You are here: American University Coronavirus Community Resource Info for Admitted and Prospective Students

FAQ - New Students

Will in-person classes resume in the fall? When might the university know if classes are going to stay on-campus or be moved online?

American University will be open this fall, providing the high-quality, dynamic educational experience that is the foundation of our mission while taking all necessary steps to safeguard our community. We all want to return to our beloved campus, and we are exploring many scenarios involving in-person, online, and hybrid models. We will make a decision for the fall that is at the intersection of the best available information about health and safety and our ability to implement our work and educational pursuits at the highest level. Announcement of the fall plans will be made by mid-June.

I am still planning to come to DC to complete my degree. Can I begin my first semester courses online if no on-campus courses are being offered in the fall?

In the event that students cannot return to campus in the fall, most of the current fall course offerings would be available online so you could complete your first semester online and make timely progress toward your degree. We will continue to keep students informed of course offerings.

Can I begin the first semester of my program online even if AU is offering courses on-campus in the fall?

Taking courses online in the fall may or may not make sense for your degree if courses are already being offered on-campus. While we do offer online courses every semester, we would recommend that once you are enrolled, you should work with your academic adviser to figure out which courses could be used to fulfill your degree requirements.

Could I start out part-time?

Yes. Students for a wide range of reasons, separate from COVID-19, start out part-time. While part-time enrollment is a readily available option, going part-time may have ramifications for your financial aid/student loan/merit scholarships. Before making a final decision, we would urge you to speak to a member of the admissions team to discuss your options and understand any financial aid implications.

I have just received my bachelor’s degree from AU, could I still consider a bachelor’s/master’s program?

In rare cases, undergraduate students graduating in May 2020 may still be able to share credits as part of AU’s bachelors/master’s programs. However, there is an option to do a consecutive graduate program where you would be highly considered for a scholarship equivalent to the cost savings of the credit share.

I have just graduated with my bachelor’s degree in May. Could I begin a master’s program this fall?

Yes. We know that due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty of the job market, many graduating students are contemplating their post-graduation plans. If you feel a graduate program might be a better option for you at this time, we would be happy to discuss our programs with you. For more information visit The Office of Graduate Studies.

Will new student orientation be in-person or online?

To help our new students and families prepare for their AU experience in the fall, while at the same time addressing the challenges of COVID-19, this year’s new student orientation will be comprised of a 10-12 week interactive and engaging virtual experience beginning in mid-May and continuing through early August. Our virtual orientation offers access to university resources and departments, connects new students with orientation leaders, and creates opportunities to meet virtually with fellow new Eagles throughout the summer. Orientation fees are being waived and registration is now open. If you have any questions, please visit the orientation website or email

If classes go online for the fall semester, how does this impact financial aid packages?

Financial aid packages for AU students will not change due to the modality of course delivery.

Will students be allowed off-campus? What controls might be in place?

Students will be allowed to move around and expected to abide by the guidelines set by Reopen DC phases for permitted activities. Students will be made aware of safety expectations and guidelines via public health awareness campaigns. All members of the community including students on a frequent basis will be engaged in self-monitoring via a Platform managed by the university. In addition, all members of the AU community are required to wear face coverings at all times while on campus with the exception of inside residence hall rooms, alone in private offices, or outdoors in settings where they are able to maintain physical distance, and are expected to exercise personal health precautions through frequent hand washing, maintaining a distance of six feet between others, monitoring their own health daily, and seeking medical care if symptoms warrant. It is a shared responsibility for all members of the community to keep each other safe.

With limited activities on campus, how will AU build community?

We will offer a suite of curricular and co-curricular opportunities for students to enhance their career readiness and skill sets, connect to Washington, DC, and foster relationships and opportunities for shared experiences—a hallmark of an AU education. We will offer an on-campus residential experience to approximately 2,300 first year students and sophomore students living in single dorm rooms. We will augment our curricular offering with a suite of career readiness, lifelong, and self-care skill building workshops, courses, and guest speakers. These will [include new skill development programs over Fall Break (Oct 9-11)], featuring alumni, staff, faculty, and friends of the university to provide a wide range of perspectives and learning opportunities. We will leverage our partnership with Washington, DC to bring the full experience of the city to our community. This will take the form of community-based learning, including special topical events such as the 2020 US elections and research in the time of COVID-19.