Student Affairs  /  FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Coronavirus FAQ

We are asking all undergraduate students to leave Caltech Housing who are able to, as third term will be conducted online. If possible, take all of your belongings with you.

  • Undergraduate students must have a compelling reason to remain on campus. Please see the information from the Dean of Undergraduate Students office below for how to petition to remain on campus.

The deadline to vacate will be Friday, March 20 at 4pm.

We are understanding that international students may have challenges in arranging travel by this time. If so, they should contact ISP and the Dean of Undergraduate Students office who will give them assistance in consideration of their circumstances.

  • In an effort to assist you with your belongings, we have the following plan:
  • We will have boxes available in each house/building 1st floor lounge.
  • The boxes will need to be clearly labeled with your name and UID.
  • Please bring properly packed boxes back to the lounge to be stored.
  • This weekend on March 14, 15, and from Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 20. Packed and properly labeled boxes will be taken by our maintenance crew to the Brown gym for storage. The crew will be available to move these boxes from 10 am - 4 pm. No loose items will be stored, (lamps, bedclothes, etc.) everything must be boxed.
  • Leave personal furniture and other items too large to pack (couches, chairs, desks, etc.) clearly labeled in your room.
  • Please do not leave anything else behind and if there is anything you do not want, please make sure it is in trash cans or dumpsters.

If you have already left campus and left items behind, you may come and retrieve them if you are local. For all others, we will pack up anything left and label it by room and it will be stored at the gym.

Students on campus this weekend may choose to ship items home via local shipping services or they may choose to use the shipping options available in Keith Spalding if they will be on campus this upcoming week. Students who are leaving over the weekend may also contact the Office of Residential Experience (ore@caltech.edu) to resolve any shipping issues.

We plan to consolidate students left on campus to Bechtel and Avery, therefore those spaces will need to be cleared.

Students who have left or leave campus must check out via this online form: https://caltechhousing.wufoo.com/forms/housing-check-out-form/

All students who have already left campus will receive a pro-rated housing and board credit from March 12 - March 29. Students who opted to remain during this period will continue to be charged for housing and board.

Students who leave over third term will receive a full credit of third term housing and board charges. Students who stay will continue to be charged for housing and board.

For further information please see the Caltech Housing website.


Information from the Dean of Undergraduate Students Office:

The Dean of Undergraduate Students office has created a form for students to petition to remain on campus.

The link is here: https://deansoffice.wufoo.com/forms/petition-to-remain-on-campus/

We will evaluate and reply as quickly as possible as requests come in.

Students may petition to remain on campus if they:

  • have a documented health condition that puts them at risk for travel;
  • live in a home community that poses a serious health risk;
  • have concerns about international travel;
  • have concerns around housing insecurity;

Students who have financial concerns about the cost of leaving campus should be in touch with the deans (deansoffice@caltech.edu).

The Financial Aid Office will disburse aid awarded for third term on March 24. For the majority who will be off-campus, Caltech will not be charging room and board for third term. For these students, the financial aid budget includes an allowance for off-campus living expenses which is equivalent in amount to the room and board charges. Students receiving financial aid in excess of tuition and fees will have these living expense funds disbursed to their Bursar Account and they will appear as a credit balance on their bill. These funds can be withdrawn and used for living expenses while attending Caltech third term online and living away from campus. Information about how to do this can be found here: https://www.finaid.caltech.edu/news/update-spring-term-financial-aid

Undergraduate Students
Underload petitions for undergraduate students will be handled as usual, and information can be found here: https://deans.caltech.edu/AcademicSupport/guidelines-underloads

Graduate Students
For more information about underloads for graduate students, please see the Graduate Studies Office website.

Undergraduate Students
If undergraduate students do not want to enroll for the spring term, they are welcome to take leave for the term. The form can be found here:
https://deansoffice.wufoo.com/forms/undergraduate-student-leave-form/

Graduate Students
Please see the procedures on the Graduate Studies Office website.

If a student doesn't feel that online learning is appropriate for them, then they have the option to take leave. All classes will be online in the spring so that we are unable to offer an alternative. If there are challenges due to disabilities, the Institute is committed to helping students with disabilities to make this a better experience. Students who are registered with Caltech Accessibility Services for Students (CASS) should contact the office https://cass.caltech.edu with their concerns.

The funds students will receive are based on the assumption that students are enrolled full time for the entire term. If a student's enrollment status changes after March 24, and the student goes on leave for third term or withdraws from Caltech, the Financial Aid Office will need to recalculate the financial aid based on the amount of time a student was enrolled. If a student is not planning to return third term and aid was disbursed on March 24th, they should not request a refund for the credit balance on their student account.

Please see a list of Student Affairs department efforts as it relates to the on-going changes across campus:

Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation

  • To assist students in leaving campus, we will be ready to accept items for storage at the Athletic Center tomorrow, Saturday morning. See the message below from Housing for more details.
  • The availability and the status of the athletic facilities will be changing, and an announcement will be made to the community.

Caltech Dining Services

  • Dining operations will be continued on a limited basis. The most up to date information will be available on the Caltech Dining website at: http://dining.caltech.edu

Caltech Housing

  • We are asking all undergraduate students to leave Caltech Housing who are able to, as third term will be conducted online. If possible, take all of your belongings with you.
  • Undergraduate students must have a compelling reason to remain on campus. Please see the information from the Dean of Undergraduate Students office below for how to petition to remain on campus.
  • The deadline to vacate will be Friday, March 20 at 4pm.
  • We are understanding that international students may have challenges in arranging travel by this time. If so, they should contact ISP and the Dean of Undergraduate Students office who will give them assistance in consideration of their circumstances.
  • In an effort to assist you with your belongings, we have the following plan:
    • We will have boxes available in each house/building 1st floor lounge.
    • The boxes will need to be clearly labeled with your name and UID.
    • Please bring properly packed boxes back to the lounge to be stored.
    • This weekend on March 14, 15, and from Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 20. Packed and properly labeled boxes will be taken by our maintenance crew to the Brown gym for storage. The crew will be available to move these boxes from 10 am - 4 pm. No loose items will be stored, (lamps, bedclothes, etc.) everything must be boxed.
    • Leave personal furniture and other items too large to pack (couches, chairs, desks, etc.) clearly labeled in your room.
    • Please do not leave anything else behind and if there is anything you do not want, please make sure it is in trash cans or dumpsters.
  • If you have already left campus and left items behind, you may come and retrieve them if you are local. For all others, we will pack up anything left and label it by room and it will be stored at the gym.
  • We plan to consolidate students left on campus to Bechtel and Avery, therefore those spaces will need to be cleared.
  • Students who have left or leave campus must check out via this online form: https://caltechhousing.wufoo.com/forms/housing-check-out-form/
  • All students who have already left campus, will receive a pro-rated housing and board credit from March 12 - March 29. Students who opted to remain during this period will continue to be charged for housing and board.
  • Students who leave over third term will receive a full credit of third term housing and board charges. Students who stay will continue to be charged for housing and board.

Dean of Graduate Studies Office

  • Campus housing remains open for graduate students
  • For graduate students, flexibility will be permitted in the scheduling of thesis advisory, thesis exam, and candidacy committees to allow remote participation of committee members, as well as remote presentation of the thesis seminar with approval by the option representative.

Dean of Undergraduate Students Office

  • The UG Deans office has created a form for students to petition to remain on campus. The link is here: https://deansoffice.wufoo.com/forms/petition-to-remain-on-campus/
    We will evaluate and reply as quickly as possible as requests come in.
  • Students may petition to remain on campus if they:
    • have a documented health condition that puts them at risk for travel;
    • live in a home community that poses a serious health risk;
    • have concerns about international travel;
    • have concerns around housing insecurity;

Students who have financial concerns about the cost of leaving campus should be in touch with the deans (deansoffice@caltech.edu).

Office of Residential Experience

  • Residential Life Coordinators and Resident Associates will continue living on our residences and be available to support graduate students and remaining undergraduate students. If students have challenges finding an appropriate living situation away campus, please email ORE@caltech.edu.

Registrar

  • Courses will be exclusively held online and only for the third term.
  • Faculty and administration will work with students to enable completion of degrees in the third term.
    • The Registrar's Office will work with students and Option Representatives to make any adjustments to graduation plans as needed to accommodate changes to spring course offerings.
    • Outstanding PE requirements for graduating seniors have been waived. When possible, the administration will work with faculty on enabling students to remotely satisfy outstanding class requirements with a laboratory component.
    • The option to pass/fail will be offered as a choice to students for all online courses. For courses taken on pass/fail during third term, grading scheme requirements will be waived for Core and option requirements.
    • Registration cards will temporarily be replaced with an online process through REGIS, and registration instructions will be sent to students and faculty.

Undergraduate Admissions

  • All admission-related campus visit activities have been suspended until further notice.

FAQ for Students

Caltech Accessibility Services for Students (CASS) will make every reasonable effort to provide academic adjustments and other reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified students with known disabilities, consistent with Caltech's obligations under applicable law; including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Please see the CASS website for further details.

Caltech faculty members have a doctorate degree, along with many years of professional academic experience, and therefore have earned the right to be addressed as "Dr." Last-Name. Other casual names, such as "dude" or addressing professors by their first name can be insulting to some. Some professors prefer to be addressed by their first names, just wait for them to tell you when that's okay. If you're ever unsure, using "professor" is always a safe bet.

Also, when writing to a professor it's always best practice to take the professional approach and tone and use "Dr." Last-Name or "Prof." Last-Name. (Using "hey" as a salutation is best for text to friends.) Use your Caltech email. If Dr. Last-Name isn't responding to your email, besides being very busy, it could be that they don't respond to unknown email addresses for official Caltech business. Don't forget to proofread and check for spelling errors, too. Building this habit now will help you in your future professional career.

At Caltech, cooperation and collaboration, rather than competition, are the keys to success. The community is shaped and guided by the Honor System, which has been a crucial component of the Institute since its earliest days. The system encompasses a variety of practices and behaviors, but finds its purest expression in the Honor Code:
"No member of the Caltech community shall take unfair advantage of any other member of the Caltech community."

For undergraduate students, please see the Dean of Undergraduate Students website.

For graduate students, please see the Dean of Graduate Studies website.

If you need help with your Caltech card (including reporting a lost, stolen, or damaged card or requesting a replacement card), please submit your request using the IMSS help system to make sure it's properly recorded and tracked. Go to help.caltech.edu to submit a request. Further instructions can be found here.

All student clubs are required to register for recognition by submitting a club application annually. After review and approval by the Clubs Steering Committee, the club will be recognized as an active club for the current club term. The club term is October 1 - September 30. Please see the Clubs webpage for further details.

See the Office of the Registrar's website for further details. Electronic transcripts may be ordered online at Transcript Ordering Center.

FAQ for Parents

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (also sometimes referred to as the Buckley Amendment), is a federal law regarding the privacy of student records and the obligations of the institution, primarily in the areas of release of the records and the access provided to these records. Any educational institution that receives funds under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education is bound by FERPA requirements. Institutions that fail to comply with FERPA may have funds administered by the Secretary of Education withheld.

According to FERPA, personally identifiable information in an education record may not be released without prior written consent from the student. Some examples of information that MAY NOT BE RELEASED without prior written consent of the student are:

  • birth date
  • religious affiliation
  • citizenship
  • disciplinary status
  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • grade point average (GPA)
  • marital status
  • SSN/student I.D.
  • grades/exam scores
  • test scores (e.g., SAT, GRE, etc.)
  • progress reports, e.g. STARS

The Institute will not release personally identifiable information from a student's education record without the student's prior written consent. Even parents are not permitted access to their son or daughter's education records unless the student has provided written authorization permitting the parents' access. Exceptions are noted in the Institute's policy (printed in the Caltech Catalog) concerning the privacy of student education records.

For more information, please see the Office of the Registrar's website.

The Caltech Parents Program is dedicated to helping parents become active members of the Caltech community. We encourage parents to help in our work by furthering the mission of Caltech – as volunteers and donors – to support and enhance the undergraduate and graduate student experience that is uniquely Caltech.

Stay informed on all things Caltech - student life, athletics, scientific breakthroughs and much more! For more information please see the Caltech Parents website.