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COVID-19 Response - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

May 4, 2020

Please see UCSB’s campus website for the most up-to-date COVID-19 information, including Chancellor Henry Yang’s latest communication about the measures the campus is taking. 

Below you will find information for some of the questions that we have been getting from students over the last several days. We will update this information as needed given that conditions are changing rapidly in the U.S. and around the world.  We also ask for your patience as the campus adjusts to these new plans and puts arrangements in place.  For questions that are not answered here, you can email, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Is UCSB still able to guarantee housing for students?  

UC Santa Barbara takes great pride in providing an enriching student housing experience for our students. Under normal circumstances, UC Santa Barbara offers housing guarantees to a large percentage of our student population. However, at the present time it is not possible for us to know whether the current public health crisis will allow us to maintain normal operations in undergraduate student housing when the fall quarter begins. Consequently, like almost every university across the country, we cannot offer a housing guarantee at this time. We will continue to send you updates and information as it becomes available.

How is UCSB handling tuition and fees for fall quarter 2020?

The University of California policy states that "tuition and mandatory fees have been set regardless of the method of instruction, and will not be refunded in the event instruction occurs remotely for any part of the academic year."

Some or all instruction for all or part of the 2020-21 Academic Year may be delivered remotely. The tuition and mandatory fees have been set regardless of the method of instruction and will not be refunded in the event instruction occurs remotely for any part of the year. 

This University of California policy recognizes that all campuses need to maintain campus operations and continue many ongoing operations affected by COVID-19, including remote instruction and services.

Why is UCSB transitioning to alternative forms of instruction and replacing in-person modalities with remote strategies as much as possible? 

Our top priority is the health and safety of our community.  Given what we know about transmission of COVID-19, prevention is aided through physical distancing and avoiding exposure which means it is helpful to reduce the number of people on campus and to avoid as much as possible bringing novel coronavirus into our community when we currently have no cases on campus.    

The transition to alternative instruction has begun but requires some time and preparation. Faculty are working as quickly as possible to respond to the new directive for remote instruction. If you have not heard from your instructors, please confirm with them what arrangements are in place.

I don’t have a laptop available to me. What can I do?

UCSB will offer a free Chromebook to any student who does not have access to a working one. Students wishing to take advantage of this program can visit the Food Security and Basic Needs Advising Center.  Please see the hours at (same location as the CalFresh office). Laptops will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis.  If a student needs a laptop and is no longer in the Isla Vista/Goleta area, they should contact Katie Maynard

Will Campus Learning Assistance Services/ the Recreation Center/ the University Center be open the remainder of this quarter and next quarter?

Most of the campus staff have transitioned to remote correspondence and buildings on campus are closed. . Student Affairs has compiled a central webpage where students can find all services in Student Affairs and the easiest ways to contact departments during the remote instruction period. This website will be an important resource for the remainder of the quarter as it is updated regularly and will include the most current information about every department in Student Affairs. We strongly recommend that you check it regularly!

The Recreation Center will be closed until further notice. For further information please check their website: UCSB Recreation

How will the Disabled Students Program work to accommodate my needs with remote instruction?

While current social distancing guidelines are in place, the Disabled Students Program Office will remain closed to the public, however our office is prepared to assist you with accommodations, albeit through some modified processes. Please reach out to the DSP Office, for further information and guidance.

What about refunds and adjustments given that students are changing their plans for the spring quarter?

The University of California is developing policies to address any changes in enrollment for the spring quarter.  Tuition and fee adjustments are not going to be offered at this time. This is due to a UC systemwide policy as students are still making progress toward their UC degree even though the form of instruction has shifted. Most student services (Career, CAPS, CLAS, DSP, EOP, Student Health, Health and Wellness, etc,) continue to be offered using virtual platforms. The campus has been very flexible with refunds from Housing and Dining.

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will work to ensure a smooth transition for students. As a reminder, full-time enrollment at UCSB is 12 units for undergraduates and 8 units for graduate students. Students who drop below full-time status may have their aid adjusted according to federal guidelines.

UCSB is also committed to meeting the basic needs of all students. Please see the comprehensive list of basic needs programs here: Basic Needs Programs. If you are experiencing a financial hardship, please email the Financial Crisis Response Team at

The Billing and Cashier’s offices will remain open for business, with the office closed to foot traffic. For status updates, please log on to

Can I get a refund from my landlord if I stay home?

The University does not have authority over private landlords. Check your lease and contact your landlord for any questions. You can seek more guidance through University and Community:

What does UCSB’s response to COVID-19 mean for me as an international student?

Per guidance from government entities, international students are authorized to enroll in remote coursework full-time for the duration that the campus is on remote instruction. In other words, students will be able to maintain their visa status under these special circumstances. You are still expected to maintain your minimum unit load and comply with other regulatory requirements associated with your visa status, unless otherwise authorized.

Once in-person courses resume, you will be expected to attend and maintain your full course load physically at the UCSB campus. 

Please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars if you have additional questions.

What is happening to my on-campus job that I need?

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will be reaching out to all campus departments to provide guidance on allowing work study students the opportunity to work remotely. We will strongly encourage departments to work with student employees to ensure they can continue to work and earn a paycheck throughout the spring quarter. 

Will graduation in June 2020 take place?

As of March 26th, the plan is to hold an in-person ceremony for all of our 2020 graduates when it is safe to do so. There is also a plan to hold a virtual ceremony on the second weekend of June that will allow us to recognize the achievements of our graduating students.

Why is UCSB suggesting we do not travel?

Travel guidance from the U.S. Department of State, California, and public health agencies continues to change, and there is no way to anticipate if, or when, additional travel restrictions may be issued that could impact your ability to return to campus. Please monitor closely public health notices in cities, states, and countries where COVID-19 is a growing concern. 

Please consider that with any travel and all modes of public transportation there is a risk of exposure to COVID-19 and the possibility that you will have to self-isolate or be quarantined upon return depending on rapidly changing rates of infection is likely.

Some helpful sites for up-to-date information include:

We encourage our faculty, staff, and students to carefully consider the risks associated with travel, both international and domestic. All personal international travel is strongly discouraged and we urge extreme caution and judgement for personal domestic travel.  Students who travel home, even within California, may be traveling to communities that are already using mitigation strategies to address confirmed cases of novel coronavirus.  Returning to campus may bring cases here from other parts of the state. 

Travel restrictions imposed by government officials as a result of the impacts caused by COVID-19 are still in place, and will likely continue to evolve. Should you decide that you must travel, we encourage you to monitor travel advisories and restrictions offered by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to make the best decisions for you and your family.

Please be aware that there is risk of not being able to re-enter the U.S. if travel restrictions are in place at the time campus resumes in-person classes. You may also be required to self-isolate or quarantine.  In addition, access to online coursework may not be guaranteed from international locations.

International Students Travel:

For the reasons noted above, the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) is currently discouraging all non-essential travel for international students at this time. OISS encourages you to remain in the U.S. and continue your coursework online from your home in the U.S. until further notice. 

Although you are empowered to make your own decisions, please be aware that certain travel risks taken may have future implications for your visa status. Please refer to the OISS COVID-19 Information & Resources page for a full list of trustworthy sources, which we will continue to update in a timely manner.

Please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars if you have additional questions.