Frequently Asked Questions for Students (Updated 4.02.20)

Where should K students be counted in the 2020 Census?

According to the Census Bureau’s official residence criteria for the 2020 Census, college students should be counted at their “usual residence” on April 1, 2020. This means that K students should be counted at their college address (either on- or off-campus), even if they are staying at their parents’ or guardians’ home on Census Day due to the COVID-19 closure. For students who live on-campus, K will count them in their records. For students who live off-campus, they should complete the census individually using their off-campus address as it would have been on April 1.

How will spring Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) grades impact scholarships and financial aid?

Students receiving Kalamazoo College merit scholarships (Lux Esto, Passages, JT Williamson, Global Leadership, Enlightened Leadership Award, etc.) must maintain a cumulative 2.5 GPA by the end of their sophomore year. If Spring 2020 is the end of your sophomore year and you are under a 2.5 GPA, you will automatically be given Fall 2020 as an additional term to increase your GPA.   

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is another year-end academic review required by the federal government to maintain eligibility for all scholarships and financial aid. SAP requires students to maintain specific GPAs and to earn certain percentages of units to make progress towards graduation. 

  • First-Year students must have both a 1.67 cumulative GPA and earn units in 67 percent of the classes they attempted.
  • Sophomore and higher students must have both a 2.0 GPA and earn units in 75 percent of the classes they attempted.

Student academic records are reviewed for SAP eligibility at the end of each academic year. Scholarships and financial aid (grants, work, and loans) will be lost if SAP requirements aren’t met. Students can appeal for one term of probation that, if approved, reinstates all scholarships and financial aid giving students one term to improve their academic record. The Financial Aid Office will communicate with and work with impacted students. Due to the rapidly changing circumstances, the Financial Aid Office is keeping a close eye on guidance from the Department of Education and will work with students through the process.

If you continue to have questions, please email the Financial Aid Office at

How might CR/NR affect home institution review for international students?

We are working with the Center for International Programs to continue to address this issue for international students. Again, colleges and universities around the globe have entered unparalleled times. Among support options, we will provide letters for these students indicating that college grading policy changed for spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak and that all courses were graded CR/NC. 

What if I was counting on spring term to boost my GPA?

Because K is on a trimester system, students take at most three courses for letter grades during any given term (with exception of those overloading). Students at semester schools are taking four to six courses any semester. There is a lower impact of grades on GPA for any given term at K compared to semester schools.

A junior with a 3.553 GPA could boost their GPA by 0.05 points IF they earned straight As (not A-) in spring term. And, if they got straight Bs in spring term, their GPA would drop by 0.08. For seniors, the numbers are even smaller. The impact is simply too small to advantage or disadvantage one’s GPA by over-performing in one quarter. For first- and second-year students, there are still future academic terms to earn letter grades that impact GPA. It is important to note that there is an assumption here that everyone will get a better or just-as-good grade in distant learning as in-class learning. That may not be the case.

For GPA, the important indicator is trajectory, rather than final GPA. Faculty will be able to speak to trajectory in letters of recommendation. 

Students re-taking a course to replace a grade previously earned (which is possible if you earned less than a C- in a course and haven’t taken any courses beyond that course), the old grade will be replaced with the CR and the old grade will no longer be used in the GPA calculation.

We highly recommend that you give the term your best work and take your courses seriously. The letters of recommendation for all students across the country are going to be even more important than in the past, as professional and graduate schools look to faculty to give a more nuanced evaluation of students’ abilities, engagement and trajectory. 

What if I am coming back from study abroad and will have no letter grades for the year?

This answer was updated April 2.
Unless there is a special circumstance (very rare), students do receive grades for study abroad courses that will show on your transcript. However, they will not be factored into your cumulative K GPA. Additionally, all transcripts will have a notation at start of Spring 2020 grades explaining that due to COVID-19, the College only offered CR/NC grading options for the Spring term.

With the transition to distance learning, are we changing our grading system for spring term?

The Kalamazoo College faculty have voted to shift to credit/no credit (CR/NC) grading for spring 2020 courses. This change will reduce stress during transitions into remote course delivery for both faculty and students, and enable students and faculty to focus on learning and growth in a rapidly changing and uncertain time. This change is similar to what other institutions, including Columbia University and Harvard Law School are doing to address the unprecedented shifts in instruction occurring this term.

Courses that are usually exempted from CR/NC, including those in your major and Shared Passages courses, will use CR/NC grading. Earning CR for these courses will not impede your ability to take subsequent courses in your program.

How will the credit/no credit system affect my GPA and progress toward graduation?

Coursework completed during spring 2020 will enable you to progress toward graduation but will not impact your GPA. A notation will appear on student transcripts to the effect that CR/NC is the only grading option available for spring 2020 courses.

Will this affect my ability to take CR/NC courses in future semesters?

Courses taken during spring 2020 do not count toward a student’s choice to use CR/NC in other terms. Courses taken CR/NC in quarters other than spring 2020 remain governed by catalog policies about CR/NC.

Are there courses that I can take if I’m in a different time zone or don’t always have internet access?

The spring 2020 course schedule will include information about courses that will be offered asynchronously (meaning those where students will fulfill course requirements and engage with course materials outside of a set class meeting time). Asynchronous courses accommodate students in different time zones and facilitate participation for students who have unstable access to internet service or unusual family responsibilities during this time. Information about asynchronous offerings will be available in the course schedule by Tuesday, March 31, 2020, so that students can use the drop/add period to make changes to their schedules, including the potential addition of courses that were previously unavailable to them due to overlapping time schedules.

When is the drop/add period?

Due to the changes in the Spring term start date and mode of instruction, Spring term drop/add deadlines have been adjusted and will be as follows:

  • Wednesday, April 1 – Classes begin
  • Friday, April 3 – Online drop/add deadline (via Student Planning. Adds over cap or waiving pre-requisites must be done via email and registered manually by the Registrar’s Office)
  • Friday, April 10 – Drop/add with instructor permission deadline (must be done via email and registered manually by the Registrar’s Office)
  • Monday, April 13 – PE/MUSC/THEA partial-unit drop/add deadline (instructor permission required; must be done via email and registered manually by the Registrar’s Office)

All other deadlines for Spring term currently remain the same. An updated view of the current Academic Calendar can be found at

Questions regarding these deadlines can be directed to the Registrar’s Office at

How do I collect belongings that I left in the residence hall?

This answer was updated April 1
We are not any closer to determining the procedures for students to retrieve their belongings as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order requires that all non-essential College employees work from home. We anticipate this executive order may be extended beyond the original April 13 end date. A process for retrieving belongings will be broadly publicized when it is safe and appropriate to facilitate one.

If I forgot to return my room keys, how do I do so?

Keys should be returned only if you have completely vacated your room. Place the key(s) in a padded envelope with a piece of paper that notes your name and student ID. Transit hazards tend to damage regular envelopes. If a padded envelope is not possible, it is recommended that you at least tape the key(s) to something such as cardboard or wrap them in paper to prevent them from falling out if the envelope gets damaged.

Mail the envelope to:
1200 Academy St.
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49006
Attention: Residential Life

E-mail to let us know that you have done this so we can expect your key.

When we receive the key(s), we will confirm that with you.  If they get lost in the mail, you will be charged accordingly. You significantly reduce the risk of that happening by taking the necessary precautions outlined above.

How can we sign up for housing for the 2020-21 academic year?

You will receive specific information about how to sign up for housing, including the Living Learning Houses, in the coming weeks as we transition to a remote process.

Will on-campus housing be available this summer?

We don’t know yet whether we will offer on-campus housing this summer. More information is forthcoming. 

Will refunds for dining or housing be issued?

This answer was updated March 19.
The Student Accounts Office is currently working on rebilling Spring term charges. An email communication will be sent as soon as the bills have been updated. Refunds will begin March 27, and students are strongly encouraged to enroll in direct deposit. Spring quarter bills are not due until May 1, 2020.

Will we be billed for spring term?

Spring tuition will be billed; however, special course and lab fees for the spring quarter will be waived. The activity fee will also be waived. The College is working on a mechanism to refund or reimburse already paid special course, lab and activity fees.

I have a campus job and rely on that income. Will the College still pay me?

The College will pay students enrolled full-time for the Spring Term who have already scheduled campus jobs. They will be paid their regularly scheduled hours. Students may be asked to work remotely where possible.

What can I anticipate from distance learning?

Each course offered through distance learning will adapt to the specific content and goals of the course. As is the case with in-person courses, some faculty will make extensive use of demonstrations and videos while others will rely more heavily on texts and discussion questions. The format of instruction will be different, and the same wonderful K faculty who have guided your learning in past terms will continue to guide you this spring.

When will I get specific information about spring classes?

Most faculty are working on winter quarter grading at this time. Faculty will be reaching out with more information about classes as we get closer to the start of spring courses in April. Just as you would during a regular term, you will hear from faculty no later than the first scheduled day of classes.

What about seniors who had PE or lab courses scheduled for spring? Will we be able to get credit?

The Department of Physical Education and Provost’s Office are working on a plan for spring PE courses so that students can continue to earn credit. Students enrolled in spring quarter PE courses will receive specific information within the next few days. Lab courses also remain scheduled and credited; some departments have already reached out to students and others will be doing so as we get closer to the beginning of spring quarter.

Will K still be holding Commencement?

We hope to hold Commencement ceremonies as scheduled. It is simply too soon to know if this will be possible. We will let you know as soon as possible if plans need to change. We will hold a ceremony at some point, if not on June 14.

What if we have don’t have internet access at home?

Several companies are offering extended free trial periods and other deals to homes of K-12 and college students. Here are some links to information and resources:

When do winter textbook rentals need to be returned?

Winter textbook rentals were due back to the bookstore by 4 p.m., Wednesday, March 18. If winter textbook rentals were not returned by the deadline, you will be charged the replacement cost of the books; however, the standard $20 penalty will be waived. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept any late winter textbook rentals.

How will we pick up/purchase books for spring term?

This answer was updated March 25.
Books for the spring term are available for rent or purchase online at Textbooks and merchandise will be shipped via UPS ground within one to two business days, but might take longer during periods of increased demand. Overnight and second-day shipping is also available. Due to the extended lead time necessary to ship required textbooks, students choosing to purchase their textbooks from the Kalamazoo College Bookstore should make those purchases without delay.

We apologize as we are not able to offer on-site pickup of orders at this time due to the statewide “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order.

Refunds and rental returns: Textbooks for the spring term may be returned for a full refund by Wednesday, April 22. A refund policy will be included in the shipment. Rented textbooks must be returned to the Bookstore by Sunday, June 14.

Will the mail center be open and will it hold/forward packages?

This answer was updated March 26.
Effective Monday, March 23, the Mail and Copy Center will be open Monday–Friday from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. There will be one outgoing United States Postal Service pickup at approximately 10 a.m. Monday–Saturday. All USPS mail should be sorted and in the correct mailboxes by 10:30 a.m. daily. Any package needing UPS overnight shipping needs to be received by 12 p.m.

As Kalamazoo College complies with the statewide “Stay Safe, Stay Home” order, students living off campus will not be able to access the Mail and Copy Center to retrieve mail and packages. Students are encouraged to avoid added time and expense in retrieving their packages by specifying their correct current addresses on future online orders.

If students have packages and mail currently in the Mail and Copy Center, they should call 269.337.7252 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. to arrange forwarding. The Mail Center can accept credit card information over the phone to process the shipping charges for this service.

When will the library and fitness center reopen?

This answer was updated March 23
The Upjohn Library Commons and the Fitness and Wellness Center have been closed by executive order of the Governor of Michigan. These facilities will remain closed to everyone except employees who work in those facilities until further notice.

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