April 14, 2020
As you continue remote learning and campus remains on limited operations this week, the two of us regularly marvel at the stories of members of our community who are leading UT, the state and nation through the COVID-19 crisis.
We see the tireless health care workers at UT Health Austin and Dell Medical School working on the front lines alongside their students; scientists and engineers 3D-printing personal protective equipment, solving drug delivery problems, and building new types of ventilators; educators driving the transition to online learning; and researchers tracking the spread of disease and the economic impact.
The University of Texas will have a vital role in helping our state and the broader society move past the COVID-19 crisis, and we are proud of all you are doing already for one another and the greater good.
For now, unfortunately, the spread of COVID-19 persists, and we are beginning to understand the economic ramifications. University leaders – with input from student leaders, faculty members and staff members – are developing plans to address the uncertainty.
We recognize that you are balancing these changes with stress and uncertainty at home, even as you continue your studies. We are making these decisions with your well-being in mind and will keep you updated as we work to maintain our standards of excellence in teaching and research, and advance the university.
As previously announced, all summer courses have been moved online. As part of our collective efforts to ensure student success, the university is adding 25 additional summer courses that will include 2,000 seats beyond our usual capacity. Registration will begin April 27.
To support your continued learning even through the COVID-19 crisis and help you remain on track to earn your degrees, the university will reduce tuition for undergraduate summer courses to 50 percent of the tuition rate for fall and spring semester courses. The summer rates had typically been 85 percent of those long-semester rates.
Graduate and professional student summer tuition will remain unchanged at 85 percent of fall and spring rates. The university will be supporting these students through tuition assistance in targeted graduate areas where a department may have limited resources. This will happen in coordination with ongoing efforts to increase financial support and address issues that affect graduate students, as identified by the Graduate Education Task Force.
We will return to regular university grading for the summer 2020 term. The pass/fail and credit/no credit exceptions for spring 2020 were designed to accommodate the abrupt, unforeseen transition that the crisis required and will not be in place for the summer sessions.
Summer orientation sessions for new students also have been moved online, and the university is reviewing the viability of other summer programming on campus. We are also beginning to look ahead to the fall semester to assess whether any changes will be needed. Any decisions for the fall will be made later in the spring.
Student employee positions will be filled so long as they contribute to the core mission of the university and work can be conducted remotely. We will continue filling these positions and offering student employment opportunities even as the university adds an extra level of review for the hiring of non-student positions on campus.
University Financial Mitigation
We announced to all faculty and staff members today that there will be no centrally funded pool for recurring merit raises. Staying at current salary levels is a financially prudent step at this time as we seek to maintain employee positions.
We also announced new policies to review large university expenditures and that only expenditures that are essential to the core functions of the university will be considered for approval.
Thank you for maintaining social distancing and for following local and state guidelines to stay at home and remain safe. Please remember that you can receive support through the Counseling and Mental Health Center. And, most of all, thank you for all you have done to learn, discover and support one another in these unprecedented times. Your efforts make us a great university.
Gregory L. Fenves
Interim President Designate