Navigating the College

Spring 2021 FAQs

This page is designed to address frequently asked questions about the plans for Spring 2021 in the College. The answers below reflect the information that is currently available. The College will frequently update and add to this resource.

Academics & Instruction

    Any undergraduate student who is unable to or chooses not to come to campus may attend the 2020 Autumn Quarter remotely. Most courses will be available virtually, and the University is working on virtual options for science labs. For more information, students should contact their Academic Adviser.

    Yes. Your choices for each quarter are separate. Enrolled students are permitted to attend Autumn Quarter remotely and Winter and Spring Quarters from campus. However, the availability of off-campus apartments may be subject to change.

    Students in other time zones or attending class from abroad will have the opportunity to register for courses that work better for their schedules. If a student has a specific concern or question about a particular course's offerings, they should contact their Academic Adviser.

    Incoming students seeking to defer their enrollment or ‘take a gap year’ must apply through their regional admissions counselor and receive written approval from the Dean of Admissions. Continuing students who are considering a leave of absence should contact their Academic Adviser to begin the process.

    Registration will be staggered over a series of dates for different groups of students, beginning in mid-July. Please consult the University Registrar’s Autumn 2020 calendar for more details. The full schedule of Autumn 2020 classes will be published on July 27. Classes will be labeled to indicate on-campus, remote or hybrid formats.

    Orientation will begin online the week of September 8 in order to facilitate a smooth transition upon students’ arrival. Signature Orientation programming will take place beginning Friday, September 25, when those who are able have arrived at campus. More information can be found on the Orientation website.

    All placement tests are offered prior to students' arrival on campus. Accreditation exams that have been traditionally offered during Orientation Week will be now be offered prior to students' arrival as well.

    Should a student become ill and be in need of academic support, they should contact their Academic Adviser and their course instructors to discuss alternate arrangements.

Financial Aid

    For students who provided all application materials by our deadline of May 31, financial aid notifications will be sent beginning the first week of August. Notifications continue to be sent, as processing is completed. As the College has noted, financial aid packages for students living off-campus will include increased funding to reflect housing and dining expenses.

    University of Chicago is providing an extra $10 million in financial aid to help students living off-campus secure alternative living arrangements. The cost of attendance used when determining financial aid awards will include a living allowance of $17,004. For students who met the May 31 application deadline, award notifications will begin to be sent the first week of August and will continue on a rolling basis.

    Each financial aid budget is constructed with an allowance for personal expenses, including travel.  If you need additional funding, the University offers an Emergency Assistance Program which may be able to help. 

    Federal Work-Study funding and positions will be available. Positions may be on-campus or remote, depending on the employer. Consult Handshake for Autumn Quarter open positions and check back frequently as positions are continuously posted.

Student Wellness

    Students can enroll in or waive U-SHIP coverage beginning in early August. At that time, students will receive an email communication with instructions on the process. In order to waive U-SHIP, students must affirm that they have insurance that meets the University’s comparable coverage requirements. The comparable coverage requirements have been adjusted for the 2020-21 academic year to allow students residing outside Chicago to meet our coverage requirements. 

    Regardless of where a student may be living during the 2020-21 academic year, students who do not enroll in or waive the student insurance plan will by default be enrolled in U-SHIP and remain enrolled in U-SHIP through the end of the plan year (unless they are no longer actively registered in their program), and thus will be responsible for the annual premium, which is billed in three installments.  The University’s health insurance policy can be found in the Student Manual. 

    Yes, you’ll be covered for the period for which you are enrolled and premiums are paid. In addition to being covered for medical treatment and services, you will also be covered by UnitedHealthcare Global for Emergency Medical Evacuation, Dispatch of Doctors/Specialists, Medical Repatriation, and other global benefits.  All services must be arranged for in advance and provided by UnitedHealthcare Global. Any services not arranged by UnitedHealthcare Global will not be considered for payment. For more information, please review the plan brochure. 

    Please see the Accessing Services in 2020-21 page on the UChicago Student Wellness website for more information.

Housing & Residence Life

    Rental agencies have indicated that they currently have availability within one mile of campus, and they expect that additional units should become available in the coming weeks. An Off-Campus Apartment Guide is available through the University’s GoForward website. The University has compiled general advice for students looking for an apartment. Students also can email the University for guidance with off-campus housing at

    The University’s Office of International Affairs website offers useful information for international students who seek off-campus housing. International students also can email the University for guidance with off-campus housing at

    In an effort to be as accommodating as possible, Housing & Residence Life will not obligate a student to accept a space if offered. Given the limited number of bed spaces, however, students are encouraged to be thoughtful when completing the intent-to-return form or placing themselves on the waitlist.

    The University’s minimum 10-day quarantine begins after completion of move-in and will end once all residents have completed their quarantine. The quarantine period will resemble “stay-at-home” orders issued for many communities in recent months. In this instance, “home” is a student’s assigned residence hall. Students can come and go from their residence hall to get meals?, exercise outdoors, visit Student Wellness or otherwise seek medical care, go to the pharmacy, or pick up essential items from a store. While doing any of these activities, the requirement under the UChicago Health Pact is that students must continue to wear the appropriate face covering, maintain physical distance from others, and avoid large, densely packed crowds.

    Because the quarantine/stay-at-home period will coincide with the first week of classes, students will have plenty to do to keep themselves occupied. There also will be robust remote programming for them in the days prior to classes beginning, providing opportunities to engage with their immediate residential community.

    The City of Chicago quarantine can be completed simultaneously with the University of Chicago quarantine period so that you need only be in quarantine for 14 days total.  Students will be permitted to move in during the fourth week of September with everyone in residence by September 25, so that they may be in residence for the minimal ten days and commence attending class in person October 5.

    All residents living in the University residence halls will be required to participate in a mandatory testing program, paid for by the University, that will begin with their move-in and will continue during the time in residence. Students living off-campus will be able to participate in a voluntary ongoing testing program. At any time that College students feel that they have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or experience symptoms, they can be tested at no cost.

    Per the UChicago Health Pact, the expectation is that socializing will be done only while wearing the appropriate face covering, maintaining physical distance from others, and avoiding large, densely packed crowds.

    Students do not need to go back into quarantine because of leaving their residence hall or off-campus apartment, unless they have come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or experience symptoms. If they travel to and remain, for 24 hours or more, in one of the states under travel restrictions by the City of Chicago, students must do a mandatory quarantine for 14 days upon return to Chicago or Hyde Park.

    Students in who test positive for COVID-19, or are exposed to students who test positive for COVID-19 and need to reside in isolation, must temporarily relocate to facilities designated for that purpose.

    Temporary relocation to prevent exposure to COVID-19 is only available to students who live in residence halls. The University is permitting students to take courses remotely, for full credit, if they have concerns about exposure to COVID-19.

    The University will provide access to medical care to all students living on- or off-campus in the Chicago area who test positive for COVID-19.

    Each of the residence halls have outside courtyard spaces that will be used for socializing at a the needed six-foot distance.

    We will prioritize keeping students in their houses to the extent possible with space limitations.

    House communities will remain intact virtually, to ensure student who live off campus, or who cannot travel to the U.S. due to COVID-19, remain included. The resident staff -- including Resident Heads, Resident Assistants, and Virtual Programming Assistants – will engage students who lived in their Houses at the end of Winter Quarter, as part of the virtual House community.

    Returning students still will be allowed to choose their suitemates.

    Starting in August, students who put their belongings in storage will be offered times to retrieve them. We will be announcing the process of reserving those dates and times shortly.

    In keeping with current plans, students will be able to leave belongings in their assigned room at the end of Autumn Quarter.

    Students who choose to travel during Thanksgiving Break will not be allowed to return to on-campus housing and must complete the remainder of the quarter remotely. However, students may elect to remain in their residence halls for Thanksgiving Break and the final weeks of the quarter, provided they do not leave the Chicago area or travel during this time.

    If resident hall students have already left campus, Housing and Residence Life will arrange for students, parents, or their designee to have access to the residence hall to pack and remove belongings.

    If students leave Chicago during or after Thanksgiving break, they may not return until the commencement of Winter Quarter.

    In that event, the University will determine a reimbursement for the days and/or weeks students will not be in residence. 

    For students renting apartments off campus, remote learning would not require them to relocated from those apartments, if the University moves fully to remote learning.

    Signs will indicate maximum capacity for individual elevators.

Find more information on the Housing webpage


    The University will continue to offer the unlimited meal, phoenix meal plan, and apartment meal plan with some adaptations – such as additional Maroon dollars and additional meal exchanges – to facilitate student dining.

    Yes, UChicago Dining will continue to provide vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, kosher, and halal options. Students may also consult with a University dietician.

    At the beginning of Autumn Quarter, the University only is offering meal plans to students who live in residence halls. In addition to local restaurants and groceries, there are on-campus retail dining facilities that will be open to students who live off-campus. Students may purchase meals from on-campus retail operations using Maroon Dollars as well as cash and credit and debit cards.

    At the beginning of Autumn Quarter, the University is only offering meal plans and access to University dining commons to students who live in residence halls.

Student Employment

    Career Advancement is working with employers and faculty to provide a wide range of remote career experiences for students, including internships, remote positions with campus departments, and short-term "micro-internship" projects. Students can make an appointment with a career adviser to get personalized support with finding internships, and they can apply for opportunities through their UChicago Handshake account.

    Career Advancement will support students whether they are studying on-campus or remotely. This includes access to:

    • Personalized one-on-one career advising, available in-person, via phone, or via video, depending on the student’s preference
    • Online professional development events with industry experts
    • Opportunities to meet employers and alumni mentors
    • Internships and micro-internship opportunities
    • New virtual resource library

    Since many employers have moved recruiting online and are eager to meet UChicago students, Career Advancement is giving students access to jobs and internships earlier than ever. Employers will begin posting opportunities and holding virtual interviews on August 3, and they’ll continue posting new positions throughout the 2020-2021 academic year.
    Students are invited to make an appointment with a career adviser to create a personal recruiting timeline and strategy.