Philly’s coronavirus response

Can first-year college students defer enrollment till things get more normal? Depends on the school

Maybe you’d rather just take a gap year.

Sculpture of the Temple mascot on its North Philly campus

Sculpture of the Temple mascot on its North Philly campus

Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital
michaelawinberg-square-crop-feb2018

Safe to say that during a global pandemic, it’s pretty much impossible to get what Americans have come to consider the quintessential college experience. Dorms are closed, students have left campus, classes shifted online, and graduation ceremonies went virtual.

Will that change by fall? Many Philly-area colleges and universities say they expect to get mostly back to normal by next semester, anticipating in-person classes and the reopening of dorm buildings.

Ultimately, the virus will decide whether Pennsylvania officials allow that to happen — but whether students want to return is a separate question.

Nationwide surveys show roughly one-third of students would rather defer their enrollment and wait until this is all over to start school. Some institutions make that easy, while others have a more complicated process. There are also varying policies about tuition deadlines and refunds.

What’s the situation for folks heading to a Philly college? Here’s a rundown of their plans.

Note: This guide was compiled using information gathered via university spokespersons, websites and other available documentation. If no info was available or we got no response to inquiries, we’ve noted that below.

Penn 🎩

Plan for fall 2020: Penn is still exploring a few different plans for the fall semester. Ideas on the table include a fully online semester, a shortened in-person one, or a hybrid of the two.

Deferment policy: Gap year requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If you take other classes during your time off, the credits won’t transfer to Penn.

Deferral deadline: June 5

Temple 🦉

Current plan for fall 2020: Temple hasn’t announced a plan yet. The school says it’s currently exploring “de-densifying” residence halls.

Deferment policy: Students can defer admission for a variety of reasons, so long as you don’t take classes anywhere else or hold a spot at another university.

Deferral deadline: Aug. 1

Drexel 🐉

Current plan for fall 2020: Drexel hasn’t made the call on fall semester yet, but school officials say they expect to release more info by the end of May.

Deferment policy: Students can defer admission under extenuating circumstances, reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Deferral deadline: Sept. 1

CCP 🦁

Current plan for fall 2020: CCP announced this week that all classes will be online this coming semester, except certain labs that must be conducted in person.

Deferment policy: CCP students can postpone their admission, no questions asked — but if you’re in health sciences programs then you might lose your spot and have to reapply.

Deferral deadline: Before the first day of classes on Sept. 8

USciences 😈

Current plan for fall 2020: USciences says it’s “optimistic” students will be able to return to in-person classes this fall.

Deferment policy: Gap year requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Deferral deadline: Preferably at least two weeks before the semester starts on Aug. 31 — but will also evaluate later requests on an individual basis.

Jefferson 🐏

Current plan for fall 2020: Jefferson expects to resume in-person classes and operations this fall.

Deferment policy: You can apply for a gap year, and the admissions department will review requests on a case-by-case basis.

Deferral deadline: Until the first day of the semester, Aug. 17

UArts 🦄

Current plan for fall 2020: UArts says their goal is to host in-person classes this fall.

Deferment policy: N/A

Deferral deadline: N/A

Moore 🖼️

Current plan for fall 2020: Moore’s planning for a return to in-person operations this fall

Deferment policy: The school is still debating whether students will be allowed to defer admission

Deferral deadline: Still unclear — but the deadline to submit your deposit to enroll is still June 1

St. Joe’s 🦅

Current plan for fall 2020: St. Joe’s says it’s preparing for an in-person semester with open dorms.

Deferment policy: You can defer enrollment as long as you don’t take classes somewhere else in the meantime.

Deferral deadline: Any time before the start of the semester on Aug. 24

Holy Family 🐯

Current plan for fall 2020: Holy Family is still evaluating a few different strategies for reopening

Deferment policy: N/A

Deferral deadline: N/A

Arcadia ⚔️

Current plan for fall 2020: Arcadia’s plans aren’t finalized yet — but a spokesperson said no matter what, students will not be required to take in-person classes

Deferment policy: Deferment requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis

Deferral deadline: None

Swarthmore 🦜

Current plan for fall 2020: Swarthmore hasn’t made a final decision on what the fall semester will look like — but officials expect to release something within a few weeks.

Deferment policy: You can apply in writing to the dean of admissions if you want to defer…

Deferral deadline: …But the deadline already passed. Students had to have submitted their requests by May 1.

Haverford 🐿️

Current plan for fall 2020: Haverford is expecting a return to on-campus learning for the fall semester. If that changes, admin officials say they’ll let students know by Aug. 1.

Deferment policy: Students can request a gap year, but the deadline for fall 2020 has already passed. It’s unclear if there will be an extension due to the coronavirus.

Deferral deadline: May 1

Bryn Mawr 🦉

Current plan for fall 2020: No decisions yet on what fall 2020 will look like at Bryn Mawr

Deferment policy: If you want to defer enrollment, you can request it via an online form — but the school will keep your $500 deposit for 2020, and you’ll have to pay the 2021 deposit in advance.

Deferral deadline: July 15

Villanova 🐆

Current plan for fall 2020: Villanova is planning for in-person classes and open dorms.

Deferment policy: The school will review requests to defer admissions under extenuating circumstances — but they have to be for the entire academic year.

Deferral deadline: July 1

Cheney 🐺

Current plan for fall 2020: Cheyney says it’s still evaluating options for reopening in the fall.

Deferment policy: You can’t defer admission to Cheyney. You’ll have to reapply for another semester.

Deferral deadline: N/A

Lincoln 🦁

Current plan for fall 2020: Bring students back to campus for in-person classes next semester.

Deferment policy: You can defer your Lincoln enrollment — just put the request in writing and email, fax or mail it to the admissions office.

Deferral deadline: None specified