Important Update for ’20-21 Academic Year

Dear Students and Families,

Thank you for your patience and for your investment in this college and this community as we move through an incredible time in higher education and in the history of IC. Though there are undeniably some very real challenges around the start of our new academic year, we remain fully committed to our students and their families while balancing and mitigating the impact of this ever-shifting public health crisis on our IC family and our local communities. These are our twin priorities now, and they will continue to be our priorities as we navigate this uncertain time.

The value and excellence of an Ithaca College education continues to be of paramount importance to us, even in the midst of dramatic change and uncertainty. This is a moment that demands major institutional investments in public health and safety and in an IT infrastructure that maximizes and facilitates our students’ ability to access a quality academic experience, connect with one another and with faculty, staff, and mentors, and foster a sense of belonging in an unprecedented way. While these are unexpected, urgent, and necessary institutional pivots, we remain firm in our commitment to making an IC education accessible and affordable.

Last week, we shared a message with you around the college’s fall opening plans, which contained very specific information about our phased move-in and our health, safety, and prevention measures. We understand that this is a year like no other, and in light of the decisions being made in response to this public health crisis, we understand that some students and families may have questions about the cost of education for the ’20-21 academic year.

The following decisions have been made to prioritize the value and impact of our students’ IC experiences in academic year ’20-21.

Room and Board

Room and board charges will be reduced on most students’ bills for the fall. The amount reduced will be based upon each student's designated move-in week. Students who receive an exception to remain in campus housing beyond Thanksgiving will not receive a reduction.

For specific information about these reductions, see “How will the altered academic calendar affect room and board fees?” on the Financial Matters FAQ page.

It’s important to note that due to both the volatile nature of this public health crisis and our necessary commitment to academic continuity under all circumstances, the college will not be obligated to issue any partial refund or credit in the event of additional temporary closures, restrictions, and adjustments to the housing services schedule during academic year ’20-21.

Students will receive an addendum to their IC housing agreements and a COVID-19 acknowledgement that will reaffirm these changes.

Meal Plan

As we head into our second year as a college-operated dining program, we are fortunate to have the flexibility to change the campus meal plan in response to the challenges related to COVID-19. The goals of the Ithaca College meal plan for ’20-21 are to reduce costs, increase food security, and reduce density in the campus dining halls, while providing high quality meals.

For the coming academic year, all students who reside in non-apartment housing will continue to be required to participate in the meal plan, which has been reduced to a cost of $3,200/semester (a reduction of $234 from last year). The meal plan cost will be reduced at the same levels being used for room charges based on assigned move-in week.

Off-campus students and residents in the Garden and College Circle Apartments are not required to purchase a meal plan, but voluntary meal plan options will be available.

More information about dining services and meals plans can be found on this page.

On-Campus Residency Requirement

There are some students who will not be able to return to campus based on travel advisories or personal concerns. As such, we are waiving the on-campus residency requirement for the fall 2020 semester for students who attend classes fully online and remotely from their home communities. These students will not incur room and board charges for the fall 2020 semester.

Impact on Financial Aid

As part of our sincere commitment to affordability, Ithaca College will not proportionally reduce the amount of institutional aid offered to our students and their families to correlate with the significant reductions to the cost of attendance for the coming academic year. While there are circumstances that will legally require aid to be reduced, such as if a student’s aid package exceeds the cost of attendance, we know families are counting on this aid from the college and we stand by the institutional financial aid that has been awarded.

In addition, we will continue evaluating changes in family financial circumstances and awarding additional need-based financial aid for those who provide documentation of a significant increase in demonstrated need. Please see this pdf form for more information.

Three Academic Credits for No Additional Charge

As part of their ’20-21 tuition, every full-time, matriculated undergraduate student will have the opportunity to take up to 3 undergraduate credits in winter or summer term 2021 for no additional charge. While these courses normally require the payment of additional tuition, this coming academic year they will be included within the regular fall and spring semester tuition.

For specific information about what courses qualify, please visit our FAQ.

We’re pleased to share that this summer we saw a tremendous increase in enrollment in courses offered through the Office of Extended Studies, as our faculty members recognized student needs and offered twice as many courses, as well as courses most critical to helping students complete degree requirements. In addition, faculty developed a series of innovative one-credit courses for new students. We anticipate similar creativity and options for our undergraduate students in the winter and summer term 2021.

Next Steps

We want to remind all of our students that there is a virtual student gathering scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, July 23, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. (ET), where we will provide additional details and respond to questions about the information contained in this email, as well as last week’s email about our phased move-in and health and safety plans. To participate in the upcoming meeting please register here.

Additionally, all undergraduate students will be asked to complete a brief online questionnaire to gather more information about things like financial aid, academic engagement, and housing. The link to this survey will be sent by the registrar’s office by the end of the week, and we greatly appreciate your input as we continue to refine our plans for the coming academic year.

Please also stay tuned to the Return to Campus website for information regarding our plans for the fall, and particularly the “For Students” page, which has specific information about move-in, our academic calendar, and more details about what we shared in this email.

We continue to believe strongly in the transformative power of an Ithaca College education, and we thank you for being a part of this community and persevering with us through a very difficult time. We are proud of this college, and proud of our long history of innovation and progress in the face of adversity and challenge. This is a defining moment, and within it, we are grounded by our commitment to you—our students and families—as well as to the future of Ithaca College.


Shirley M. Collado

La Jerne Terry Cornish
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Guilherme Costa
Vice President and General Counsel

Odalys Diaz-Piñiero
Chief of Staff

Rosanna Ferro
Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Life

Bill Guerrero
Vice President for Finance and Administration

Hayley Harris
Vice President for Human Resources and Planning

Wendy Kobler
Vice President for Philanthropy and Engagement

Laurie Koehler
Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment Strategy