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COVID-19 Update: University offices are open but being staffed remotely. Classes will be conducted remotely for all summer sessions.

FAQ

Watch: Your Academic FAQs Answered. Cameron Gaines, SGA academic affairs chair, chats with Rekha Datta, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Watch: President Patrick Leahy shares and important update about the University’s COVID-19 response.

Frequently Asked Questions for Students and Families

How will CARES Act funding be distributed to students?

On April 9, 2020 the U.S. Department of Education announced the allocation of student aid grants to students through universities and colleges as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The federal government allocated CARES Act funding to individual colleges and universities based on the total number of enrolled students and the number of enrolled students eligible to receive Pell Grants. Monmouth University’s allocation for emergency financial aid grants to students was $2,467,650.

In total, 4,443 Monmouth University students were eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. 

The Department of Education provided institutions with significant discretion for the distribution of the CARES Act grants to students, allowing each institution to develop its own system and process for determining how to allocate these funds. This might include distributing the funds to all students or only to students who demonstrate significant need, but its guidance did stipulate that the grants be directed to students with the most significant financial needs arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

The University initially awarded CARES Act grants to undergraduate and graduate students who were enrolled at the time of the campus closure, who met all Title IV eligibility requirements, and whose financial need had not already been met by some combination of federal, state, and institutional funding. Unmet institutional need is defined as direct cost (tuition, fees, room, and board for resident students or tuition and fees for commuting students) minus Expected Family Contribution or EFC (derived from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA) minus all grant, scholarship, subsidized loan, federal work study, and graduate assistantship financial aid awards. On June 3, 2020, the university amended its CARES Act grant eligibility criteria to include all Pell grant recipients who met all Title IV eligibility requirements, regardless of unmet need.

As of June 10, 2020, the University has distributed 2,825 Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students totaling $2,167,600.

What criteria did the university use to determine eligibility for CARES Act grants?

The Department of Education provided institutions with significant discretion for the distribution of the CARES Act grants to students, allowing each institution to develop its own system and process for determining how to allocate these funds. This might include distributing the funds to all students or only to students who demonstrate significant need, but its guidance did stipulate that the grants be directed to students with the most significant financial needs arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

The University initially awarded CARES Act grants to undergraduate and graduate students who were enrolled at the time of the campus closure, who met all Title IV eligibility requirements, and whose financial need had not already been met by some combination of federal, state, and institutional funding.  Unmet institutional need is defined as direct cost (tuition, fees, room, and board for resident students or tuition and fees for commuting students) minus Expected Family Contribution or EFC (derived from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA) minus all grant, scholarship, subsidized loan, federal work study, and graduate assistantship financial aid awards. On June 3, 2020, the university amended its CARES Act grant eligibility criteria to include all Pell grant recipients who met all Title IV eligibility requirements, regardless of unmet need.

The university awarded CARES Act grants to all eligible students demonstrating any unmet financial need, including graduate students with a “Pell-like” financial profile, and all undergraduate students with Pell grant eligibility. (Note: Graduate students are not eligible for Pell grants.)

The Department of Education based 75 percent of it calculation of the amount of CARES Act funding that Monmouth received on the number of enrolled Pell-eligible students, so why weren’t all Pell grant recipients included in the first distribution of funds?

The initial distribution of grants included 1,020 undergraduate students with Pell grant eligibility.  Several Pell-eligible students contacted the CARES Act Grant team to ask why they were not eligible for a CARES Act grant.  Moreover, a colleague contacted the team and asked us to look more carefully at why some high-need students received grants and others did not.  After looking again at the appeal emails as well as additional financial aid data, we determined that the 272 Pell-eligible students who did not have unmet need should also be awarded. The university amended its CARES Act grant criteria to include all Pell grant recipients and issued a second round of grants to 272 Pell grant recipients with no unmet need. The university also awarded CARES Act grants to 37 additional graduate students with a “Pell-like” financial profile who did not have unmet need.

How many CARES Act grants has the university awarded and how many of those grants went to Pell-eligible students?

As of June 10, 2020, the University has distributed 2,825 Emergency Financial Aid Grants to 2,196 undergraduate students (2,147 full-time and 49 part-time) and 629 graduate students (378 full-time and 251 part-time). Of the 2,825 grants awarded, 2,516 were awarded to students who had unmet need, including 1,020 Pell grant recipients. An additional 272 CARES Act grants were awarded to Pell grant recipients with no unmet need. All students with Pell grant eligibility, a total of 1,292 students, have received a CARES Act grant. Additionally, although graduate students are not eligible for Pell grants, we did award CARES Act grants to graduate students with a “Pell-like” financial profile.

When did Monmouth receive its CARES Act grant award and when were students notified of their eligibility?

The U.S. Department of Education notified the university on Saturday, May 23, that its CARES Act grant application had been approved for funding. The university notified the first round of students on Tuesday, May 26. A second round of students were notified of their eligibility on June 3, after the criteria were amended to include all Pell-eligible students, regardless of unmet need.

What pandemic-related expenses is the University incurring?

As of June 1, 2020, the university’s pandemic-related expenses total approximately $10 million, including the cost of refunding unused housing, meal plans, and parking; technology expenses associated with a rapid transition to online learning and instruction; increased costs for sanitation and disinfection on campus; the loss of the university’s NCAA revenue distribution; and lost revenue from programs, activities, and events that were cancelled.

How does Monmouth plan to use the $2.5 million institutional allocation of CARES Act funds that are not restricted for direct student aid?

The university’s CARES Act distribution will be used to offset the $10 million in pandemic-related expenses we have incurred thus far.

Whom may I contact with additional questions about the CARES Act funding?

You may reach members of the CARES Act Grant team at caresact@monmouth.edu.

Will students receive refunds for their room and meal plan charges?

The Board of Trustees approved a policy to ensure that all eligible students received prorated refunds or credits on unused room contracts, meal plans, and parking fees. All refunds and credits were prorated for the period beginning March 23, 2020 through the end of the semester.

Will students receive a tuition refund? 

No, classes will continue for the remainder of the semester, although an executive order from Governor Murphy prohibits face-to-face instruction indefinitely. Provided that students participate and progress in their courses, they will be able to receive full academic credit.

Will students who receive financial aid lose their federal eligibility?

The Department of Education has indicated it will allow colleges and universities to maintain financial aid eligibility for students who qualify for Federal Work-Study and Pell Grants. As long as students continue their coursework and maintain at least half-time status, they will still be eligible for federal aid. For the latest COVID-19-related updates to federal financial aid: Visit the Federal Student Aid web page.

Will students receive a refund for spring break and summer study abroad trips?

The University has committed to making students whole on any non-refundable expenses related to University-affiliated international spring break trips. All faculty-led and study abroad summer programs are cancelled for the Summer 2020 sessions.

How will this affect student performances like the musical, choir, other performances, as these clubs’ budgets for next year rely on ticket sales from performances?

The University will work with revenue-dependent clubs to provide operating funds for the coming year.

How will students who rented books return them at the end of the semester?

Book rentals can be returned by mail at the end of the semester.

Is Monmouth University prepared to provide remote instruction and learning? What quality can we expect? 

Monmouth University is well equipped to deliver coursework remotely. Classes were cancelled from March 10-13 to allow the necessary time for all faculty to prepare for this transition. Ongoing support will be provided through the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Instructional Technology, and the broader resources of Information Management. The provost, academic deans, and faculty are committed to delivering all course content through online and remote learning environments with the same rigor and personal attention that are the hallmarks of a Monmouth education.

Even before the need for social distancing, faculty have been encouraged to integrate a variety of technologies into their courses and were offered the necessary training and support to do so. Many employ a variety of web-based tools to increase student collaboration, participation, and engagement. During the previously scheduled spring break, our faculty have increased technical training, and feel prepared and are excited to work with students to maximize educational outcomes during this unprecedented semester.  

How will online exams work?

Please consult with your professor regarding online exams.

What should a student do if professors do not answer emails and students need help with a course question?

Contact the dean’s office in your respective school by phone or email.  A complete directory of email and telephone contacts is available online.  Because academic and administrative offices are being staffed on a remote basis, we ask for your patience with getting an immediate response.

What is the plan for the Monmouth University students who are still studying abroad?

We have been in contact with all of our students studying abroad and are working with our partner universities to support their transitions to online and other modified coursework delivery so that students may maintain their successful academic progress. While most of our students have decided to return to the United States, some have elected to remain abroad to complete the semester. If they have chosen to stay in the host countries, they will finish the semester there. Those who have chosen to come back home will finish their work remotely. We are in constant communication with our international and returning students, checking in to ensure their safety, and to advise of changing conditions as they emerge.

What if my course involves lab work or studio time?

Because in-person instruction has been suspended by the governor on an indefinite basis to provide suitable alternatives. We appreciate your patience as we work with faculty to identify the best way to meet these needs. Please contact your professors for additional guidance.

Will students be able to continue their clinical work?

Students should contact the dean of their respective school to determine what accommodations are being made for programs where clinical work is required. In most cases, clinical work is dependent on partner institutions, and tied closely to accrediting standards set by professional licensing bodies.

How will internship, student teaching, and clinical hours work if people are urged to avoid returning to campus?

Please contact the dean’s office in your respective school in order to identify a plan to complete this work. Accommodations will be made to ensure that this work can be made up.


What happens to students with F1-Visas who are permitted to take only one course online per term?

The Department of Education promises broad approval to schools seeking relief from federal standards regarding online education for the remainder of this academic year.  Updated guidance is available online from the Department of Education.

Will the Guggenheim Memorial Library remain open? If so, what are the hours?

No. On March 21, State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan issued an Administrative Order directing the immediate closure of all college and university libraries and computer labs until further notice.

Are online classes occurring in the same time frame as they would in person?

The mode of delivery remains at the discretion of the professor. Some courses will be conducted in a synchronous manner, which means that all class members will meet and interact at an appointed time. In other cases, course work may be offered asynchronously, which means the content will be posted, and students can access it at any time within a prescribed period. Check with the professor of each of your courses.

How can students manage expectations for their classes, including workload, and grade curves?

Professors will continue to assess student performance in the remote environment, with the same personal attention that distinguishes a Monmouth University education.  We are all committed to ensuring student success within a modified delivery paradigm.  It is critical that students remain actively engaged with their coursework during this transition.

Has Commencement been cancelled?

The University is committed to hosting traditional, in-person, graduation ceremonies for both undergraduate and graduate students in order to properly celebrate our students’ achievements. The May dates will be postponed to a time later this summer when public health officials deem it safe to hold such celebrations. Details will be forthcoming. 

Will Monmouth grant exceptions to students who need to remain on campus, who face difficulty returning home due to international travel restrictions, or who have personal issues?

Yes. We understand that, for a variety of reasons, some students cannot return home at this time. We have worked with a limited number of students to ensure they can remain on campus with our support under exigent circumstances.

Can students who live in off-campus housing return to their houses?

This is a personal decision but is highly discouraged, since it defeats the purpose of social distancing during this unsettling time.

Has a decision been made on the Room Selection Process?

The room selection process for the 2020-21 academic year will be conducted online via the My MU portal. General information will be shared via email after March 19, 2020. Detailed information will be published on or about March 24, 2020 on the Office of Residential Life’s web page. It is imperative that students monitor their Monmouth email account daily.

Will the dining facilities remain open? If so, what are their hours?

In response to Gov. Murphy’s March 21 executive order, we have had to significantly curtail our dining operation. On-campus food service, limited to grab-and-go, will be available only to those students who have a meal plan and who have been granted permission to reside in University housing during this remote instruction and learning period. We will not be able to accommodate commuter students who have meal plans at this time. If you have questions about these changes, please contact Mary Anne Nagy, vice president for student life and leadership engagement, via email at mnagy@monmouth.edu. Please include a call-back number in your email.

What is the status of grad assistants? Will they be paid for the remainder of the semester? What about other student workers?

We have worked to preserve all on-campus student employment opportunities, wherever possible, for the remainder of the semester. Students will continue to be paid for work performed, though they have been asked to work remotely, just as full-time staff have been asked to do so. In addition, we will honor graduate assistantships and Federal Work Study awards. Please be in touch with your campus supervisor for more details. 

What is the best source for campus updates moving forward?

We will continue to provide updates via email and will post those communications to our COVID-19 web page. It is important that you also check your Monmouth email account on a daily basis, to stay current on this rapidly evolving situation.  

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms can be similar to the common cold, an upper respiratory illness, or even seasonal influenza. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing 
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

How is COVID-19 spread?

This virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The first infections may have been linked to a live animal market, entered humans, and then quickly began spreading from person-to-person. The virus that causes COVID-19 has spread easily and sustainably in communities across the globe, causing it to be declared a global pandemic. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

How can I prevent infection with COVID-19?

At this time, there is no vaccine to prevent infection with COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself from infection is to minimize your risk of exposure. The following are some preventive measures you can take:

  • Practice social distancing. This means staying six feet away from other persons.
  • Wear a cloth face covering in public areas where you are unable to maintain a physical distance of six feet from other persons.
    • Cloth coverings decrease viral transmission to others if you are an asymptomatic carrier. 
    • Have several cloth face coverings available and wash frequently.
  • Minimize unnecessary travel.
    • Avoid multiple trips to stores.
    • Avoid public transportation.
    • Whenever possible, telecommute to work.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Using an alcohol-based sanitizer is advisable if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and promptly throw it away, then wash your hands..
  • Routinely disinfect and clean frequently touched objects and surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, toilets, cell phones, and keyboards.
  • Keep your immune system boosted by getting plenty of rest, eating a nutritious balanced diet, and staying hydrated.
    • Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Zinc help maintain the immune system. 

What should I do if a family member or roommate becomes ill?

  • Self-quarantine. This means you do NOT have symptoms but have been exposed to either a positive or suspected case. You will need to remain home for 14 days.
  • Monitor yourself for any developing symptoms.
    • Take your temperature twice a day.
    • Monitor for other symptoms especially cough and sudden loss of taste and smell.
  • Get tested if the family member/roommate tests positive. You would then be considered a close contact of a known positive case.
  • If possible, separate the ill family member from others in the household.

What should I do if I develop COVID-19 symptoms?

Self-isolate. Isolation means you DO HAVE symptoms and now you need to remain at home to avoid spreading the virus to others.

  • If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, stay home. Treat your symptoms with over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen for fever and body aches, decongestants, and OTC cough preparations.
  • Get tested. There are number of health care providers, urgent care centers, and public health agencies where you can get a COVID-19 test. 
  • Take your temperature twice a day.
  • Try to isolate yourself from other household members, practice good hand hygiene, and clean and disinfect surfaces in the home.
  • Notify your healthcare provider of your symptoms.
  • Stay hydrated, rest, and even if you have no sense of smell or taste, remember to maintain nutrition. This is important to maintain your immune system. 
  • Health-related questions? Email:  health@monmouth.edu. A nurse practitioner is available to answer your questions.
  • You will need to stay home and self-isolate for 72 hours AFTER your fever has completely resolved without the use of fever-reducing medication AND your other symptoms (cough and congestion) have greatly improved.

When should I go to the hospital?

You will need to go to the hospital if you develop difficulty breathing. Ask yourself:

  • Am I breathing harder or faster than usual when doing nothing at all?
  • Am I so ill that I’ve stopped doing all of my usual daily activities?

Increasing respiratory distress, if it occurs, typically happens in the second week of the virus usually between days 8-14. If this occurs, call 911 and inform dispatch that you have been home with either suspected or confirmed COVID-19. 

When should I be tested for COVID-19?

Testing for COVID-19 varies by state, county, and agency conducting the testing. The criteria for testing also changes with availability of materials and prevalence in your area.

Health insurance companies will test you for COVID-19 without a co-pay if:

  • You have symptoms: 
    • The presence of symptoms varies depending upon testing site. Most will test if you have a fever; others require the presence of 2 or more symptoms.
  • You have had close contact with a known positive case of COVID-19.

There is increased testing available for asymptomatic persons who are at risk for serious disease. 

  • Age > 65 and/or other serious underlying medical conditions.
  • Healthcare workers or essential workers who provide services to vulnerable populations.

If you are symptomatic, health insurance companies will cover the cost of a test with no co-pay.  If you have no health insurance, there are a number of government agencies in each state where someone can get tested. Check your State Department of Health listing.

If you do not have symptoms and are just concerned that you may be a carrier of the virus, check with your health insurance company to determine coverage.

What kind of COVID-19 testing is available?

Testing for the COVID-19 virus is rapidly developing and changing. Testing can involve a naso-pharyngeal (NP) swab, nasal swab, and saliva. Most importantly, the test should be a FDA-approved test. At the present time:

  • NP, nasal swab, and saliva tests have a 1-2 day test turn-around time.
  • There are few point-of-care tests that have adequate testing sensitivity and specificity.  This may change in the near future.

COVID-19 antibody testing is a blood test to detect the presence of protective antibodies to COVID-19. Tests that are available can tell you only if antibodies are present but not how many to provide immunity. Therefore, it is not an accurate way to determine if someone is immune to COVID-19. Antibody testing may be useful for persons who:

  • Had COVID-19 and recovered to determine if antibodies are present.
  • Have close contacts of a known COVID-19 case who never developed symptoms.

Where can I find additional information about the COVID-19?

For additional information about Coronavirus, including signs and symptoms, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html