Dear Members of the Fordham Family,
Let me begin both by recognizing that the last five months under the COVID-19 pandemic have presented extraordinary and unprecedented challenges to our students and families, faculty, and staff, and by thanking all of the members of the Fordham community for the generosity of spirit with which they have responded to those challenges. The University itself has been likewise been challenged to adapt, and quickly, as never before. We are working to help our students and their families address these challenges in a number of ways:
- The financial aid budget has been increased significantly to alleviate the economic impact of education expenses on families experiencing sudden and extreme financial hardship. The University has also waived late fees, deferred financial holds on overdue student accounts and will work closely with families to help resolve financial challenges.
- Charges for room and board for the fall semester will be reduced on a pro rata basis to reflect residence on campus concluding at Thanksgiving for most students. Those authorized to continue in residence after that will be billed accordingly. In the event campus residence must end prior to Thanksgiving, pro rata reductions will be issued. Refunds will also be provided to those who have already paid for the entire semester.
- The University will offer every full-time undergraduate student who is enrolled this academic year the opportunity to take up to two courses this summer at no additional cost. Fordham’s Summer 2021 course offerings will be expanded to include:
1. a greater array of courses required for graduation,
2. special-topics courses that are not available during the academic year,
3.undergraduate research opportunities for academic credit,
4. distinctive internships in NYC and elsewhere that carry academic credit, and
5. opportunities to further your career through summer intensives offered by the School of Professional and Continuing Studies.
- Students pursuing summer coursework will have the flexibility to choose between residential, commuter, and remote options, subject to any public health restrictions that might be in place.
- As you know, Fordham has adapted the delivery of all academic programs and services to continue fulfilling the promise of a Fordham education in ways that do not put the health and safety of students, faculty or staff at undue risk.
As we have announced previously, Fordham has introduced a broad set of public health measures (e.g., daily screening, universal COVID-19 testing, mandatory PPE and social distancing in all contexts, enhanced sanitation and ventilation, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation protocols, etc.) to reduce the risk of virus transmission on campus. The University has created a Testing Dashboard to track on-campus cases of COVID-19 over a rolling two-week average, updated daily.
We are taking these actions despite the most difficult budget conditions that we have faced in several decades: operating and travel budgets have been slashed, as has all discretionary and non-essential spending. Salaries have been frozen, and though we hope to avoid further cost-cutting actions, they are a distinct possibility given the challenging budget picture. That said, we are committed to our students’ academic success under a safe, robust flexible-hybrid program of instruction.
As a result of all the actions we have taken, I believe our students will experience an outstanding, transformative Jesuit education this school year, delivered by dedicated and innovative faculty, despite the circumstances. I look forward to seeing those of you who are on campus (from an appropriate distance, of course), and many others virtually via a number of online events we have scheduled this year.
Finally, I would like to thank all of the faculty, students, and staff who this year especially are helping to make a Fordham education the distinctive experience that it has always been. You are all in my grateful prayers, today and always.
Joseph M. McShane, S.J.