Please view the updates below on various topics. If you can't find the information you need, please send us your questions:
What technology do students need for online courses?
To ensure the quality and consistency of technology-enabled instruction, students and faculty at St. Edward’s University should ensure their equipment meets the minimum technology requirements.
Will there be study groups available?
Students have access to a number of academic support services, including tutoring and supplemental instruction. The university has areas available on campus for small groups to meet and work together with social-distance guidelines enforced. Students can connect with each other and form study groups in Canvas as part of their online coursework. Students can also reach out to their success coaches and professors to ensure their needs are being met.
What if I have an in-person class but can’t attend due to health risks?
Please work directly with your professor.
Will professors have office hours?
Yes. Students are able to access faculty members through Zoom during regular office hours. Some professors also have outdoor or physically distanced office hours on campus.
If I live in or close to Austin but don’t live on campus, will I still be able to take advantage of on-campus resources this semester?
Yes. Academic support services and other campus resources like the Munday Library and Ragsdale Center are available to all students who are able to come to campus to study or take advantage of the in-person services we are able to offer during our hours of operation. All students, regardless of whether they live on or off campus, are required to follow our community standards of wearing a face covering, physical distancing and using the daily symptom screening.
If a student feels that a professor isn’t providing the quality synchronous experience, what should that student do?
We encourage students to start by talking with their individual faculty member. Many professors also incorporate anonymous checkpoints for feedback throughout the semester. If a student is not satisfied with that result or feels uncomfortable talking with the faculty member, they should talk with the department chair or the dean. The university welcomes feedback at all times, and a student may file a formal complaint through our Student Complaint Process.
How will courses be taught for 2020–2021?
The majority of courses will be online, with the exception of select experiential learning courses (examples include studio and labs, internships, service learning, and research; a list for spring 2021 experiential courses will be available prior to registration), which will be delivered in a physically distanced, in-person or hybrid format on campus.
Will online courses have required meeting times?
Online courses have two formats — synchronous and asynchronous.
- Synchronous courses have required meeting days and times.
- Asynchronous courses do not have required meeting times.
Synchronous courses that were previously scheduled to be in-person will typically keep the same meeting times to reduce scheduling conflicts. Synchronous course meeting days and times can be found in Banner and in the course syllabus.
All courses, regardless of instruction method, will prioritize student and faculty engagement and will take advantage of the best format for that particular class and discipline.
Have courses been updated in Banner?
Modality for Spring 2021 courses will be updated in Banner before registration begins on November 11.
Has the academic calendar changed (i.e. delayed start or ending early)?
The academic calendar for Fall 2020 remains the same. The semester ends Dec. 10, 2020. Campus housing and campus services will continue to offer in-person options through the end of the semester, but students may choose not to return to campus after Thanksgiving.
The start of the Spring 2021 academic calendar will be delayed by one week and will begin Jan. 19, 2021. Spring break has been eliminated for health and safety reasons. Three wellness days have been added throughout the semester, based on student feedback. The wellness days will be Feb. 11, March 10 and April 30. Easter break has been condensed to Good Friday only (April 2). The semester will end as-scheduled on May 6.
Will I be required to be on campus for my courses at any time during the spring semester?
Select experiential classes will have required in-person components. All other courses will not have in-person requirements but may have opportunities to engage in-person (as well as virtually). Some courses may have additional in-person opportunities for students but these will not be required. Banner will be updated with the correct modality before registration begins.
Will I be able to go to online class meetings in person on campus if I choose to?
Online courses will not have a classroom assignment so there is not an option for on-campus participation. However, on-campus opportunities for engagement and office hours may be offered at the discretion of the faculty member who is instructing the course. All on-campus engagement will prioritize the health and safety of students and our St. Edward’s community.
What will the class experience be like for online courses?
St. Edward's University is known and respected for its stellar teaching. Our faculty have experience teaching online, and many have substantial experience with remote teaching and learning. Faculty are supported by the Center for Teaching Excellence and Office of Instructional Technology. All faculty are committed to providing a robust, engaged experience. Most online courses will be delivered through Canvas and online synchronous courses may use tools like Zoom for meetings. All courses, regardless of instruction method, will prioritize student and faculty engagement and will take advantage of the best format for that particular class and discipline.
What will the on-campus academic experience be like?
Although most students will not be required to be on-campus, there will be many opportunities for students who are on-campus to engage with others and connect in a safe, physically distanced environment. In-person opportunities for discussion/study groups and office hours may be offered at the discretion of the faculty member who is instructing the course. Small group events, as well as academic co-curricular activities, will be held in an in-person, physically distanced manner following or exceeding CDC, state and local guidelines. Academic support services will have the option for in-person appointments. There will also be a variety of social activities and student services available to enrich the student experience, which are detailed on the Student Life page of Healthy Hilltop.
Will the Chapel be open?
The Chapel will be open for private prayer; supplies for sanitizing the space occupied will be provided.
Will there be Mass on campus?
Mass will be offered daily at noon and on Sundays at 8 p.m. in the Chapel. Seating will be limited. Mass will also be available through livestream. Holy Communion will be distributed in the Chapel at the usual part of the liturgy and brought to a central outdoor location on campus for those attending via live stream
Will a face covering be required?
Yes, a face covering will be required for all attending Mass in the chapel. Ushers and markers for physical distancing will guide seating and the communion procession.
What other prayer experiences will be available?
We plan to have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel and Rosary at the Grotto as before. Small group Bible study will be available in person as well as online.
Will there be opportunity for service?
Because of logistics, SERVE Austin will not be available in the fall semester. We are working on providing small group (10 people) SERVE 1-Day experiences. The Office for Community Engagement will also provide ideas for virtual service experiences. The Social Justice Action Series, which focuses on areas of Catholic Social Teaching and social issues (e.g. housing, food insecurity), will take place online.
Can I walk around campus?
Yes! You are able to walk or drive around campus but we ask that you follow the social distancing recommendations issued by Austin Public Health and the CDC to protect your health and the health of those around you.
When will campus tours resume?
We are currently offering virtual visit experiences and in-person campus tours. Safety protocols to keep you and our hilltop community safe are in place. Tours are outdoors only and are limited in size (maximum of 9). Social distancing is observed throughout the tour, and face coverings over the nose and mouth must be worn by guests at all times while on campus.
What happens to my rolled-over meal plan from the 2019–2020 academic year?
Meal plans normally expire in June. However, due to the closure of campus housing and dining on March 13, 2020, all meal plans were rolled forward to the Fall 2020 term and will not expire until June 2021.
Due to the closure of campus, the university granted unused meal plan refunds for exchange students and students graduating in spring 2020 and summer 2020. Refunds of meal plans and Topper Tender were issued to the student account. Credits were used to pay any outstanding balance, and any remaining amount were issued to the specified refund account.
For all other students with 2019-2020 rolled-over meal plans, the ordinary process will apply. As of June 30 every year, student meal plan account balances will be reduced to $0.00. Any meal plan dollars remaining will be forfeited. Learn more about campus dining options.
Are students living off-campus required to get a meal plan?
For the Fall 2020 semester, undergraduate students living off campus will not be required to purchase the commuter meal plan.
Students living on-campus are required to participate in the university offered meal plans.
Diversity & Inclusion
Will the office hold in-person events on campus? If so, how will they look?
Yes, the department intendeds on holding thoughtful and engaging activities on campus. While adhering to social distant guidelines, programs such as Step Into the Circle, Privilege Walk, Four Corners, and streamed panel discussions will be used to create dialogue around identities and awareness.
Will student organizations still hold meetings? If so, how will students participate?
Our office will be training student organizations in holding virtual and in-person meetings. These virtual meetings will be check-ins and invite speakers to meet with members. In-person meetings will be limited to 10 total participants in a space, while still engaging in community builders, icebreakers, and thoughtful conversations.
Will office-led workshops be offered online?
Yes, the office is currently modifying our trainings and workshops to reach as many as possible. Electronic pamphlets will be provided for downloading, which will not require printing, in case students do not have access to printers in their remote location.
What can students expect when they arrive to campus from the Office of Diversity & Inclusion?
When students arrive to campus, they can expect our office to welcome them with student-led programs and discussions geared toward advocating for marginalized communities and celebrating intersectional identities. Our office provides a multitude of ways for students to connect with one another. We believe once a student builds a healthy support system on campus, they are more likely to succeed.
Our welcome programs, such as Queer Camp and First Gen Student Weekend, have been extremely well-received by our campus. Our student organizations meet regularly to help students feel comfortable once they arrive to campus. The Equity & Justice Council work diligently to offer students events throughout the year that are both informative and fun.
Through the Microaggressions and LBGTQIA+ Allies training, along with the creation of the Racial Bias workshop, our office will continue its commitment to seeking justice through dialogue and teaching. The department will continue to cultivate a welcoming environment through incorporating a holistic approach by partnering with various departments on campus, along with faculty members. Our goal is to engage in intentional action to address systems that impact our student’s ability to succeed.
All programs will adhere to health and safety guidelines.
How can I help St. Edward’s University students during this time?
We have received many questions asking what alumni and friends can do to help our students. If you’re in a position to do so, please consider a gift of any size to the student emergency HOOF (Hilltoppers Overcoming Obstacles Fund). This fund is used to support students through unexpected needs, and the university is committed to helping as many students as possible.
We also care deeply about your own health and wellbeing. If you are not able to give to HOOF right now, that's okay. We understand that this is a difficult and uncertain time for everyone, and the safety of you and your family comes first.
Emergency Assistance and CARES Act
What is the CARES/Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from Covid-19. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund and sent money to schools to use for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic.
Who is eligible for the CARES/Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds?
Students who meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid can be considered for these funds. Student Financial Services will use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data to determine your eligibility. If you are eligible to file a FAFSA but have not yet filed for 2019-20 and 2020-21 and need assistance, please file a FAFSA.
Under U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, these funds can be awarded to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students pursuing degree programs and enrolled at St. Edward's University.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education does not allow these funds to be used for international students, undocumented students, non-matriculated students or students enrolled in distance-only degree programs. If you are a student from one of these groups, there are other types of emergency aid from St. Edward's University available. Please see the questions below for details on applying for these emergency aid programs.
How do I apply for CARES/Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds?
St. Edward’s University wants to provide economic relief quickly to students who may have experienced additional expenses and/or a loss of income due to Covid-19.
These funds are intended to help students pay for technology, health care, childcare, course materials, rent, food, moving or other expenses incurred this semester. We provide funding through several resources.
We encourage you to submit a request.
How long will it take before I know the status of my application?
The university is committed to quickly reviewing your application. Every effort will be made to respond within a week regarding the status of your request. You will receive notification via your St. Edward’s e-mail address.
Is there a maximum amount?
Please apply for what you need to meet the expenses of your hardship. Because there are multiple sources of funds, we will analyze the best way in which to assist you. We cannot guarantee that we can meet your full request.
How will I receive emergency funds?
If you receive emergency funds through the CARES Act or the Hilltoppers Overcoming Obstacles Fund (HOOF), the funds will be applied to your student account. It will NOT be applied to any outstanding bill. It will be deposited directly into your personal account at your designated financial institution. The funds may take three to five business days provided you have completed the E-Refund Authorization in the Billing Center (direct deposit information) myHilltop portal.
What emergency relief funds are available for undocumented students?
St. Edward's University cares about all students. Unfortunately, under U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, undocumented students are not eligible for the federal CARES funds. However, students who may have experienced additional expenses and/or a loss of income due to Covid-19 are encouraged to submit a request for emergency assistance.
What emergency relief funds are available for international students?
St. Edward's University cares about all students. Unfortunately, under U.S. Department of Education rules, international students are not eligible for the federal CARES funds. Nevertheless, students who may have experienced additional expenses and/or a loss of income in spring semester due to Covid-19 are encouraged to submit a request for emergency assistance.
Will there be CARES funds for the 2020-2021 academic year?
We will continue to allocate emergency assistance on a case-by-case basis through the emergency assistance application. We will decide later this summer about remaining CARES funds we can use to support students in 2020-2021. We will update these FAQs as we make decisions on the use of these funds.
We encourage all students with financial concerns to contact their Student Financial Services Counselor. Our counseling staff is currently working remotely and would be glad to set up a chat, Zoom, or call.
Will I have to pay taxes on CARES Act funds?
No. According to information provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS):
Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare, are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code. This grant is not included in your gross income.
More information is available through the IRS CARES Act website.
How can I contact my Student Financial Services Counselor?
Our counseling staff is available both in-person and virtually. Our office is open to on-campus students Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.–noon and 1–3 p.m. Parents and off-campus students can access our virtual front desk Monday through Friday 9 a.m.–noon. Your questions and concerns are important to us.
How do I turn in financial aid paperwork?
At this time, we cannot guarantee the receipt of documents sent through the mail and fax. Therefore, please upload documents directly using the Submit Financial Aid Paperwork task in myHilltop.
What if my family’s financial situation has changed as a result of Covid-19 pandemic?
We understand the financial struggles this pandemic has brought on for many families and the situation is still very fluid. If you have any immediate questions or concerns please reach out to your Student Financial Services counselor.
Our appeals committee will review any documented changes in finances for families that have been affected by Covid-19. The appeals committee may postpone review until an appropriate amount of time has passed for certain circumstances. Please refer to the special circumstances section of our site for more information.
If you have additional questions about student loans and the coronavirus, please see the complete Financial Aid FAQs document.
Health and Safety
Have you tested positive for Covid-19?
We want to support you, particularly while you are self-isolating. If you have tested positive, been in direct contact with someone who has coronavirus, or are a person under investigation (PUI) for having coronavirus, please inform the university by completing this form. You may also contact the Dean of Students Office at 512-448-8408 during business hours or contact the University Police Department at 512-448-8444 after hours. UPD will get you in touch with the personnel from the Dean of Students Office.
Are students required to have health insurance?
Student wellbeing is essential for success. This statement is even more critical during a pandemic. As such, the university will continue to require that all registered students (enrolled in 6 or more hours) have health insurance. Students are automatically enrolled in the university's health insurance unless they successfully complete the waiver process documenting a private healthcare plan. Learn more about SHIP.
I heard there are no longer counseling and health services provided on campus. Is that true?
This fall, the university is referring students to Baylor Scott & White, who will provide comprehensive medical services. These services will be offered via telemedicine, as well as priority scheduling at the Baylor Scott & White downtown clinic — conveniently located just 3 miles from campus. If you purchased the student health insurance policy (SHIP), your in-person copay at any area BSW clinic is $15. If you do not have transportation, the HCC clinical case manager will make arrangements with you. The university will pay for your transportation to and from campus and the downtown clinic. If you park your own vehicle at the clinic, parking will be free when validated.
Counseling services has been redesigned to prioritize crisis availability, remote support and drop-in workshops at no cost to students. A St. Edward’s clinical case manager will connect students to specialty services that may be needed off campus. After hours and during weekends, students can call UPD to access an on-call emergency counselor.
Please visit the Health & Counseling Center for the most up-to-date information.
Housing and Residence Life
What is Residence Life doing to promote the health and well-being of residential students in response to Covid-19?
- All residential students will live in socially distanced housing that creates single bedrooms and ensures that no more than two students share a suite bathroom. Suites and apartments will continue to have multiple occupants within the large suite/apartment.
- Students will be expected to abide by university safety guidelines including face coverings, hygiene, mandatory safety training, self-screening, reporting, testing and contact tracing.
- The guest policy has been adjusted to limit potential exposure:
- During move-in, each resident is permitted to have two helpers.
- After move-in, each resident may have one (1) guest at a time.
- Guests are limited to current residential students only.
- The following signage will be posted throughout the residence halls:
- directional signs
- occupancy limits for community spaces
- guidelines for elevator use
- physical distancing
- face covering reminders
- We are putting increased cleaning and disinfecting procedures in common area spaces:
- Hand sanitizers in common spaces
- Water fountains have been dismantled but you may still use water bottle dispensers
- High contact surfaces are not available to reduce the spread of Covid-19: lobby piano, community refrigerators, gaming equipment, kitchen supplies
- Laundry services will continue to be available on campus with increased disinfection for the laundry facilities
- Implementing a modified residential programming model that adheres to CDC safety guidelines.
I am currently in an apartment-style community where I will be sharing a bathroom, kitchen and living room space with roommates. What precautions do I need to take to be safe?
Students should think of their residential community as their “campus home,” and any suitemates or apartment-mates as their St. Edward’s “family unit.” To stay safe in this pandemic, suitemates and apartment-mates will be required to work together and protect each other. Communication is critical, so in addition to the traditional “Roommate Agreement,” we will ask students who share a space to create Covid-related guidelines for their living space. Students will discuss what it means to be a family unit because it will be very important to understand each other’s needs and expectations, while sharing the space. Medical experts advise that students have a conversation about cleanliness, illness preparedness and social-circle size. Students will receive more information about navigating shared living spaces upon arrival.
If my suitemate/apartment-mate or I test positive for the coronavirus, will we be relocated to an isolated quarantine location?
No. Students who share either a bathroom or other common living space will be considered a “family unit” (or household). Therefore, if one member of the unit needs to be quarantined or isolated, all residents in the unit may need to quarantine for a period of time. Residence Life staff with work with the unit to coordinate meal delivery, laundry service and trash disposal, as well as provide daily virtual welfare checks. All residents are encouraged to read through the safety section of Healthy Hilltop.
Are there particular items related to Covid-19 that students should bring to campus?
- Additional cloth face-coverings
- Personal wipes
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and/or Ibuprofen: fever reducer
- Robitussin or Guaifenesin (cough medicine)
- Throat lozenges/cough drops
- Hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content)
- Insurance card
- Name and phone number of primary health care provider
- List of allergies
- Prescription medication(s): at least a 3-week supply of each medication
- Antibacterial bar or pump soap and paper towels
- Cleaning supplies (Lysol/Clorox wipes)
- Mini refrigerator (Community refrigerators will not be assessable)
- Yoga mat for sitting in community spaces
- Cooking set/dishes if you plan to use the community kitchen
- Billiards equipment, ping-pong paddles (items will not be available in hall)
If I am living on campus, do I have to have a meal plan?
Yes, all residential students must have a meal plan.
What is the guest policy during Covid-19 operations?
- As of July 15, 2020, only residential students will be allowed inside residential communities.
- Residents are permitted to host up to one guest at a time in their room.
- Whether in their own residential community or visiting another community, all students must wear a face covering in shared community spaces, hallways and elevators.
- If a student has been asked to isolate or quarantine due to Covid-19 concerns, they are not permitted to host any guests in the residential community.
How is Residence Life handling mail and packages?
Our mail service process has not changed. Flat mail and packages will be delivered to the front desks of the individual residential communities. Flat mail will go in their assigned mailboxes and students will be notified when they have packages to pick up.
So much has changed. What’s not changing?
Our Residence Life team is excited that you are coming and we will work hard to provide the best residential experience possible while respecting physical distancing and other precautions designed to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.
What type of hall events and activities can I expect to experience this fall?
A mixture of in-person and virtual activities to get students connected.
International Student Services
Will students coming to campus need a parking permit?
Parking permits are required for the Fall 2020 semester. In addition to semester or annual permits, students, staff and faculty have the option of purchasing day permits in the parking portal for $5. There are also spaces around campus specifically marked for parking permits that can purchased on an hourly basis through the ParkATX app.
Will there be any exercise classes offered?
GroupX classes will be available in person and online throughout the fall semester.
Can I use the RAC?
Yes, students will have access to the RAC Fitness Center. Students will need to reserve their workout time via myHilltop.
What experiences can I have with RecWell?
We will provide in-person and online fitness classes, limited in-person access to the fitness center by reservation, in-person and online peer wellness coaching, in-person small group and individual recreational activities and competitions, online education workshops, esports tournaments, fitness incentive programs, health and wellness education and training, and outdoor adventure camping gear available for rent.
Will a facial covering be required during activities?
Yes, a face covering will be required at all times while in the RAC or participating in RecWell programs in person.
Will I be able to join student organizations this fall and participate in their activities and events?
Yes, students will be able to join student organizations and participate in their events. Student organizations will be able to host online events, meetings and small-group activities.
What types of events will happen?
Events will happen virtually, on social media, as a do-it-yourself activity, and in small groups. Many small-group events will require a reservation. Student will be able to find all of our events on Collegiate Link.
Will we be able to participate in large university events such as Hillfest, Homecoming, Topper Nights and The Big Event?
Under the current guidelines groups are limited to 10 or less. We will evaluate our large-scale programs for options in the spring.
Can I still get a class ring?
We are working with our ring provider to evaluate how to support class ring fittings and other offerings.
Will a facial covering be required during activities?
Yes, a face covering will be required at all times while in the Student Involvement Suite or participating in student involvement programs in person.
Will there be a tuition discount?
St. Edward’s awards more than $80 million in university resources in support of merit, athletic, special talent and other specialty scholarships, in addition to need-based grants. A significant majority of our undergraduate students receive one or more types of gift funding from the university, which serves to significantly discount our tuition costs. Many students receive well over 50% in tuition relief, with some students receiving close to or at full tuition in gift aid. These scholarships and grants not only help to support students by making a St. Edward’s education affordable for all, but they also ensure the quality of our education by bringing academic talent, geographic representation and racial, ethnic and socio-economic diversity to our student body.
Since remote academic instruction costs the same or more to deliver to students, and because such instruction offers direct access to our world-class faculty and their academic expertise and provides students with the same academic credit towards their degree, our tuition will not be further discounted as we shift to mostly online instruction this fall. Doing so would compromise the $80 million the university has already set aside to assist students with tuition relief. Because we are committed to making our education affordable for all students, we urge you to work directly with your student financial services advisor so we can assess your eligibility for these scholarships and need-based grants.
Will tuition be refunded if I have to withdraw?
More information on the university’s refund policies, as well as information on tuition insurance, is found within Billing and Financial Aid.
Updated Nov. 19, 2020