With SCAD’s spring quarter in the books and fall quarter beginning soon, the university community has shown incredible resilience over the last two months. The spring academic term did, of course, look different than any quarter in SCAD history, with unprecedented resource investments in students to make Spring 2020 a success.
During this unprecedented public-health moment, SCAD and all other educational institutions around the globe faced a choice: transition to online classes for spring or close operations entirely, leaving students unserved. SCAD chose to move operations to a virtual format so students could continue on the path to graduation, if so desired. This mammoth effort represented no small task, requiring funding to make possible. In other words, the cost of SCAD tuition for spring quarter remains the same (as tuition in previous quarters) for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the following:
- Investments incurred before spring. All preparations to support more than 14,000 students taking class on-ground this spring had already been made, such as ensuring the best physical learning resources were available to students. Then, a mere 11 days before the quarter, significant additional investments were required to move to virtual learning. As a result, SCAD’s expenses for spring quarter did not change — and in fact far exceeded those budgeted.
- En masse transition to virtual. A round-the-clock effort by hundreds of SCAD faculty and staff was undertaken to move more than 2,200 on-ground classes online in less than two weeks’ time—including the hiring or reassigning of 70 staff members to support students. Also during this time, SCAD created hundreds of hours of faculty professional development workshops to ensure virtual classes would be engaging and productive.
- New virtual resources. SCAD secured subscriptions for more than 100 software packages with more than 60 vendors (at significant additional cost to the university) so SCAD students could access these learning resources from around the globe. Library resources have been reimagined also and are fully available virtually and, if required in hard copy, are shipped to students at no charge.
- Service contracts. Campus security and transportation remain in place. Although some of those services have been altered as appropriate, the expense continues to exist and ensures full capabilities will be in place when on-ground operations resume.
- On-campus job wages. All students who had secured an on-campus job for spring quarter have been paid their estimated wages, even though they have not and will not work a single hour.
- Housing and dining refunds. All students who were scheduled to live on campus and/or who had reserved a meal plan for spring quarter received a 100% refund of those charges. Those same students were permitted to remain in on-campus residences and were served meals for the two-and-a-half weeks between winter and spring quarters at no cost to them.
- Housing scholarships. All SCAD scholarship recipients who were scheduled to live on-campus and who moved off campus due to the pandemic were still awarded the portion of their SCAD scholarship associated with on-campus housing.
- Choice to enroll. Unlike most universities, SCAD was between academic terms when the pandemic impacted the U.S., and prior to spring, all students knew classes would be offered through a virtual format and had a choice: enroll for spring or defer until later. All currently enrolled students made the choice to enroll in virtual classes, and we’re glad you did! Learning presses on.
- Class retakes. Any student who takes a class in spring quarter and is not satisfied may retake the class in a future quarter at no charge.
- Abolition of fees and penalties. SCAD abolished all late payment fees and payment plan fees associated with spring quarter, and students who have not paid their balances due for the spring quarter will be permitted to register for classes in summer or fall.
As an additional indication of SCAD’s sensitivity to the financial struggles of students and families, the university also ensured there would be no increase in tuition, housing, and meal charges for the 2020-21 academic year. Tuition rates will be the same as those charged in 2019-20. SCAD remains ready to support its students to complete their degrees and begin their professional lives.