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Questions and Answers with Parents: April 10, 2020

Apr 10, 2020

Interim President Maria Pallavicini held a Zoom meeting with parents and families of Stockton undergraduate students on April 10, 2020. The following questions and answers are from that meeting.

I'm not really sure how to go about getting the refund for housing and meal plan not used.
Students should have received an email last week from Student Accounts regarding any adjustments they will be receiving for room and board. If students have an adjustment on their student accounts for room and board but did not receive an email, please contact Student Accounts at If students have no room and board adjustment on their student accounts and have further questions, please contact

What do you anticipate the fall semester looking like in terms of everyone going back to school at the same time, living in large groups, living in tight quarters, etc., considering that the virus will most likely still be in the population?
There is no certain answer. We are hopeful that we will be returning to normal. Maybe it’s a different normal. We’re not quite sure, but we will be offering classes in place. We will of course, I’m sure, even at that time, be doing social distancing, etc. We will pay a lot of attention to our students and their behaviors, but right now we are planning to offer courses in fall, in place. Things can change, but we will be using guidance from California, the CDC, and of course, various governmental agencies.

Is it confirmed that summer classes will be offered only online?
Yes, that is confirmed that it will be offered only online, and that’s because we are uncertain about what the virus situation will be in summer. We also will keep the residence halls closed during the summer. There are a few exceptions: we currently have some international students who are unable to go home or a few other students who cannot go home for another reason. But right now, we will not be allowing new students taking summer (courses) into the residence halls.

Will students have a pass/fail option?
This semester, students do have a pass/fail option. They can actually select that option up until the last day of class. Regardless of whether they take a pass, or they get a grade, they will get credit for that course—the units that would normally be expected. I believe a fail is a C minus, so hopefully, we don’t have students who are getting that. Don’t quote me on that C minus, but I think it’s close.

Can UOP facilitate online tutors?
All student academic support services typically available in the library can be accessed remotely. This includes tutoring. For further information about the services available and information about how to schedule a remote appointment, please visit the Student Academic Support Services Hub website.

Yes. All student academic support services through the library’s Student Academic Support Services Hub remain available via online access. Tutoring, math lab, writing centers, library research consultations and College Learning Skills consultations and workshops will continue via online appointments. General questions about student academic support services may also be sent to

My son was seeing a counselor at UOP, and I asked him today if he had been in touch with his counselor. He told me his counselor could not meet with him virtually because we live out of state. Is this true? If so, that’s very disheartening, could you please explain the rationale.
CAPS leadership and staff are concerned about students.  The reason that CAPS counselors cannot provide therapy to out of state clients is because of other states’ restrictions of therapy provided by out-of-state counselors. Despite this limitations, CAPS continues to offer support to out-of-state students in the following ways:

Foremost, CAPS is helping students who are out of state find local therapists. Anyone who needs assistance in this manner can call 209.946.2315 x2 and ask to be connected with their therapist for support in finding continued care.

CAPS contracts with two services that students can access from anywhere. The first is a service that provides on-call crisis therapy for students. This service is accessible 24/7 and students can speak to a therapist regardless of location. To access this service, call 209.946.2315 x3.  Another tool that students can use is a self-directed therapy experience through a service called Therapy Assistance Online (TAO). This service can view and participate in TAO at any time and at their convenience. They can work through therapy modules at their own pace. To access this service, follow the instructions at

The American Psychological Association and the Association for University College Counseling Center Directors are both currently lobbying for changes across state lines and the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) director is monitoring the situation closely.

Are you going to partially refund the tuition fees?
That is something we’ve discussed extensively, and a decision has been made to not. There are a couple of reasons for that. One is that the students are still being taught by their faculty. Two, the students are still getting credit for the courses. Three, the students are making progress toward a degree. While we recognize they are learning in different ways, and being taught in different ways, they are still learning the information. The decision was made here, as at most universities, that tuition stays constant.

Any detail on refund on dorm and what portion?
It is prorated from the time the student left campus.

I have a student-athlete. The lack of structured exercised really affects his mode. Why can’t the coaches hold group exercise classes?
The reason is that the state of California has said you must have social distancing, and you cannot have groups exercising together. In fact, I don’t know if you are in the state of California, but all the exercise gyms are closed. 

My daughter will be second-year pharmacy grad school. So when will she be going back?
I think she’ll be going back on the normal schedule.

My son is finishing his undergrad at Pacific this semester and is applying to a grad program at Pacific. It does not appear he is going to be able to take the GRE. How will this be handled?
Many of our grad programs are waiving the GRE, so he should talk to the dean of the school for which he is interested in the grad program, or the grad program director. Another person he could talk to is the graduate dean.

When will you have a decision regarding a fall on-campus opening? We live out of state and this would be helpful to know.
I would love to know when I can make that decision. As soon as that information about social distancing and group meetings is set by the state of California, we will make that decision. Since you’re out of state, you may realize that our governor has been very, very conservative in terms of starting social distancing very early. It’s why California is actually looking really good, vis-à-vis, the number of people who are COVID-19 positive and the number of deaths relative to some other areas. I can’t tell you the exact answer, but as soon as we feel it’s safe, we will do that. When do I think that might be? I don’t know. We’re looking at California as maybe mid-May, based on what people are saying. We will still have to be sheltering-in-place. But our COVID-19-positive curve is very, very flat. …I hate to say this, but maybe by mid-June? Or certainly by July, so I hope that’s helpful. Please email me at I’ll let you know as soon as I can.

Will new applications be processed?
Yes, we are processing applications at the grad and undergrad (levels).

We received an email about a special grant of $1,450 per semester. Is that in addition to anyone getting grants promised over the four years for tuition?
Yes, it is in addition. It is for four years or eight semesters for a freshman who comes in fall. And if one is a sophomore, then it would be for the six semesters, if a junior, it would be for four semesters. It is tied to a total of eight semesters taken consecutively.

What is the plan for parents who have both their jobs on-hold and cannot pay the remainder of the tuition payment plans? Student accounts and financial aid said we still have to pay or the accounts will be on-hold.
Student Accounts has extended the due dates. An email was sent to spring undergraduate and graduate students to inform them that payment deadlines for the remainder of the spring 2020 payment plan are extended. The new payment deadlines for the following months are below:

  • April: now due May 1, 2020
  • May: now due June 1, 2020

Pharmacy students also received an email regarding payment extensions. The payment deadline for summer 2020 was extended to May 1, 2020. For students enrolling in a payment plan, deadlines are as follows: May 1, June 1, July 1 and August 1. 

The payment deadline for fall 2020 has also been extended to August 15, 2020.

My son will be on CO-OP for fall semester, can you carry his housing and meal plan credit over for spring 2021 semester?
Yes, he can do that.

Can the housing refund be applied to our fall tuition balance?
Yes, your housing refund can be applied.

My daughter has a rented book from the campus bookstore. How do we go about returning them by their appropriate date? Will costs for shipping be covered?
The bookstore has emailed students who rented books providing instructions on how to return them including how to print prepaid labels. More information can be found at and follow the COVID-19 resources link.

Since summer courses will be online, will it still be $800 per unit? Because the service won’t be the same as being in the classroom.
Yes, the classes are $800 per unit. I will say if your student takes three classes, the third class drops to  $700 per unit. We’re really encouraging your students to take advantage of the online courses at the reduced price for three courses. They can make a lot of progress over the summer with the same faculty who are normally teaching.

Given that UOP is expensive compared to a public university and everyone is going online,  what is UOP doing that stands above other schools?
What is special about UOP is that we have small classes. There is a lot of support for the students in that class. There’s a lot of interactions with our faculty. Our faculty advisors for our students are truly faculty advisors. Some of my daughters went to University of California, and at University of California, you saw an advisor when you first started and you saw them when they graduated. Pacific does an incredible job of supporting our students and having close faculty-student interactions that distinguish us from other private and public universities.

Are the students being reimbursed for lab fees that they have added into their tuition? Example, my son is a computer engineering major and he was charged lab fees.
I know that some of the faculty have developed and purchased online labs to provide the content that your student would have received in an in-person lab. At this point, we are not refunding lab fees. I will say that we are considering that, but at this point, we are not.

Where are the monies for the COVID-19 grant coming from (e.g., endowment, existing grant funds, etc.)?
They’re actually partially coming from the university’s operating budget and partially from the endowment. The university, from its operating budget, does a very outstanding job in providing discounts for students for their tuition. The COVID-19 grant is primarily from the endowment, but we’re also using existing operating funds to help to supplement.

How would the pass/fail option not be beneficial for a student? Is it recommended only for PACS classes? How about courses specific to their degree?
The students should talk to their faculty member about that. It is not just for PACS classes. It is also for some of the other courses. It’s a case-by-case decision that a student should make by talking to their faculty member.  

Will the 3% tuition increase still go into effect in fall 2020?
The tuition increase is in effect, but essentially the COVID-19 grant offsets that. It is essentially a 0% tuition increase in fall. The good thing about the way we structured this grant is that it continues with the student until they graduate, as long as it doesn’t exceed eight semesters.

My student is in the teacher credentialing program. He said most of his teachers have listed the assignments that will be due through the end of the semester. Thus, he is rarely on the computer for class, just gaming. I was under the impression that teachers would still be having class, lectures, etc.
They still should be having class and lectures. Please email me the name of the student and I will get the student to the appropriate team, who will talk to the appropriate faculty members.

What about the health fee? Will that be prorated?
At Pacific, the health fee is known as the Wellness fee. This fee funds services and programs offered by both Student Health Services (SHS) and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). The fee also provides funding for university public health and emergency planning services. Student Health Services continues to provide comprehensive remote health and wellness services to our students. We also continue to provide public health and emergency planning services in response to COVID-19. Please visit the COVID-19 Staying Connected page to learn more. 

 The University health insurance plan offered to students is a comprehensive health insurance plan that can be used anywhere. Anthem Blue Cross will continue coverage for those students that purchased the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) throughout the policy year. The insurance plan can be used in all 50 states and in 196 countries and offers a high level of benefits should students need care. For more information, visit the Anthem Blue Cross PPO plan details page. SHIP also offers tele-health services that include medical, psychiatric, and psychological appointments at no additional charge.

How does UOP perform all online classes? My son is saying that they are recordings and he does not need to participate at a certain time. Is that correct?
Some of the lectures are pre-recorded, and one of the purposes of that is to allow students to actually be able to go back and learn the content a little bit more deeply. Many classes are taught what we call synchronously versus asynchronously, which is a recording, and synchronously means that there is lot of interaction with the faculty and the students.

Thank you for the response about opening for fall. I understand the reason for the delay. Something you said made me think of another question: is it possible that you will open in the fall but not allow out of state students to return to CA?
I don’t see why that would be the case at all. We will be opening in fall and I think we will be taking on all students. I can’t imagine a situation where that would be the case in California or at Pacific.

Do you think COVID-19 will affect the interning pharmacy opportunities for the pharmacy students for the coming months?
I don’t know the answer to that. I would think not as California’s COVID-19 positivity rate declines. I think we’re all hoping that by mid-May the shelter in place will be gone, and that students will be able to go and do internships, particularly in health-related fields.

How is the university dealing with the financial implications of COVID-19? Asking as an alum and a current parent.
It is challenging and we are looking at the financial implications right now to put our courses online, to give housing refunds. It was an unexpected expense and they are actually relatively large expenses for the university that we had not planned on. What we’re doing right now is a hiring freeze, looking at how we can reduce expenses, and at other strategies on how to meet those needs. We may go into the reserves a little bit for a rainy day. We’re working through the details now.

Is the grant of $1,450 for undergrads? Any special grant for grad students?
Yes, it is. It was designated to help Pacific attract new freshmen, as well as to attract transfer students and really focusing on those students who are just beginning to enter higher ed and giving them a chance to be able to have a university degree. There is $400,000 that has been set aside for grad and professional students that is need-based. Students will apply for the funding.

For graduate program admissions whose programs have open enrollment for accepting applications, when will the student know if they have been accepted?
It varies a little bit by grad program. I think that it will be important again to talk to either the program director or the grad dean. Encourage your students to reach out and ask these questions: where am I in the application process? The Graduate School dean is Cyd Jenefsky or you can also email the program director. But please, do ask that question because it’s a little bit different for every program. 

Does the college have a response plan if there is a spike of COVID-19 in the fall?
We had a response plan for what we did when we spiked here in spring. And yes, we would have a similar response plan if there is a spike in the fall. We’ve also learned some new things about responding to COVID-19. We will be encouraging much more social distancing of students in the fall when they come back, even if there’s not a COVID-19 spike. With the hand washing, much more aggressive, as many of you know as parents, when we were young at those ages and didn’t think anything could happen to you, right? You could do anything and everything would be fine. I hope that our students have a better understanding that not everything can be fine, either for them or for their loved ones, if they don’t practice hand washing. Whatever you can do to encourage your students to recognize that, ‘yes, anything can happen,’ would be good. I think we all remember how we were as 18–21-year-olds.

My son has to take Organic Chem 1 over the summer, but the class is already full. Is there a way he could enroll that class?
Please reach out to the faculty member of that class and ask if there’s a way he could get in. That class might also be offered in the second session of summer session or the third, but please ask him to reach out directly to the professor.

My son is a student-athlete in a fall sport. He usually arrives early August before school starts. Will that be the case this year?
I certainly hope that is going to be the case this year; we are planning on that. Unless there is some very unforeseen situation happening with COVID-19, we are planning that will be the situation for students who will be coming back.

My student received a UOP grant for a summer research internship at another university. He has been notified by the other university that the internship will now be done remotely. What will happen to the grant?
I would think that the grant would be honored, because the internship is going to be done remotely. I can’t see that that would be any issue with the UOP grant.

If college football is canceled for the fall will college athletics at the University of Pacific be canceled for the fall? Is there a possibility sports would be dropped permanently due to NCAA funding issues?
First of all, we don’t have college football here. I’m not quite sure about the connection of that. I have not heard anything about that. The WCC conference to which we and other universities belong to is not a football-based conference. I’m not sure about the relationship with football, but I have heard nothing about sports dropping.

Will sports programs continue in fall?
We hope they all will. We hope both our WCC, NCAA sports will continue, and also our intramural sports.

Will there be a graduation ceremony in the future for the graduating seniors?
This is a good question. There’s a lot of questions coming in around this topic. First off, on our graduation [Commencement] ceremony which is May 9, we’re going to be doing a virtual ceremony. Let me say a few words about that, a virtual ceremony is being hosted by a vendor that is doing it for many universities. There will be speeches, there will be regalia, there will be conferred degrees and we will try to make that as warm and welcoming as Pacific does for so many things. We recently did a survey of our graduating seniors and said, ‘what would you like to do?’ Because we have given them the option. We’ve said, ‘you can do virtual in May. You can do place-based later in the year—we don’t know exactly when—or you can do both.’ And we had 39% of our students say about two weeks ago that they would do the virtual. I suspect there might be a little bit more doing it and we’re perfectly OK with them doing two. We don’t know when the face-to-face will be. Right now, when we polled the seniors and said, ‘what would be a preferred time for you to have a placed-based if you want to do that,’ it’s looking like it could be potentially in August, but we don’t know that yet. Right now, what we’re doing is gearing up for the virtual and there will be opportunities for a place-based ceremony.

Please see the Commencement FAQs for additional information.

Does UOP allow undergrad students to be away for a year or two to take all their GE in community college?
We hope that your student wouldn’t do that. But yes, we can certainly arrange for that. Most of the GE in community college does articulate well with some of the GE at Pacific. The experience, of course, is very different in a community college and that’s something to be factored in. But if your student wants to take a leave of absence, I’m not sure where they are in their course of study, they should apply for that. I’m sure it would be granted.

My daughter, though a U.S. citizen, is in her first year and we the parents and family members reside in Nigeria. Our situation as regards payment of her school fee for next session looks very challenging and difficult. Can she be able to have access to more grants and loans to enable her continue with her study unhindered?
I would encourage your daughter to go right away to financial aid and see what can be done. We're trying to be as flexible as possible to keep our students at Pacific and to keep them coming back so that they will actually get their degree with us. We love our students and we'll do whatever we can.

Not sure if you mentioned it yet but please confirm we receive a $500 uplift if we take the housing and dining refund as a credit against future bills instead of cash.
Yes, that is the case, and your students will receive an email helping him or her understand how to do that.

Does the university expect a reduction in classes offered or cutting programs due to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic?
No, right now, we're not looking at cutting programs. That's a very big thing to do. It takes a while to really look at the pros and cons of that and we're not doing that right now. We're also planning on offering the classes as we have been in the past. So right now, we're not really looking at that.

My daughter was not able to get most of her possessions out of her dorm before it was closed. What is the process for getting those items back?
The way to get your daughter's possessions back from her dorm is to email the following,, and there will be the instructions on how to do that.

Does a pass/fail affect the students’ GPA?
No, it does not. And many grad programs and professional programs in recognition of the COVID-19 crisis, whereas they would look at grades prior, they are accepting pass/fail designations. If you have any concerns, talk to the faculty member or contact the grad program where your student wishes to go, but right now it doesn't affect their GPA.

I know other colleges are still allowing their students to live on campus, not just the foreign students. Is it that UOP is too small or perhaps the air system within the dorms is not equipped to have students live on campus amid COVID outbreaks?
The air system within the dorms within the residence halls is connected in many of the halls. It’s a recirculating air system so we’re not able to have a situation where a student could be quarantined and have his or her own room, own air, own bathroom. We have a very limited number of rooms like that, which is why we had to move fairly quickly to move students out of their residence halls. It’s not that UOP is too small. We do actually have some extra rooms. At this point, we certainly did this spring, but it's just that the format of them and the way their structure is, is not aligned with being able to really ensure the health and safety of students if we had a COVID-19-positive student. You indicate other colleges are still allowing their students to live on campus. My read of everything and talking with other presidents is there are not very many campuses that are allowing their students to do that. We do have a small set of students on campus. Those are the international students who can't go home because they can't get there, or their country is not allowing them to come home.

My daughter has only one synchronous class. Should they all be synchronous?
They are not all synchronous. But if you would like to get some more information, please email me with the program of your daughter and her name, if you wish, and I will look into why there are not more synchronous classes. This may be a matter of time as the faculty member transitions, but I would like to see more synchronous classes.

Are the exams going to be open book or how will UOP ensure students don’t cheat if not open book?
We are working with a vendor to provide some programs. All this vendor does is online exams. There will be authentication, they'll be all kinds of work, all kinds of things done. How do we know they're not open book? I don't know the answer to that. Sometimes an open book exam is okay depending upon the type of questions the faculty member asks. Having taught myself, if you're just asking a question to go look up some answer in a book, the open book would not be fair. I think the professors are going to pay a lot of attention to how the exams are designed and there will be very close authentication using this online proctoring program and services we’re providing.

My understanding of the medical coverage is that we are required to have it if we live outside of 40 miles from campus. As we live 70 miles away, we are required to have it and it’s only good for use on or around campus. So, it should in fact be prorated and refunded, as we have separate insurance here at home and cannot use that insurance. Please confirm this detail.
The university’s only requirement is that every student have comprehensive healthcare insurance that they can access locally. This means that students’ health insurance will cover visits to a doctor or healthcare facility while they are studying at Pacific. The university does not require students to purchase the university health insurance plan. Students who do purchase the health insurance plan offered by Pacific have a comprehensive health insurance plan that can be used anywhere. The university offers this group discounted insurance plan (Anthem Blue Cross PPO) to students in order to ensure all students have access to an affordable and comprehensive health insurance plan. The Anthem Blue Cross PPO plan can be used both nationally and internationally. For more information, visit the Anthem Blue Cross PPO plan details page.

Out-of-state students and parents having to go on short notice to pack up, find storage and arrange for travel home, faced higher expenses than CA resident students typically experienced. Will the university consider a higher credit/refund amount for non-resident students interested in continuing with UOP in the next academic year?
I'd like to say a few words about this whole issue. So many of you know that the federal government put in place a stimulus bill and part of that is what's called a CARES (Act) package, and part of the CARES package is funding to higher ed institutions—$14 billion is not enough to cover all the expenses of the institutions. We're still, as all institutions are, trying to understand what all the restrictions are on this grant, but part of what it is intended to do is to help defray the costs associated with COVID-19. Some of these costs that you just described, I would like to be able to see if we can access those funds to get a refund. That's going to take us a little bit of time because the guidelines are changing, and there's a lot of ambiguity. We do know that they will not allow us to cover tuition for students. We have other ways to do that, of course, but some of these emergency things that you're just describing, I would suggest that you keep your receipts if you can, or at least just jot it down because we may be able, in the future, to be able to help with that. Right now, I can't. But it could be very possible in the near future that we'll be able to do that.

Will there be any changes to the class schedules that students have already set up for both summer and fall?
I do not believe there will be.

Will hand sanitizers be placed at every entrance? Will some of them be in the dorms?
Yes, we will have an abundance of hand sanitizers.