FAQ for STUDENTS

To minimize the spread of illness as the COVID-19 outbreak evolves, no in-person University events will be held during the summer term. All summer courses will be taught online or via distance learning. See our Summer College schedule

Please understand that answers to your questions may change as the public health crisis evolves. Check back often for the latest information news about Cal U’s response to the spread of COVID-19, including our plans for resuming in-person classes and on-campus activities this fall.

What else do you need to know?

When do classes start this fall?


Fall 2020 classes will begin August 17. The semester will end November 25, just before the Thanksgiving break.

How do I get started using online learning tools like D2L and ZOOM?

This page has information for students about the D2L Brightspace learning tool, including how to find your courses, student help videos, and a useful D2L Brightspace Student Orientation.

The page also has tips for video assignments and using ZOOM web conferencing technology.

Is the UTech Helpdesk open?
 

The UTech Helpdesk is available from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday; call 724-938-5911. Staff are working remotely.

We anticipate a high volume of calls. An email to UTechRequests@calu.edu is an efficient way to reach the Help Desk.

Before you phone or email, see if one of our UTech Tutorials can answer your technology question. 

What if I don’t have technology for online classes?
 

No internet access? Check in with your local internet provider. Some companies are providing internet access free or at a reduced rate during this national emergency.

Oh no -- my library books are overdue! What now?


All current due dates for returning materials have been extended.  You may return material when the campus reopens. All current fines and fees are waived.

Library database resources are available 24/7 via the library’s website for assigned research papers and other assignments. You can also schedule librarian research assistance and chat with a librarian. Check the library website for hours. 

What if I need textbooks or other academic resources?

The Cal U Bookstore will be processing orders online and offering free ground shipping on all items with no minimum purchase.

The bookstore offers access to up to seven (7) eBooks at no additional charge with your .edu email address.

For all this and more, visit our campus store’s website.

How can I return rented textbooks?


The bookstore is offering free shipping return labels so you can return your rented textbooks by mail when the semester ends.

Visit our campus store’s website for details.

How do I request a grade of "pass" or "no credit" instead of a letter grade?


UPDATE: Students must apply for the Pass/No Credit option within one week after final grades are posted. Contact your faculty adviser if you have questions.

Here's how the P/NC grading option works:

  1. Faculty will grade your coursework and give you a final letter grade (A, B, C, D or F) for your course.
  2. You can apply for Pass/NoCredit grading before you see your final letter grade, or up to one week after your final letter grade is posted.
  3. You must complete a P/NC Grade Request Form for each course to request the change to Pass/No Credit grading for that course. The form to use is here.
  4. Your faculty adviser or department chair and the College dean must approve your P/NC request. (Note: Some courses cannot be graded Pass/No Credit because of accreditation requirements or other reasons.)
  5. Once final grades are received in the Registrar’s Office, those with Pass/No Credit requests that are approved by your faculty adviser/department chair and dean will be converted to P/NC grades. Grades of A, B, C and D will be converted to Pass; grades of F will be converted to No Credit.
  6. A grade of NC (No Credit) will not adversely affect your GPA, but you wll not receive credit for the course.
Who is eligible for CARES Act emergency relief funds?

UPDATE: CARES Act funds were distributed in May. In all, 3,408 eligible students received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) includes funds to assist college students impacted by the shift to online education because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cal U was required to follow federal Department of Education guidelines for distributing CARES Act funds to eligible students.

You may be eligible for funding if you meet ALL of these requirements:

  • Are enrolled as a degree-seeking student at Cal U (full-time or part-time; undergraduate or graduate).
  • Were enrolled in face-to-face, on-campus classes as of March 13, 2020.
  • Have a permanent address in the United States.
  • Have a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file.

You are NOT eligible for this funding if you:

  • Were enrolled in a 100% online program as of March 13, 2020.
  • Are in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), High School Early Admission (HSEA) or 60+ CAP program.
  • Are an international student whose permanent address is outside the United States.
  • Do not have a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file.

Cal U expects to begin distributing CARES Act emergency relief to eligible students beginning May 6, 2020. If you have direct deposit set up with Student Accounts, this money will be deposited to your bank account. Otherwise, you will receive a check by mail at your permanent address.

NOTE: A small portion of CARES Act funding has been set aside to assist eligible students with extraordinary needs as they prepare for the fall semester. An application for emergency grant funding will be available later this summer.

My family’s financial situation has changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Can my financial aid be adjusted?
 

Contact the Financial Aid Office (finaid@calu.edu) if medical expenses, job loss or other effects of the pandemic have made a significant change in your family’s income. Financial Aid staff can advise you about updating your FAFSA to ask for an adjustment in your financial aid.

What is happening with Commencement this year? How will I get my diploma?

Graduating seniors should watch their campus email for official end-of-term information.

Seniors can expect to receive two packages by mail. The first, shipped in mid-May, included some special items to mark your graduation. The second, due in mid- to late June, will contain your personalized diploma, honor cords and Commencement booklet, with a link to an interactive booklet you can share online with family and friends.

All 2020 graduates are invited to participate in formal Commencement cermonies in December.

How do I register for fall classes?
 

Registration continues on schedule. Visit VIP, the Vulcan Information Portal, to register for classes, check Degree Works or use Starfish to “raise your hand” and ask for help.

The schedule for priority and regular registration remains unchanged.

How do I reach the Scheduling Center?


The Scheduling Center is available to connect with you by:
•  Email (schedulingcenter@calu.edu)
• Phone (724-938-1608)
•  Text (724-780-0174)
•  Zoom video conference (contact us to arrange)
•  Starfish (Raise Your Hand)

Are tutoring services available?


Yes! A number of our Vulcan Learning Commons (VLC) tutors are available to work with you. To schedule an appointment, email vlc@calu.edu or  boukaabar@calu.edu. You also can use the WCOnline scheduling software at https://calu.mywconline.com/.

In addition, Cal U has partnered with Pearson’s Smarthinking, an online tutoring service. Cal U students can request and receive FREE online tutorial assistance from Smarthinking tutors, 24/7, in reading, writing and several other subjects and disciplines. Learn how to get started.

How do I reach the Financial Aid Office?


The Financial Aid staff is working remotely, but they are here to help you! Email questions or concerns to finaid@calu.edu. If you need to speak with someone by phone, provide a callback number and someone will call you back.

Are residence halls and Vulcan Village open?
 

The residence halls are CLOSED for the summer. Housing deposits are being accepted for the fall semester.

Questions? Please email housing@calu.edu or leave a message at the Housing Office, 724-938-4444.

Off-campus housing at Vulcan Village remains open. No visitors are allowed in Vulcan Village apartments. All activities are canceled. No parties or gatherings are permitted.

How do I get access to my residence hall?
 

The residence halls have been secured and no access is permitted. Questions? Email housing@calu.edu or leave a message at the Housing Office, 724-938-4444.

Are dining services available? What happens to my Dine Dollars?
 

No dining services are available at this time.

2020 graduates will have their unused Dine Dollars refunded; for other students, unused Dine Dollars will roll over to the fall semester.

How can I reach the Student Affairs staff?


All Student Affairs departments are operating virtually and staff members are ready to assist you! Please call 724-938-5375 or email stuaffairs@calu.edu — and don't forget to practice social distancing and take care of your health and well-being.

How do I return my parking pass or get one for next fall?

The Office of Parking and Transportation will contact all graduating seniors with instructions on how to return their parking passes.

In the coming weeks, online renewals for the fall will open up and students will be able to charge passes to their student accounts. You are strongly encouraged to either renew your current permit or place yourself on the waitlist for the fall. 

If you aren't graduating but you don't plan to bring a car back in the fall, return your permit by mail to:
Parking and Transportation
250 University Ave., Box 46,
California, PA 15419.

Will the Vulcan Flyer be running?
 

Vulcan Flyer service has been suspended.

Students at Vulcan Village may use Mid Mon Valley Transit to reach Walmart and other locations. Some routes and schedules have been modified; visit www.mmvta.com for the latest information.

I purchased my cap and gown online. What now?


Students who purchased a cap and gown from Herff Jones have these options:

RETURN and request a refund:
http://www.herffjones.com/collegereturns 

KEEP and re-route the bookstore pickup to your permanent address:
http://www.herffjones.com/HomeDelivery

How can I stay in touch with the Cal Times student newspaper?

  1.  Go to the Cal Times website
  2.  Find the panel on the homepage: "Get the Cal Times delivered to your Inbox."
  3.  Insert the email address where you want to receive the notifications.
  4. Enjoy your Cal Times subscription!
Where do I go if I feel sick?


If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms, please call your doctor. Professionals at the Student Health Center will be checking voicemail left at 724-938-4232 periodically.

Is the Counseling Center still open?


The Counseling Center is accessible by email and telephone for scheduled consultations and tele-therapy appointments for Pennsylvania residents. Staff also can help you find a therapist or mental health resources close to your current location. To schedule a consultation, phone 724-938-4056.

The center is NOT open for in-person or walk-in counseling. Group therapy is suspended temporarily; group members may reach out to their group facilitator by email.

If you need support in the moment, call 911 or your county's crisis line.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741

Is support still available from PARC?


Staff at the Prevention Awareness Recovery Center are working remotely to provide support.

If you are struggling to find the resources you need to complete your course work, maintain your mental or physical health, address food insecurity, or confront other issues that present as barriers to success, please contact Rachel Michaels at michaels_r@calu.edu

If you need support for recovery, these websites can help you find online meetings:

Should I get tested for COVID-19?


According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health:

•  Stay home if you are feeling mostly fine or if you are worried.

•  Stay home and call your doctor if you are feeling sick but would not have sought care under normal circumstances.

•  Call your doctor or seek medical care if you feel sick and believe you have an emergency.
If you do not have a provider, call your local health department or 1-877-PA-HEALTH. If you still need help, call your local emergency department.

In combination, symptoms of the COVID-19 virus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear within 2-14 days of exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with few or no symptoms to people who are severely ill.

What about athletics?


In keeping with NCAA and PSAC guidelines, all spring sports have been canceled. No practices or training sessions are scheduled.