ago. IM West was built 60 years ago, and IM East was built 40 years ago in many of these facilities. We have engaged an architect firm that is looking at our facilities and we hope to have the study complete an mid-fall.

Mental health is tied to physical health, so the more opportunities where we provide good recreational facilities for our students and our faculty and staff is critically important. 


Student Jobs and Internships

Question:  Due to the low availability of internships last year, will you increase the opportunities forstudents  to experience university internships?

Career Services has been working virtually all year. CSN has increased appointments by 300%, so if students need Career Services, they should make appointments with their college advisors or with the central office. Internships and micro-internships are being offered. CSN is also has some scholarships for unpaid internships, so students can apply for that to help offset housing costs or transportation.

We also have a new system, called MSU Connect, and we have over 15,000 alumni who have signed up on this system who are willing to work with students when applying or looking for internships, looking at their resumes and also offering students the opportunity to job shadow. More information is available on the Career Services’ website at


Question: Can you provide an overview/tutorial on the new Student Information Management System. Please explain what of StuInfo, D2L and the new SIS will remain, what each will focus on and how we can support our students be successful in managing some many different platforms?

SIS is the student information system and it's a generic term referring to the information in the system that students will use in order to register for classes, or pay their bills or anything else. The previous system, known as Stu Info was old and is being taken offline.

We began the process 2 1/2 years ago, long before the novel coronavirus even existed, to replace the student information system with Campus Solutions, which is probably the most widely used student information system. It’s an off-the-shelf product. We have rolled out the new SISover the course of the last nine months and students are now enrolling in this new system for fall semester.

Students go to and click on the button and they can access the system. It’s relatively user friendly and much more robust. This is separate from the management platform that we have for online learning, which is D2L; it stands for desire to learn. If a student is taking an in-person class, they'd still have D2L for their class because that's where faculty posts readings. That's where they have discussion boards. That's where they may do some of their assignments and submit through D2L.



January 27, 2021, POH Questions and Answers

Answers provided by MSU presenters:  Vennie Gore, senior vice president for Auxiliary Enterprises and interim vice president for Student Affairs and Services; David Weismantel, M.D., university physician; Mark Largent, associate provost for Undergraduate Education and dean of Undergraduate Studies, Jack Lipton, chair and professor of Translational Neuroscience, Allyn Shaw, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and Services; Terrence Frazier, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and Services.


Question: What happens if my child misses a COVID test? Are the COVID tests done weekly and are they mandatory?

Everyone is registered for a particular day of the week to submit their saliva sample, Sunday through Thursday. If they drop a different day of the week, it will still get processed. If they have missed a day and their time has lapsed sufficiently, they would be out of compliance. There is a seven plus one day grace period – the day you’re waiting for your sample you can still go to campus. But if you are past that and you have not gotten your sample because it was late or you didn’t do it because you weren’t there, you cannot participate in campus activities. You cannot go to campus, or if you are on campus, you cannot go anywhere. The tests are mandatory for students living on campus, working on campus or attending classes on campus.

Question: How is mandatory testing not protected by ADA and civil rights cases?

Right now, the mandatory testing for students living on campus is legally permissible and it’s really been recommended and urged by the state and the governor ‘s office. In December, we reviewed our plan with the governor and MDHHS office. If any student has a disability or feels they have a disability that would prevent them from being tested, they can reach out to MSU’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) for a possible accommodation for that.

Question: Will you be offering the COVID vaccine to students at MSU?

As far as the priority groups go right now, our students, between ages of 18-26, are one of the lower priorities. Now, in the state of Michigan, the vaccine is going to the local health departments, the large academic medical centers and hospital systems. As things progress, probably later in the spring and summer, the vaccine will likely be available to many more pharmacies and doctor’s offices and such. At that time, MSU Healthcare and perhaps Student Health Services at MSU would have access to the vaccine to be able to distribute that.

Looking forward, it’s likely going to be a busy summer for people giving vaccines to people between the ages of 18 and 40. Many students will likely receive the vaccine while they’re home for the summer, and that is encouraged. It is unlikely vaccines will be available for students during the spring semester.

Question: Can you give information out about student vaccination requirements for the fall of 2021?

That is currently being discussed with health leaders, administrative groups and also with our state officials.

Question: I understand that fraternities are having parties and masks are not being worn. What is the University’s stand on Greek life and prevention of spread of COVID-19? Does the University have any authority over fraternities?

Gatherings of dozens of people in close spaces are a really bad idea right now in the pandemic, so that is discouraged in every way that we can from the university standpoint.

Ingham County has an executive order that limits the number of people that can be at a gathering to 10. If it is brought to the attention in a fraternity or sorority house (that the gathering is larger) to the East Lansing police, they’re given a citation, a ticket. That ticket is worth $500 to the individual in the house. In addition, they go through MSU’s judicial system through the Dean of Students Office. We take all of these issues very seriously. There are judications from a letter of warning to expulsion from the university. We’ve had a number of interim suspensions over last fall. The same thing happens in the residence halls if someone does that. Then we will go through the same judicial process with students enforcing our compact.

Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) and FSL houses off-campus are privately owned. They have some that are leased and some are owned by the national corporations. National corporations can also take action with a particular chapter. So, there’s a wide range of actions that happen.

There are also proactive things that are being done and the FSL community is being proactive. They have put a moratorium on themselves not to have any gatherings or social activities, such as parties within their facilities. They did that in the fall semester and they are continuing that into the spring semester. They are also holding each other accountable with their internal judicial processes. And once again, we let folks know they’re not anonymous and we don’t want people who are not following the compact to be part of our community of Fraternity & Sorority Life.   

MSU Campus Life

Question: What steps are being undertaken to further open the campus?

We’re trying to have as many activities as possible in small groups that are physically distanced with mask usage. It makes it a challenge for everybody in the academic setting, and in the social setting and in the residence hall setting, but that is what we are trying to do as far as opening campus. Academically, our classrooms are now more open that they were in the fall semester, also in a very physically distanced and controlled fashion, with everybody being at least six feet apart during the whole class, wearing masks throughout and keeping things very safe there. Of course, with that, it really limits our ability to have as classes as we would like, or to have as many people in person in a class as we would like.

Question: At what point will you follow the "science" knowing that people of this age group are not at risk, and let students go to face to face classes and resume normal activities? What is the plan for students attending sporting events, such as the spring football game, baseball games, basketball games, etc.

I do understand that the student age group that we're dealing with, 18-26, is at very low risk of significant complications or death from COVID-19. However, every case of COVID-19 adds to that disease burden and adds to the ability for the virus to further spread to other people, other populations and other vulnerable populations. That’s why it is just as important for students, people of the younger age groups, middle age groups, to follow the same precautions and actually have those unfortunate same limitations to protect our more vulnerable groups until the vaccine takes hold and we have enough of that to have a level of immunity that will allow us to return to even more normal activities. We've learned a whole lot about what's important with this virus. As far as ventilation and spacing and timing and how long you can stay around people, which has allowed us to do more and suspect over the next few months will learn even more, so that if even if it's not absolutely perfect in September, it'll be a whole lot better than it is now.

Study Abroad

Question: Will there be study abroad?

We are planning to hold some degree of study abroad this summer. You have to begin with the default that there’s a high probability that we will be able to do study abroad, therefore, we should plan to do study abroad, and then as we get closer, (if necessary) cancel it. We can't do it the opposite direction. If trends continue the way that they are, if the governor is right that every month into 2021 will be better than the last, if the vaccine rollout continues, and if our international partners have a successful battle against the virus, then we can do it. But remember it was coming back from spring break and it was students coming back from study abroad that caused a not insignificant number of the first cases in the United States. So, we are not going to be part of the problem. We will proceed in the way that the virus will let us.


Question: What is the expected timeline for fall classes and their status, in-person vs online, and students to be notified?

At this time, we are planning that fall semester will be fully in-person as we have done in the past. However, we must follow COVID-19 and what is happening, so that could change.

Campus Safety other than COVID

Question: I'd like to ask what details are being done on campus to ensure safety for our students. If there's a push to "defund the police," as a mom of a female student, I'm very worried about her walking around campus w/out knowing how many police are available to respond. I know it's not a frequent thing, but I want to know exactly what "defund the MSU police" is going to look like compared to what it is before this plan.

Safety on campus is paramount for us. It's one of the central principles and values. Right now, I haven't heard of any defunding of the police. Our police force has relationships with Lansing and East Lansing, Lansing Township, so with those relationships, we also serve the greater Michigan Mid-Michigan community. There’s no specific campaign to defund the police at MSU.

To add to that, our police are an integral part of our current vaccine efforts on campus, partnering with our local health Department in getting vaccines to everybody in our community, so really serving an important role and getting things closer to normal from an academic and disciplinary perspective.


Question: When will advisors meet with rising sophomores to plan for and pick next year's courses?

It is the student's responsibility to schedule their classes. They can make an appointment with an advisor or use schedule builder to see what is needed

Question: If the governor lifts restrictions later this winter, will the university allow more in person classes?

No, if a class is not scheduled to be online, it's not going online.

Question: If students are having trouble getting answers from their professors, what course should they take?

If a student is emailing the professor and the professor is not responding to them, that's not acceptable at all. Write to them a second time and if they don't respond, every faculty member has a chair. Contact the department chair and say I've got an unresponsive professor; could you help me with it?

Question: For some of the STEM students who don't have labs in person, what happens to the funds that they've been charged?

We have been able to successfully put labs online in ways that we were surprised by and we've been able to offer a substantial number of the labs online. Every student has X number of labs and at the COVID year may prevent the student from taking as many in this particular year. They will have to catch up next year. They don't have to pay more lab fees in those years, so it all washes out.

Question: Synchronous vs. asynchronous classes. What are the differences? Why are we seeing so many prerecorded lectures?

It's very funny I get two very different kinds of emails. I get emails from parents that are very angry that there are asynchronous classes and I get emails from students that are very angry that there are synchronous classes. Students like asynchronous classes, classes that they can do at their pace in what are often referred to as prerecorded lectures. The methods that we use to teach anything, whether it's a chemistry laboratory course, or study abroad course, or American history or how to play the oboe, anything that we teach, the teaching methods that we use follow the learning outcomes. And then you choose whatever limitations are on you that allow you to do the best you can reaching those outcomes. So, last summer we invested millions of dollars into our faculty for them to develop a capacity to teach online, because we knew that 2020-2021 was going to be an online year. To help support our student learning, faculty were walked through a process to help them think about if they should be doing a distributed model of synchronous and asynchronous. Even before the Internet existed, there was synchronous and asynchronous learning. Students using a book is asynchronous; reading is asynchronous learning. Writing a paper is asynchronous learning; it's not done between 10:20 and 11:40 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So, the question that every professor asks at the beginning of every class is what elements of my course are best taught in a synchronous model? The students overwhelmingly prefer asynchronous if the class also allows them engagement with the instructors and other students in other ways.

Students are finding that in the COVID environment that synchronous learning requires a degree of Internet connectivity with extremely high reliability. And you already know what it’s like right when you do this, you step on each other’s toes. As you talk, you talk over each other. It's not really like being in the room together like there's all these other intervening things and the students know that if they are in a synchronous class and they have to be there at 10:50 to hear that certain thing from the professor, and if their little brother starts streaming when that happens, or if their Internet goes out when that happens, they missed it. Then the synchronous learning is really harmed by that, so the students would prefer a model that they have more control over the pacing so long as they get other avenues for engagement. There's nothing magical about synchronous or asynchronous. It really depends on what you're trying to accomplish in the course.

That all being said, there is a sense that the professors just prerecorded lecture and then he's done, and he doesn't have to do anymore work. They have essentially worked double time all year because they have had to. Typically, when you design a course, you get a course release to design a new course. Our faculty have got no course releases and they have designed their entire year’s-worth of teaching as online teaching. Within those parameters that understanding all of this, we've been really impressed at the outcomes, so we've surveyed our undergrads. What they told us was that their professors did quite well. They were quite happy with it; they felt that their professors were accommodating; and they're learning outcomes were strong, but they also expressed an extraordinarily high degree of anxiety and stress. It’s because the students are in a new environment; they're worried they missed an assignment; they're worried that something's happening someplace that they don't know about, and the remote environment causes all of those challenges. But they've also named for us very specific people when we ask who helped them through all this. What's remarkable is the vast majority of people said this professor, or this TA, or this undergraduate learning assistant, or this other student.

Spring Break

Question: Why was Spring Break Cancelled?

We followed similar guidelines as our colleagues within the Big10 and cancelled spring break. It was cancelled because we're in the middle of global pandemic that has killed millions of people. It not responsible to have spring break during this time.


Question: Can you share with us information as to this May Graduation Ceremonies; any dates set yet? In-person? Limited attendance? Zoom/Teams?  

We are planning an in-person graduation for the first week of May. We shortened the academic semester by one week this year so we could create a space to spread out graduations. We are deeply committed to having an in-person graduation. It will be a different ceremony. The normal large event at the Breslin Center, or the Auditorium or the Wharton is not viable with COVID right now. Last year, what we did was entirely virtual, the other end of the spectrum. It is our goal to bring students who will be graduating this semester to campus with their families, so we can celebrate. It will be primarily outdoors. We are planning that students will graduate either the first or second weekend of May, depending on their college. We hope to have details by the end of February. We want to have in-person, personalized engagement with students, their families and friends. That is what we are currently planning, however, we will not put you, our students or faculty and staff at risk. We will do whatever we can do within the boundaries of what is safe.


Question: Will we get refunds of tuition to offset the decrease in rental space, utilities since the students aren’t on campus in school buildings?

I understand that from a student's point of view that seems reasonable. The university is operating at a deficit of literally hundreds of millions of dollars. So, as I said, going to college is a lot more than just going to class. The situation is not what we want, but as a species, we have to recognize that we're facing a threat that none of us have seen in our lifetimes and hopefully won't again, and that our commitments to each other and to our institutions require that we figure out a way to weather this. What we're seeing is a pouring into student support and into scholarships. MSU is getting about $45 million from the federal government as part of the second stimulus. Of that, $40-45 million, $30 million is earmarked to address additional costs – the 10s of thousands of PCR samples that Jack and his folks run, all of the PPE, all of  the extra things that we've had to do. Fifteen million dollars of it is going directly to students for student aid. We don't have an across the board cut in everybody's tuition, but instead we're putting the money in the student aid and student scholarships for those families that have been significantly negatively impacted by the pandemic. If you have had a change in your family's income, you should reach out to the Office of Financial Aid and ask them to do a revision of your FAFSA. I have seen over and over again students whose families have had a loss of income because of the pandemic have a fundamentally different financial aid package after the revision of the FAFSA, so please reach out to financial aid if you need that.


Question: Can my daughter live off campus in Fall 2021 as a sophomore in what will be her second year, or is she required to live on campus?

The Institution has waived live-on requirements for first-year and transfer students who started at MSU in fall 2020, after course modality was adjusted and housing contracts were cancelled.

We continue to recommend students live on campus for at least one year, if not two. The neighborhood resources and connections can help students be more successful.

Question: My freshman, living at home this year, will be in the dorms next year. Is there one that is better for students in her position, sophomores entering the MSU campus for their first year in fall 2021?

Housing options in each neighborhood for current students; some buildings/floors are held for first-year students, so most likely your student will be living with or close to other sophomores and juniors. 

Question: When will students get dorm info and how do they access all that info?

Students have started to receive emails about returning student sign-up. Specific sign-up access times will be emailed on Thursday. Visit for more details. You can also call or email our Housing Assignments Office with questions.

Question: Most colleges are able to have to face to face classes and no restrictions on dorm rooms. Although the cautiousness and care is appreciated, the need for normalcy is needed. And this cautiousness shows no benefit compared to other colleges. When will MSU have face to face, and I assume no restrictions on dorm room assignments?

We are planning for students living in double rooms, single room options also available to current students. We will continue to follow university/local/state health and safety guidance if adjustments are necessary, but we are hopeful for vaccine by fall. 

Question: My son is a freshman, on campus for his very first semester, in a quad all by himself, with no in person classes, and does not know anyone. What are you doing to ensure that students like him are a part of an appropriate social environment while still adhering to COVID safety measures?

Our ability to plan in-person events is based on local/state requirements for gatherings. We are closely looking at this and ways we can provide community and connection to our residents. I’d encourage them to try our virtual events and meetings as a starting point for meeting other students. 

Question: Are the students allowed to be in other student's rooms in their own dorm or in other dorms?

With masks and six-foot physical distancing, this can happen. Typically, this should be no more than 2-3 total students in a room. We are not allowing overnights guests this academic year. (*Note:  This is not allowed during MSU's Enhanced Physical-Distanced Directive.)

Question: Is there an RA on each floor or hall? 

In most cases, there is an RA on each floor, some may one floor away. Every resident has an RA available to them. If unsure who that is, check out the RA board on their floor, or reach out to Community Director.

On-Campus Dining

Question: What are off-campus dining options?

You can still get an off campus meal plan if you go to There's a button to purchase, depending on their needs.

Question: Students don't go to lunch with strangers; they sit with their roommates, suitemates, friends from their dorm that they hang out with. So, what is the point of having one chair tethered to one table?

We understand that students yearn for social interaction, especially during mealtimes. However, the best way to prevent large groups from gathering together in the dining halls and minimizing the spread of COVID -19 is to maintain safe distances from each other, especially while eating when masks are off.


Question: Can you tell us where we will we be having a spring football game? Will MSU be welcoming students the Breslin Center to watch the basketball team play?

Right now, the Big 10 has limitations placed on basketball games which we’re following, which includes just family members of the players. We're following the Big 10 rules in terms of spring football I think that is yet to be determined. Whether it be fans in the stands will have to wait and see to see where we are come April.

Recreational Sports and Fitness Services 

Question: Will there be opportunities for physically distanced outdoor activities this spring, such as the outdoor yoga or Zumba?

Yes, we do anticipate doing that. We did some of that in the fall as we slowly opened up, but once again doing that at an appropriate physical distancing, so we’ll do some outdoor yoga and those type of non-contact activities. 

Question: Why does IME have such limited hours? Most students have classes (in person or synchronized) between the only hours it is open (10:00am to 6:00pm weekdays only). 

We'll have to see about that as we go. Once again, we're just slowly but surely testing out the waters and making sure we keep all our students and people safe in the community.

We have reopened IM West and IM East as membership facilities with limited activities, following MSU and health department guidelines for safety. We do not anticipate opening intramural sports. We will open more campus activities as the health and safety of our community allows.


Question: How is the university reaching out to freshmen students to try to incorporate them into the MSU family?

Through the Division of Student Affairs and Services, we reach out to students via messages and social media to help them find opportunities to connect and engage with fellow Spartans. We have 800-plus Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) where students can find numerous opportunities to get involved at Other programs can be found at

Question: In general, I am keen to learn more about how on-campus students will be able to interact/meet each other - fully understanding there must be COVID restrictions. But for their own mental health, how they do more than just meet up online?

In addition to the Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and their activities, fraternities and sororities are doing virtual recruitment, so that's one way to get involved. There's lots of different ways students can become physically distance yet socially engaged. Registered Student Organizations number 800-plus at MSU and they are holding events and meeting virtually. Information can be found about RSOs at Students will need their MSUNet ID to log in.

We’ve also been working really closely with our teams to think about how we have small events in a safe manner. We’re being very thoughtful and very conservative as students have come back, we want folks to get normalized to being on campus and wearing their mask and doing physical distancing. When we have events, and there are ways in which that we think we can do it very similar to how classrooms are doing it and we're putting those processes inplace, but we want to be very thoughtful as we move. Over the fall semester we were able to have people eat physically distancing while dining on campus, or being at the Union and studying or getting access to whatever software they need at the computer lab, so we've been able to figure out how to do that in a good, safe way.

We’re inching our way in a strategic way, so when the fall comes, we can be as open as possible, as the virus will allow us.

Question: What can students do to begin to meet other students and get involved on campus?

We had Springticipation in January, which Student Life, part of Student Affairs and Services, puts together for students to get involved in groups and clubs, and this year that was done virtually. We're hoping the frame some ways for people to get together, to meet around interest, and we want to start this in a slow, gradual manner so that we don't go backwards.

Encourage your student to check out the units within Student Affairs and Services for events, as well as Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) at and the University Activities Board (UAB) for virtual events and activities. There are a variety of programs, from virtual game nights to concerts.

Career Services

Question: What is happening to support graduating students in career counseling? Can you speak to what MSU can still offer AND how parents can help?

The Career Services Network in Student Affairs and Services has information on their website, They’re hosting more than 20 career fairs this semester – a record number. They're all virtual. Tuesday, we had 143 employers and over 1,000 students go through the one we recently held. Students should go to the Career Services’ website. They should also work with their specific colleges because their colleges has an advisor that's working in career services. In terms of internships, we have people dedicated to helping to find internships. Students can visit Handshake on the Career Services Network website to find those. We also have scholarships for unpaid internships. There's also resume writing workshops. There's also advising appointments. Everything can be found on the website. For those of you who are alumni, you can also become a mentor to other Spartans. If you want to get involved with college students trying to figure out their futures, you may get involved at MSU Connect, which also is on the website. Career Services information can be found at



Health and Safety

Answers and information provided by Mark Largent, associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of undergraduate studies, and Vennie Gore, senior vice president for Auxiliary Enterprises and interim vice president for Student Affairs and Services

Question: Please explain how MSU is handling COVID testing.

There are different types of testing. We're all familiar with the nasal swab testing that you can do in a drive through or walk through environment and we have a couple of places on campus where that's always available. It tends to be used by people who are symptomatic, meaning that they are showing signs that we associate with COVID-19 and they want to know if they have cold or COVID-19 and so they can go in and they can be swabbed.

Another kind of testing that we do is for asymptomatic people who may have been exposed to somebody who tested positive, or they may just want to know if they are asymptomatic and that's a way for us to keep track of the spread of the virus among asymptomatic people. Especially for young people, it's frequently the case that they have it and they have little or no symptoms, so we want to make sure we understand how frequently that occurs among.

The asymptomatic testing is done through the Spartan spit program. You can go to and you type in Spartan spin, it will come up. Literally, you just spit into a little vial when you're asked to do it and you drop into one of our drop stations on campus.

You will get a text that tells you there's no reason for you to go get the nasal swab or you ought to get the nasal swap, which is the diagnostic test. The Spartan spit test lets you know you should get tested but is not diagnostic. 

MSU was one of the places that was really first in figuring out that you could test sewage to detect whether or not the virus was in your community. So, because of the way that the residential halls are set up, we can actually test the sewage in those buildings and we can detect when we start to see indications that people in the building have the virus, and then we can focus our asymptomatic testing in those spaces. So, the idea is really to understand where the virus is. And when we see it begin to emerge in places, then we can engage asymptomatic testing and more importantly, the quarantining.

We have a dedicated team that we call the COVID Response Team.

So, let's say your son or daughter has tested positive and they live in residence halls or they have  been exposed. They need to self-isolate in a location where they can go and get food and come back. There's a little more freedom to quarantine or do self-isolation in our suite style residence halls where they can actually quarantine in their room just as you would be able to quarantine in your apartment or at your home. We have an online form that we use for food ordering and we will deliver food right to the door, three times a day. There are no additional costs for students who live on campus and we also have the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center that we use as isolation and quarantine housing.

Question: With physical health, speaking on recreational, physical fitness and mental, can you discuss what resources are available now and moving into the spring?

IM West is open on campus. There is a fee for a membership to use the facilities. You can work out and swim in that building. Visit the Recreational Sports & Fitness Services' website at for more information.

Another piece is MSU Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS), which is open and is offering virtual programming. Use their website at to find more information. We know it is a difficult time for everyone, so if you have any problems or concerns with your mental health, please reach out.

Academic and Advising Information
Answers and information provided by Mark Largent, associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of undergraduate studies and 
Jeff Grabill, associate provost for Teaching, Learning, and Technology

Question: When should students be reaching out to advisors and how? When should they reach out to change their major?

Advising is the key to success for our students. Our most successful students are the ones who have early and constant interactions with the advisors. These advisors understand the relationships between majors, university requirements, college requirements and major requirements, etc. is a very valuable space for students. I think it’s probably the best aggregation of all of the things in the middle of a pandemic for students. The very first thing on the right side is advising resources. Choose that link and it will take you right to the advisor for your academic unit or a unit that might be of interest to a student. You should talk those to advisors; it is their job to help cultivate the student’s career. Students should get in front of advisors early and often; they are an important resource.

Question: What grading accommodations will be made this semester?

In the spring we switched to a binary grading system. We normally offer 4.0, 3.5, 3.0, etc. Instead of offering that system in the spring, we gave students a chance to look at their grades and they chose between the numerical grade we they earned and either Satisfactory or Not Satisfactory.  If they chose the latter, their grades would not be reflected in their semester or cumulative GPAs.

Recently, the Provost decided that the Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory option should be offered to our students again the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 to help support them during this very difficult time.

Question: We know some students are struggling with the online functionality and some students are thriving. What are we doing to continue improving this experience for students to help them move towards getting their degree?

One of my very smart colleagues said MSU does not have online students, they just have students. We are not tuned to be an online school and all of sudden, on a drop of a dime, we became one. Having said that, most of it has gone extremely well. It is true we had about 1,000 staff members go on a week-long boot camp for professional development on the online format. It is a record number for us and we have worked hard for this support and capacity for staff and students. We have been paying attention to this experience and there are patterns of things not going well.

It disappointed me to hear the interactions of staff and students are low, and in some cases practically nonexistent. One of the things I know after teaching for 25 years is to be present for students and enable them to see you as a human being. The fact that is not happening is really bothering me. We are working across the board to fix all these things. Human engagement is the priority to me and students find it to be the most upsetting. When we get it right, it is all the difference in the world. Never in the history have we had conversations like this and there are strengths and weaknesses to both.

For the spring, we wish to help students be more ready for these new structures for these course outlines. We understand the challenge it has been to set up students for success. The most radical difference of an MSU experience for this year from last is the actual experience outside the classrooms, too. This year, the experience is the courses themselves, we have placed a lot of stress on students and staff to fulfill the full MSU experience in just these courses alone. This is hard to do and I am deeply sympathetic for these students.

Question: If a student has a complaint about how an online class is going, what should be the path they should take to do so? 

We want to hear from students if things are not going well. The first point of contact needs to be the course’s instructor. That should happen quickly if a student has a concern. If that doesn’t produce an outcome a student is happy with, the student should reach out to the department chair or the deans office.

Managing the courses that are not going well will be handled by case-by-case situations. We will reach out to deans of colleges and plan out a path for success. Our faculty needs to hear this feedback and needs support to help them understand what is happening to make better decisions.

Question: President Stanley indicated in his email that MSU would be scheduling about 360 more in-person classes this spring, bringing the total to around 400. What percentage of the total classes offered is this and how does that compare to other universities that have successfully implemented in-person classes this past fall? 

This fall we have 40 in-person classes being taught. These are courses that students need in order to make their way toward graduation. One of our goals for the year was to work very hard to make sure that we didn't slow students down in their progress toward a degree. That was extraordinarily important. Each of the 40 in-person courses are, for the most part upper division, junior and senior, lab-based courses. It is our expectation that in the spring will increase the number of in-person courses by a factor of about 10. We’re hoping to feature about 400 in person courses in the spring.

Question: If a student is enrolled is an in-person class and wishes not to attend due to COVID-19 concerns, what should that student do?

We are planning 400 courses to be in person for the spring. Although that sounds like a lot, it is a single digit percentage of our overall course catalog. It is not a massive number. Some students may find themselves in classes that are in-person and wish to learn online, or vice versa, you should make sure that shift is both appropriate and allowable for you. Speak with an advisor.

I work closely with all the associate deans in the 16 undergrad colleges, and we lined up those 400 classes we wanted to teach in person. Before the president’s announcement, we made that shift right so that the class schedule right now is very close to how the spring is shaping up. The vast majority of changes have been made and you should look at your schedule and speak with your advisors.

Question: Dr. Stanley’s email said the in-person courses would be geared toward those needed by students to graduate on time. How is that defined? 

Now, the way that we decided on what we're teaching in the spring we went to the faculty to control the curriculum. Faculty decide what a student’s needs in order to graduate. They also have control over how courses are taught, so we went to the faculty and we said, could you tell us which courses, because of the nature of how they're taught and the nature of what students need to learn, which courses must be taught in person?

There can be no other sort of pathway to graduation except through that course, and that course has to be taught. So, the faculty identified those classes for us. After we had identified them. We said all right now of the faculty, who among you would like to teach a course in the spring, not necessarily a course that must be taught in person, but a course that could be taught in person. We would put in-person the courses that had to be taught in person, along with the courses faculty want to teach in person but could be taught online. Faculty would teach those classes in person, but the units must also put up sufficient seats in an online course, as well, so students don’t have to come to campus, that is, unless there's something about the educational experience that requires them to be here.

We want to make sure that students have the option to continue to learn from home or to come to the East Lansing area to take their classes, but there will be a significant number of lab and performance-based classes in person. These are like art studio courses, dance classes, certain music courses, a lot of the science and engineering lab-based courses where they are using very expensive, often multi-million dollar pieces of equipment. This is the kind of thing that somebody is not going to have in their bedroom to do a laboratory for science, so those courses will be taught here.

We went remote in March. There is this notion that we’ll be back to something more familiar to us. And that's not how the world is going to operate. What's going to happen is this slow reopening as we've seen it over the last eight months.

Question: Are the students required to come live on campus if one or more of their class is offered in person? 

Students do not need to live on campus to attend an in-person class. They may commute to that class, if they desire. 

Question: Can you discuss the spaces open right now that students can utilize to study? 

There are several spaces open. The main library is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. The Student Services Building is open and students can study there. We are also open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, as well. The MSU Union is also open until 8 p.m. and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday. Several classrooms in Wells Hall are open, too.

Enrollment Status 

Question: What are the requirements to keep your spot as a student?

There is no keeping your spot; if you are a student, you are a student. It’s not like 10th grade when you need to contact the office when you are not coming. If you take the fall and spring off, you are still a student if you come back. That third semester is when you have to reapply. If you do not plan to start in January, you should let the Department of Admissions know. You are still one of us.

Student Conduct 

Answers and information provided by Mark Largent, associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of undergraduate studies

Question: What is the current status of students getting interim suspensions due to COVID-19 related issues?

One of things we want our students to do is the education piece. We want you safe and the community safe. We want students to be a part of the solution, not the problem. Students who are not doing the right thing, we want to hold you accountable and allow you to hold yourself accountable as adults. Our entire process is about the education process of students on learning, living and developing.

If a student violates the compact, what will happen sometimes, there will be parties that counties do not allow. Police offers will report tickets and those will be sent to the university. Then, students will meet with deans and me (Mark Largent) to appeal the suspensions. I have a convo with somebody who made a bad decision. These students have to understand the decisions they make and how that affects others livelihood. You do not wear a mask to protect yourself, but for others. You do not get that across by punishing people, its used to help students get on the right track.  

When they get called out for this, they are very apologetic and needed this wake up. We have had to many hard decisions lately and the way we are getting this control is to behave in a new manner. There is a calling out on the carpet for that educational opportunity and this is something that needs to be done.”


Question: What are the plans for commencements at this point? What will it look like?

We hope we will have graduation ceremonies in the spring. We might do it the department level, or college level over a series of days; it increases the probability of having it.  

Mid-winter break is still on schedule as usual.

Study Abroad

Question: Will there be any spring or summer study abroad opportunities?

We’re hoping to have study aboard start up again, however, we need to follow what the CDC will indicate for us what to do. For our study abroad programs, finding out which countries are allowing people to come into the country and making sure that we have safety measures in place for any student that do travel abroad. It will be a case by case decision on what programs will be available in the spring semester.

Spring Break

Question: What was the process of making the decision to cancel spring break?

A week-long period of students traveling in March, when flu season just begins to end, does not seem ideal. The decision was made to follow other Big Ten schools. So, we are following our peers in this and we are saying spring break will be canceled. We do not have school Jan. 18 because of Martin Luther King Day. The first Tuesday and Wednesday of March will be study days, declared by the president. Then we are going to have two study days at the end of the semester, as well. We really want students to have that downtime.

We want to try and give people the time that they need in order to get through the course material in a reasonable pace. We are ending classes and finals a week earlier than usual, as well.

Housing and Dining

Answers and information provided by Vennie Gore, senior vice president for Auxiliary Enterprises and interim vice president for Student Affairs and Services 

Question: What is the process students need to follow to request housing?

It is important to go onto to get the most accurate information. We notified everyone who chose to live at home and we canceled the commitment for freshmen to live on campus in the spring.

There is a short application needed to get a sense of the needs of students who want to live on campus, available the first week of November. We’ll notify people the first week of December about spaces.  

We are going through this process right now and it was very smooth this summer, proving it works well. 

Question: Given the importance of LLCs in many student decisions; can MSU attempt to provide any returning students in spring semester the opportunity to be a suitemate with their original roommate and keeping as many LLC students together as possible. For Lyman Briggs specifically would you move any current students or just place new ones together?

Kat Cooper and I are part of a committee that’s residential learning and living and it includes all LLC communities. We are working hard to provide those co-curricular experiences for these students.

Question: Why aren't more dorms opening for all freshman who want to live on campus? 

We've learned a lot over the last seven weeks. We have roughly about 2,600 students living on campus, and that includes student families in our apartments at 1855, students in the residence halls and out in Spartan Village. We have discovered from having students living in single rooms and suite-style rooms with their own bathrooms is that we were able because to really reduce the transmission level. Our transmission level has been about .04 percent (as of 10/28/20), very, very low because we have people living in singles and not having what you would see in congregated housing, like we’ve seen in off-campus in fraternities and group houses.

Question: What about dining for those living on campus?

The dining will start to open up more and more. The same quality dining options will be offered; the only difference is food is on the go.

Will the new incoming students who want to live in a single for Spring term be able to pick their suitemate, or dorm?

On the application form to fill out, you have the opportunity to file for suite mates and friends on the same floor. Both people have to agree on this form.

Student Engagement

Answers provided by Vennie Gore, senior vice president for Auxiliary Enterprises and interim vice president for Student Affairs and Services, Allyn Shaw, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and Services and Terrence Frazier, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and Services

Question: How are students able to connect?

Currently, there are number of different activities in which students can be involved. This is the secret sauce that MSU is all about and it is critical to provide these to our Spartans.

Student Affairs and Services offers numerous opportunities for students to connect, including Registered Student Organizations via Involve@State, where hundreds of organizations offer information about them, events and meeting times. Students can review all organizations or filter to the type of groups in which they may be interested. In addition, Student Affairs and Services is home to numerous units offering programming, connections and support to students and communities.

RHS has resident advisors that are on the floors along with their living staff. We’re also working with Mark Largent and his team with the Circles of Success program, which is to provide similar support as we have in the past for students on campus but doing so virtually. This would predominantly be freshmen.

Question: Can you discuss student groups and what they are doing on campus?

We know the importance of these interactions, but there are many things we need to do make sure things are safe. Ingham County is only allowing no more than 10 people gathering. So, one way to get involved and be involved at Michigan State is to find groups of like-minded students. Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) are still doing programming on campus and they offer fun opportunities on campus and virtually. Find more information at Involve@State.

Career Services

Question: What resources are available for career counseling, resume review and possible job placement? How can students access these services?

Career services has moved completely online with advising appointments, career fairs, etc. There is also Handshake where students can view jobs/internships. MSU Connect is also here to help students connect with mentors.

The Career Services Network provides this information and more at The Career Services Network team is working full-time to help students find and prepare for internships, employment and graduate school.


Question: Why are there no fans at football?

The Big Ten decided that all 14 teams will not allow fans. Each team member can have two family members attend. It is a different experience than the past, but we are hoping to see things get better. Wisconsin is dealing with an outbreak and we do not want this.


Question: Can you discuss public transportation with CATA buses? Are they still in service? Where can students park?

CATA busses are still running on a limited route. There is free parking available right now on campus and the lots are identified on


Updated August 14, 2020

Housing and Dining Information

Answers and information provided by Vennie Gore, vice president, Auxiliary Enterprises


Question:  There is information about prohibiting overnight guests. Are families permitted to come to campus at any time to visit students? Or is it necessary to make an appointment, complete a health screening, etc.?

In-room guests discouraged, overnight guests prohibited.

Question:  Is face mask mandatory once they step out from their room?

Face masks are required in hallways, community bathrooms and rest rooms, lounges, lobbies, etc.

Question:  If campus is shut down and dorms are closed, will housing costs and food costs be refunded?

If there is a surge in the virus, halls will not be closed. If students are urged by the Administration to return to their permanent residence, we will offer credits based upon room types and dining plans.

Question: What recourse does a student living on campus have if their roommate isn’t following social distancing protocols?

If a roommate is not following the policies, students call talk to their RA or other Residence Education staff so we can engage and educate the roommate. While we will use education as our initial approach, issues can be reported to the Dean of Students Office.


Around 65 percent of our on-campus residents have chosen to return to campus – around 10,000 students. It’s important to remember that 30% of students overall live on campus.

Question:  Have any dorms been enhanced with additional built in Viral safety features, like air conditioning, etc.?

Halls do not have AC in the rooms and we do not have the electrical load to support them in all the rooms. We have been working with MSU’s Environmental Health and Safety team to follow recommendations of introducing more fresh air into the HVAC in common spaces. Fans and open windows in rooms will help introduce air into the space.

Question:  How often will community bathrooms be cleaned and how thorough? What about schedules to use it?

  • Community bathrooms are being fully sanitized on an enhanced schedule that began last Spring, along with all other public areas of residence halls/dining halls and high-touch surfaces.
  • Community baths will not have schedules, but will have occupancy limits and requests to students to maintain distance.
Question:  Am I correct to assume that the four boys sharing a suite bathroom will clean their own bathroom in Case Hall?
Suite bathrooms will be cleaned by the students living in the suite, we recommend daily wiping down of surfaces. Some supplies will be available at the service center in the hall, but students who can find supplies are recommended to bring their own.

Question: I presume all of the drinking fountains on campus will be shut off (as they are in office buildings, etc.). Will the water bottle filling stations (often part of a drinking fountain) still be operational on campus

Drinking fountains are off, water bottle filling stations are on.

Isolation and Quarantine

Question:  Are there any requirements for out of state students to have to sequester?

Currently, the guidance from the Office of the University Physician and the Ingham County Health Department is that we recommend all students self-quarantine at home 14 days prior to arrival, and we strongly recommend students traveling from high risk or outbreak states or countries quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. We will offer on-campus students the opportunity to utilize quarantine housing, or some may be able to quarantine within their rooms. This applies to families traveling with students, as well.

Question:  How will the students in the COVID isolation dorms be cared for? 

Meals will be delivered daily to students’ rooms. Students must submit their online order form the day prior. Students needing medical attention should contact a local urgent care or medical provider, such as the Olin Health Center. Call 911 for any medical emergencies. An RHS team member will complete a check-in call or email every other day with residents. If a friend of family member is concerned about a student’s safety and needs an immediate check completed on the resident, they should contact MSU Police.

Question:  If a student living off-campus gets COVID can they use the rooms made available for quarantine on campus?

On-campus isolation and quarantine housing is for on-campus residents only.

Question:  Regarding the quarantine dorms that have been set-aside for ill students – what amount of students can be accommodated? 

We have over 600 isolation/quarantine spaces set aside for our on-campus students available in Akers Hall, Kellogg Hotel and select Spartan Village apartments.

Question:  My student has a hybrid class where the in-person component is taking place in Akers Hall. This concerns me considering Akers Hall is going to be an isolation dorm for students testing positive for COVID. Will classes actually be taking place in Akers?

Akers Hall is three distinct building sections – two living towers and a center section with public areas, classrooms and a dining hall. While the classrooms will not be used for classes in fall, the space and dining facility will be open to students. People in iso/quarantine will be remaining in the living towers.

Updated information on Quarantine Space 

The following residence halls will be open fall semester: Wilson, Wonders, Case, Holden (West), Holmes, Owen, McDonel and VanHoosen.
Isolation/Quarantine living:  The Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center and Hubbard Hall will be designated for this use. 


Question:  If your child’s roommate drops out, can the student should be given the option of accepting a person or paying for a single? 

If a student had an open space in their room, we offered the option for these students to select a buyout single for fall semester only. Other students can add their name to the waiting list for a single room or room change.

Question: Our student's housing assignment currently has her in a triple in Shaw. I was wondering if there is a planned re-assignment after the university has been able to process the expected number of on-campus residents?

Rooms are assigned as designed – there is some natural dedensification as students have made other decisions. Students can add their name to the waiting list for a single room or room change. The only quad rooms on campus are in Akers Hall – that hall has been reassigned to make space for iso/quarantine housing.

Question:  Our daughter’s online vs in person course load wasn’t clear until after the Learn From Home application deadline had passed (August 5th) but is it too late to switch to learn from home?

If online learning on campus doesn’t work for a student, they can apply for a contract release and share significant changes in circumstances that warrant the release.

Questions: When my student completed the application for not returning to housing, she received an email stating 1855 residents do not qualify to stay home. Is this true? Our student plans to vacate her apartment completely as the university encourages by Thanksgiving break and will not return until 1/11/2021. We do not understand why she is not eligible for a housing credit despite following the university recommendations. 

Apartment residents are still able to fill out the contract release, even though they don’t qualify for Learn from Home or the Thanksgiving credit. Those leases are structured in a different way than residence halls.

Question:  When they come home on Thanksgiving break for the end of fall semester, do students bring everything back or just what they need at home?

Students do not need to take home all their belongs after Thanksgiving, but should take home anything they will need, as they will not have access until Spring move-in.

Question:  Will you give us the opportunity to reassess for spring semester?  Can we opt-out of spring semester living on campus if our student can't make the online learning work on campus?

We will be discussing spring semester housing in the coming months. No decisions have been made at this time.

Question:  If my freshman attends MSU for the spring semester, after learning at home in the fall, will he have the same roommate and housing assignment?

We will have housing for students returning in the spring, but cannot guarantee the same room/roommate. We will do our best to get them a similar arrangement.

Question: How soon will students have to choose housing for Fall 2021?

We plan to open Fall 2021 sign-up in winter for on-campus housing. MSU recommends two years on campus (especially for this class) so students can make their best social and academic transition to MSU. Historically, this process has begun in late October/early November. Off-campus entities may start early as usual. Please know that there will be on-campus space for returning students.


Question: What are travel policies for students once they arrive on campus or in East Lansing?

We recommend students limit travel to and from the residence halls; when they do leave, we ask that they continue to practice physical distancing, wearing face coverings and good hygiene and hand washing practices. (Such as – trips home, weekends away, etc.)

Question:  Are families permitted to come to campus at any time to visit students?

Families can come to campus, need to observe distancing and mask wearing, meet in public areas.


Question: Exactly how will the eating on campus take place? 

Our award-winning food is available in the dining halls in disposable containers. Seating is limited to 50 percent of capacity. Mobile ordering is also available. Students can take food back to their rooms, public seating areas, outdoors or dine-in. With fewer students and fewer in-person classes, anticipate meal-time rushes to flatten somewhat.

Question:  What is the environmental impact of disposable dishes and utensils and grab-and-go meals vs traditional service, and how will MSU mitigate this?

We are sensitive to the environmental and budgetary impact of grab-and-go containers and are looking for safe alternatives and strategies.

Question:  Will the dining facilities return to "normal"?

Dining facilities will return to normal when the CDC, Ingham Co Health Dept., Michigan Governor and MSU’s COVID Response Team tell us they may.

Question: I recall a kosher food station in the dining hall of the adjoining dorm to Case Hall - will that still be there?

The Case Hall Kosher area will be open.

For more information on dining hall hours visit


Question:  What types of safe/social distanced activities will be available for the students in the dorm?  

Most planned residence hall interactions will be held virtual or in a “hybrid” format for at least the first part of fall semester. This will be regularly evaluated based on public health and University guidance. RAs and Intercultural Aides will be available as resources, even if the interactions are more virtual to begin. Student groups like University Activities Board are looking into what events they could offer outdoors or in a hybrid format.

The MSU Union will be open seven days a week. Hours at

Cleaning Information

Information and answers provided by Brandon Baswell, campus services manager, Infrastructure Planning and Facilities

Question:  How will bathrooms be cleaned?

Heavily used bathrooms will be checked hourly and have touchpoints cleaned with a germicidal disinfectant. Floors will be mopped daily. 

  • Posters have been placed in all bathrooms reminding people to thoroughly wash their hands, use a face covering and physically distance. 
  • Refer to Housing information for bathroom question in residential housing.

Question:  How will you control elevators and capacity in them and cleaning?

Elevators will be cleaned at least daily and inspected regularly throughout the day.

  • We’re installing UV air filters in campus elevators to improve air quality in those spaces for those who must use an elevator.
  • The university will be limiting elevators to one passenger or, during move in, for example, one family group. 

Question:  Will drinking fountains and bottle-fill stations be operational?

  • All drinking fountains on campus will not be in service. Adjustments have been made or will be made prior to the start of class so that no one will be able to drink from them. (Campus has more than 100 occupied buildings and we have teams working to prepare each building before classes start.)
  • Bottle-fill stations will be operational even if they are part of a combined fill station and drinking fountain. 

Question: What is CATA doing to keep buses clean?

We will be cleaning the main bus stop on campus to ensure touchpoints are disinfected regularly. 

  • Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) is closely following CDC guidelines for public transportation and are working to keep their buses clean and safe. You may find more information here:



 Updated April 23, 2020

Financial Aid

Answers and information provided by Rick Shipman, executive director, Office of Financial Aid

As of April 22, 2020, 48,638 students have been offered financial aid

$850M is the total of the aid offered 

Question: If parents’ incomes have changed because of COVID-19 and they have already completed the FAFSA, is there a way to change the form with new information?

Yes and No. You can only submit corrections to the FAFSA via the federal website. That means you can only correct errors that were made in completing the original application. But, in recognition of the reality that lives and finances change between the year of receipt of financial aid and the IRS data from 2 years previous, there is are a couple processes authorized in the law to take these changes into account.

The law is called Professional Judgment of financial aid officers and the process is called Special Conditions. To declare a Special Condition, you need to contact the aid office directly or visit their website so you know what the aid office needs to make adjustments for you.

Whether you talk with an aid officer or just mail in your request for reconsideration, the standard requirements are: 1) a written statement of your circumstances and 2) documents that support your statement.

Standard circumstances that cause families to request a recalculation of aid include, but are not limited to, loss of income, birth, death, separation, divorce, marriage or remarriage and medical expenses.

  • For a loss of income, for example, you would explain whether it’s a loss of job, loss of hours, cut in pay, or whatever and then provide a copy of a paycheck or statement from your employer about the change.
  • It is a good idea to talk with a financial aid officer for some issues like loss of income because, even though the change could be huge for your family, it might not be enough to change your aid eligibility in a meaningful way.
  • A family of four making $150,000, for example, might have an income loss of $50,000 when a parent loses a job, but that likely won’t change the calculation enough to qualify you for a federal Pell Grant for which the average family income is under $55,000.
  • For a separation or divorce, you would simply explain the status and when it occurred and include a copy of the divorce decree if it exists. In this case, you will also have to declare which parent is the custodial parent because only data for that parent will be used in the recalculation of aid eligibility. That might require documenting income too.         

Question: Will MSU distribute the CARES money to all students or only those with need? How will the students be notified?

For those who don’t know, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act was created to allow higher education institutions to provide emergency funds to students impacted by the institutional disruptions caused by the pandemic. We have not received our funds yet, but they are due any day. We expect to receive $15M that will be used for student emergency grants. Students will apply for the grants through an online application that should be ready later this week. Only students who use the application will receive funds but they do not have to demonstrate financial need. The only requirements are that they complete a FAFSA and have expenses related to the campus disruption. The application will be very straightforward and brief and allow the student to explain how the disruption affected them, the area of expenses that were impacted and the dollar amount of those impacts. If the request meets the federal requirements, the funds will be applied to the student’s MSU account and refunded to them through that process. Students who have set up direct deposit at MSU will get their grants the fastest. If they don’t have direct deposit, a check will be created and mailed to them.

Question: With tuition not rising this year, will there be any changes to financial aid?

$6,195 for the 2019-20 aid year

$6,345 for the 2020–21 aid year

$150 increase

Institutional need based grants increased by a minimum of 2%. 


Housing and Dining Information

Answers and information provided by Vennie Gore, vice president, Auxiliary Enterprises

Question: Can residence hall selection and housing deposit deadlines be extended?

Current students can select through April 26; can contact Housing Assignment Office regarding options.

New student assignment begins May 11 with living-learning communities; students with signed housing contracts by May 7 receive an email with their sign-up time window on May 8. Students who sign their contract after this date will be added to the sign-up system on a rolling basis. 

There is not a housing deposit but there is an AED for new students. Incoming students who request a deposit extension until June 1 will still have an opportunity to select their residence hall space.

Question: Can MSU assist with helping students out of their lease obligations both on and off campus?

For on campus, students can contact the Housing Assignment Office.

For off campus, they can contact Student Legal Clinic at 517-353-3716 or MSU Housing Clinic at 517-432-6880. 

Question: Will there be a refund for unused meal plans since they cannot be used?

Residence hall students’ credit is reflected in the spring room and board credit.

Off Campus meals stay with residents until they are no longer a student. Students may contact the Spartan Cash office at 517-355-2274.

Graduating seniors may have their off-campus meals refunded or transferred to a sibling.

For Spartan Cash refunds, students may call the Spartan Cash Office.

Question: What will happen to the student’s personal items after April 20? (May 1st)

Students have the opportunity to tell us they need to temporarily leave their belongings or use a third party to pack/store/ship items on their behalf. Information is available on the Live On website.

For students who have told us they left their belongings, we have closed their room and will contact them to pick up belongings after the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order is Lifted.

They can contact their Neighborhood Service Center if they need to access their belongings sooner.

Question: If courses are online for fall semester, will the housing deposits be refunded?

We are under discussions regarding fall classes. Since we do not require a deposit then we would not refund; however, if we are online for the fall, we would be considering releasing students from their contract if they do not attend in person.

Question: When will students see their refunds if they have moved out of the residence halls before April 12 deadline?

Credits should be showing on Student Accounts the last week of April through the first week of May.

For residents who are applying credit to next year’s room and board or off campus meal plans, that will happen in July. If we make the move to all online classes, we will either issue refunds when that is determined, or offer to push the credit forward to a future semester.

Question: For students with scholarship money for room and board that is taxable, are there similar adjustments.

This is an IRS rule. You should consult your tax accountant for the answer.

Question: How did MSU determine the credit amount?

We based our decision on the following principles:

  • We remain open and operational, with a duty to care for our students who need to be here for employment, labs and performance-based classes.
  • We have a need to follow the directives of the government, including limiting groups of people in our dining halls to enhance cleaning, social distancing.
  • For many students, MSU is their home, or they cannot safely get to their homes at this time.
  • We will need to help provide housing and food security for off-campus students as we move through this crisis.
  • The Housing contract allows anyone in a residence hall to break their contract and they would recover 40% of their remaining costs. This is not an option for on-campus apartments. They would typically receive a 0% refund.
  • The $1,120 credit represents students receiving back 50% of their costs for the 50-day period of March 12 (announcement day) to graduation day. Typically, the last 14 days of the semester the contract release is not applicable.

Question: Upcoming opportunities to engage with Housing & Dining:

Housing & Dining Sign-Up Overview for Students and their Families. These one-hour sessions will show a live demonstration of the housing sign-up process and share important information you’ll need to select your housing and dining plans, along with how to sign-up with a roommate.  Space is open to the first 500 registrants.
Sessions are:

  • May 5, 7 p.m., Out of State Students
  • May 7, 7 p.m., Living-Learning Community Students
  • May 13, 7 p.m., Domestic New Students not in LLCs

We will be sending out more information next week to students and parents whose email address we have in Housing.


Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS)
Answers and information provided by Mark F. Patishnock, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, director of CAPS

On March 17, 2020, CAPS offices at Olin Health Center, the Student Union, and the Neighborhoods closed. Services were transitioned to tele-mental health platforms (e.g., HIPAA-compliant Zoom, phone) to allow CAPS staff to work remotely as a precautionary public health and safety measure.  

CAPS phone – 517-355-8270 – is available 24/7/365. When called, will lead to a voice prompt with 3 options:

  • Press 1 to talk with a crisis counselor 24/7/365 (this service is provided through a contract with ProtoCall, a national phone-based crisis mental health resource used at more than 200+ universities). CAPS staff then follow-up with these students to ensure appropriate case management;
  • Press 2 to leave a message with the CAPS nurse which will be responded to within one business day, or;
  • Press 3 for general messages (e.g., scheduling issues).

Mental health services continue via:

Providing services across state lines are occurring. However, the nature of the service may vary (e.g., consultation vs treatment) as we balance adhering to ever-changing state laws and executive orders as well as with our ethical and professional responsibilities to not abandon pre-established patients. We are monitoring these state by state.

  • Established patients/clients will continue to be offered either phone or Zoom appointments. Additionally, established psychiatry patients can also access their MSU Health patient portal at to contact their provider or request a prescription refill.  
  • New Student Services: Students can complete a survey (link on caps homepage: to receive a phone consultation with a counselor to determine appropriate care and options: 

 Maintaining our mental health and wellbeing:   

A range of emotions will occur. Anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness, stress, lethargy, fear, anxiety, uncertainty . . .these are all normal and expected. Give yourself permission to experience these emotions as valid reactions to the loss of control, the loss of experiences and opportunities, and the many changes we are all experiencing in our daily lives.  

Focus on things we can control (sleep, diet, exercise, making a routine/schedule, etc), and accept and “let go” of things outside of our control. None of us truly know when this will end. Uncertainty, although uncomfortable, is not necessarily dangerous. 

Think about the expectations we have for both ourselves and each other. Choose compassion over judgement. We may not be as productive as we once were. That’s okay. Our current set of circumstances are designed to keep us safe. We are all doing our best.

Social Distancing does not have to equal social isolation. Stay connected with others through virtual means. Reach out and help others right now – that usually makes us feel better as it serves a need beyond ourselves.

Practice gratitude. There are many unintended benefits our or current circumstances. Seeing these unanticipated changes as opportunities may prove fruitful. Perhaps you have more time to connect with family and friends. Maybe you are able to take more walks and be a little more active then normal. Maybe this is a good time to pick up that hobby that you previously did not have time for. Perhaps it’s a time to dust off that book siting on the shelf or get back to playing an instrument you once loved.

Just know that although none of us known exactly when, this will not last forever. True, it is unlikely that the road ahead will be different than before COVID-19, but the current circumstances are only temporary. We are all in this together.


Information Technology (IT)
Information provided by Melissa Woo, Ph.D.Senior Vice President of Information Technology

The resource created for the students is the web site located at The resource contains tips/advice/resources for students regarding remote learning.


Undergraduate Academic Information
Answers and information provided by Mark Largent, Ph.D., associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of undergraduate studies

Question: Will summer tuition be adjusted because courses are only available online?

No. Summer tuition rates are set and will be the same as the rates for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020.  

For the last several years, about 50% of the classes that MSU offers in the summer have been online courses. Most students prefer online classes in the summer because they allow students to earn credits from anywhere in the world and to continue to learn from MSU’s world class faculty without having to be in East Lansing.

For Summer 2020, MSU has substantially increased its summer online offerings to compensate for the fact that the pandemic is preventing students from completing internships, study abroad programs and other educational opportunities. Our goal in the midst of this pandemic is to ensure that our students have the opportunity to continue to make their way to the graduation stage regardless of what impediments the virus presents them.

Question: Why are classes so expensive if they are only available online?

Online education is not less expensive for MSU to provide than in-person education.  MSU’s online courses are taught by the same world-class faculty members who teach in-person courses on campus, and class sizes for in-person and online courses are approximately the same.

In fact, online education is typically much more expensive than in-person for institutions like MSU. There is no reduction in the university’s overhead for salaries, buildings, maintenance, and student support, but there are new costs for technology and for professional development for our faculty and staff.

When people think of inexpensive online education, they typically think of MOOC’s (massive open online courses). That is not the model MSU has adopted to provide its courses online.  MSU’s online courses meet the same expectations to which its in-person courses are held.

Question: If classes are only available online, will the out of state tuition be moved to the same price as instate tuition?

MSU’s out of state tuition rate represents the actual cost of providing education to a student.

Michigan residents receive a discount on the actual cost of providing education because the state of Michigan provides an annual appropriation to MSU that offsets the cost of tuition for Michigan residents. Additionally, the state of Michigan has – for the last 165 years – provided support to the university to build and maintain new facilities and to expand the size of the campus. The historical and ongoing support from the state justify a reduction in the price of tuition for Michigan residents, but not for out-of-state or international students.

Question: Will every student automatically have the satisfactory/not satisfactory grade reporting option for spring semester? Will their current GPA remain the same?

For each of their classes, students are able to choose whether they would like to use the satisfactory/not satisfactory (S/NSO) grade reporting system for spring semester or would like to choose the numerical grade. The default is the numerical grade. The S/NS grading is entirely optional and MSU has designed it with the intention that choosing to exercise this option will not negatively impact your future academic success. Grades recorded as S/NS will not be calculated into students’ cumulative grade point average nor will they be used in determining honors, such as Dean’s List. For more information about the S/NS grading system please see these FAQs.

Question: How can a lab class be done online? 

Some lab classes can be offered as online classes, and we have offered some labs as online classes in the past.

For many lab classes, as well as studio classes and other such educational experiences, the online format is not preferable or even possible. In spring 2020, we had to move everything online midway through the semester, including the labs that could not be easily taught as online courses. For summer 2020, we will only offer classes that can be taught effectively as online courses.

Question: When will the labs reopen for students to take their classes?

That depends entirely on the progress of the virus and on decisions made by state and national leaders.

Question: Will there be a summer orientation for new students?

Yes. We are excited to welcome new students to MSU this summer. The novel coronavirus has forced us to go online this summer. Right now, our faculty, advisors and orientation staff are creating a robust set of resources for students to use to help orient them to MSU before they arrive on campus in August. These resources will include permanent resources that you and your student can review and return to later. They will include small group meetings online with current students and with faculty and advisors. And they will include one-on-one meetings for your students with academic advisors.

We would strongly prefer for students to have the opportunity to experience an in-person orientation. There is something special about spending that one night in a dorm room, actually walking around campus, and about face-to-face meetings with other students. It's the orientation that many of us experienced years ago, and it's a cherished tradition. We did not make the decision to move orientation online lightly; it was a remarkably hard decision.

The move online is providing us some new, very positive, opportunities. In-person orientation is very rushed. Students have only about 36 hours to experience a great many things and learn a tremendous amount. They have a difficult time retaining much of what they learn during orientation and have to be re-oriented when they come back to campus in August. They experience some of orientation with their families and other things without them. We run most students through the same kinds of orientation activities, whether they need it or not, and the relatively short period of time on campus leaves many students wanting much more orientation than they were able to cram into that short time period. Moving orientation online allows us to shift on on-campus attention to August, when we plan to create an enhanced campus welcome for them when they move in.

As part of the online orientation, students will meet virtually with an academic advisor, connect with other incoming students and upperclassmen mentors, and learn all about what it means to be a Spartan! It is important you still sign up for a specific orientation date as some of the orientation activities will take place during your scheduled New Student Orientation date while other components will take place throughout the summer in an online format. For more information about summer orientation please see their website.

Question: Even if students can return in the fall, will they be able to take their classes online from home?

Yes.  MSU has long offered a broad range of high-quality online courses, and the pandemic has encouraged us to make massive investments to expand the number and quality of online courses.

Question: If courses are online in the fall, can students take classes at a community college and still be considered a student in good standing at MSU?

Students can transfer into MSU courses that they completed prior to or during the time that they are enrolled as students at MSU.  It is very important that students work with their academic advisors to determine whether or not a particular class at another institution can be transferred into MSU, whether the class will fulfill requirements the student needs to complete, and whether the student is eligible to transfer a class into MSU.  These issues will vary on a case-by-case basis from one major to another and from one student to another.  So, it is critical that students talk with their advisors sooner rather than later about these options.

Question: How many credits must an MSU student take from the University during a semester to remain a student enrolled at MSU? 

A person is considered an enrolled undergraduate student if they are taking one or more credits.  An undergraduate student taking 12 or more credits is considered a full-time student.

Question: Is there a limit on how many credits a student can transfer back to MSU from another school in a semester? (assumption being the classes are acceptable via transfer portal)

There are limits, but they depend on each student’s particular situation.  Students should talk with an academic advisor before enrolling in a course they would like to transfer into MSU.

Question: Is MSU going to add additional classes to the Summer schedule?

Yes.  Over 150 additional classes have already been added to the summer schedule and we intend to continue adding courses as we identify student demand.

Question: If a graduating senior is re-taking a class that he/she previously failed, do they still have the option of taking a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade for this semester, or must they take a numerical grade (e.g. 3.0)?

Yes, students re-taking classes have the option of having their grades recorded as Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory

Question: If the decision is made to offer fall classes entirely or mostly online, what accommodations will be made to ensure the quality of the courses.

MSU teaches thousands of courses online every semester.  Many of our faculty are very skilled and experienced at online education, and we have devoted a substantial amount of resources through this summer to improve all of our faculty members’ abilities to teach online.

While the shift from in-person to remote teaching this spring was both a surprise and tremendously disruptive, any future shifts from in-person to online teaching will be made early enough to ensure that faculty have adequate time and resources to devote to online education. 

Question: Our son is pursuing a minor that has a study abroad requirement. How will MSU address this requirement moving forward, given the current and likely future travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Any consideration of a waiver or alternative plan if travel is not logistically feasible or safe?

MSU has always been committed to serving its students’ needs and clearly recognizes that the pandemic has introduced new barriers to students’ success.  Students should work with their advisors to better understand the options available to them.

Question: What if a student wants to take the semester off? Would they be able to come back the following semester without consequences? 

Yes, a currently enrolled student can take a semester or more off once they have matriculated to MSU. After staying out three consecutive semesters (including summer), a student would have to apply for readmission.

Students who have been admitted but have not yet started at MSU who would like to take one or more semesters off before starting would have to defer their admission to a future semester and work with the Office of Admissions to do that.

Question: If a student has 20 or less credits to graduate, can they finish/graduate via online classes only?

Yes.  They need to work with their advisors to learn how to do this.

Question: My student is pursuing a double degree. He requires one class (available online this summer) and one lab to complete one of those two degrees. He was going to try to finish one degree this summer, but he has been informed that in-person lab classes have been canceled for summer. He has also been unable to register for this class for Fall. It appears it will take him almost an entire extra year to earn this degree. What are his options? He feels like it is important to show that he has taken this lab for graduate school admission.

The student should reach out to his academic advisor, who is empowered to help him find ways around this challenge.

Question: Why are summer courses only six weeks long in the two sessions?

Summer sessions courses are taught in two different formats.  One format is the same typical twelve-week session that is used during the fall and spring semesters.  The other format - which is more commonly used - is a double-time six-week format.  Classes taught in the six-week format work at a pace twice as fast as those taught in the six-week format.

For classes taught in the summer’s six-week format, there is a first summer session and a second summer session. 

Having two different formats provides students with more opportunities during the summer to earn credits and balance their coursework with other activities that students frequently pursue during the summer.

Question: Will the academic advisors be available over the summer to assist students?

Yes.  All academic advisors will be available during their normal summer hours to assist students with course registration and to answer any questions students may have. Please note that response time during the summer can be delayed due to advisors’ responsibilities during new student orientation. Email is the best method of communication during this time.

Question: Will the VetTech students be able to take clinicals in the fall?

Faculty are working on parallel plans for the fall (online & normal in person) but opening our teaching research labs depends on where we are as a state with transitioning back to working on site. The health profession students are able to have limited clinical experiences this summer, but the hospital is available on an emergency basis only at this point.

Students that are scheduled to enter clinics in the fall semester have already been communicated with regarding enrollment and scheduling via individual live Zoom sessions with the Director of the program as well as emails to the student's email accounts.  Students should monitor their MSU email accounts regularly for any updates.

Question: Will professors post lectures so students can watch them again?

For classes that are taught entirely or in part as asynchronous classes (that is, classes that are designed so that students can engage with the course material at any time), students can typically access lectures and videos at any time and as often as they like. 

Question: Our son’s concern and challenge has been to access “out of state” support to answer questions and to insure understanding of concepts and materials. How is MSU supporting professors to ensure these types of issues can be addressed?

Given our current situation, a student sheltering-in place in East Lansing is just as challenged in completing their courses as are those on the other side of the globe. Faculty and administrators understand this and are making every effort to engage with students on both a one-on-one basis and in small groups to overcome these issues.  

Question: Will you be doing a survey of students on perception of quality of online content?

Yes. This semester all students received an email asking them to fill out a survey that discussed their experience with the shift to remote instruction.

Question: Will you accept credits for general education core classes such as Integrative Studies in the Social Sciences and Integrative Studies in Arts and Humanities? 

No.  Almost all of the core courses are offered online already, and these are very mature, high-quality courses.  We encourage students to take their integrative studies courses as online courses if they are unable to be on campus this summer or fall.

Question: Are CLEP (College Board’s College Level Examination Program) exams still being offered? 

The testing office will still be offering the CLEP exam once they are able to reopen. At this time the office is closed at least until June 1, 2020. They are not sure if they will be allowed to open in June, so at this time they are not scheduling any appointments. Students who are interested in taking a CLEP exam can contact the testing office about scheduling. If the student is wondering if the exam they want to take is accepted by MSU then they should contact the Admissions office or check this website: