Frequently Asked Questions
We are here to answer any questions you have. Please be sure to review our frequently asked questions and answers below for additional details. We cover topics such as:
- Why Choose Biola?
- Access to Campus
- Freshmen and Incoming Students
- Student Jobs
- Student Life
- Student Support
- Gap Year/Withdrawing
- Academic Calendar/Events
Why Choose Biola?
Why choose Biola fully remote over another school?
Like our students, we are disappointed to not be in-person on campus together this fall. However, we are ready to welcome students to a new digital experience of a Biola education. The core strengths of Biola’s excellent education will be available in new ways as we provide the same services students enjoy on campus in a new format: Biola at Home.
Biola at Home will be a community virtual experience, together. Students will still benefit from Biola’s academically excellent, biblically centered education from their own homes. The faculty interaction, small class sizes and faith integration that make a Biola education distinct will still be available to students virtually.
How will Biola provide community if we’re remote?
Community is comprised of people who connect whether in-person, over the phone, virtually or online. Now more than ever we understand the importance of human connection and community. People are actively connecting with others in new and innovative ways. Being remote in the fall is not going to stop connection from occurring between friends, classmates, professors, staff, etc. We need each other and we will be with each other virtually.
Virtual communities are wonderful because they level space and time. It is possible to connect with individuals across time zones. You can connect to individuals on the other side of the world and learn more about their world and families. This is an opportunity to be a part of each other’s worlds, virtually. Just because most of Biola will be connecting virtually in the fall doesn't mean that we can’t and won’t create deep connections with other people within the Biola community. Biola will help foster community through virtual events and creative online interactions.
What incentives are there to do Biola remotely?
Beyond the normal benefits of a Biola education, students who enroll and attend Biola full-time or part-time in the fall will receive a COVID-19 Tuition Relief Grant. The grant cannot be transferred to the spring semester.
Does Biola have to follow state and county guidelines?
The university is required to comply with state and county orders. Violation of or failure to comply with an order could result in a fine assessed against the university. State and county guidelines are recommended actions to take. The university seeks to follow and implement state and county guidelines unless it has been determined that the guideline is not applicable.
The expectation was that the county and state would present to all higher education institutions the guidelines we needed to abide by to open. Neither the state nor the county has released those guidelines. Without those guidelines, Biola does not necessarily have the green light to open. For that reason, Biola’s leadership decided to announce a remote fall semester. If the state or county releases guidelines in the coming days, weeks or months, Biola will reassess how and when students will be welcomed back on campus.
What number should students or families call if they have questions about Biola’s changes to the fall semester?
Students and families are encouraged to call the main Biola line at 562-903-6000 and they will be directed to the fall support team, who can help serve them. The support team will answer as many questions as they are able and will transfer students or families to other Biola teams if they are unable to answer a specific question.
What is the value of a remote Biola education versus taking remote or online courses at a community college?
The value of a remote Biola education in comparison to a community college mirrors the original reasons a student chooses to attend Biola in the first place. Through Biola at Home this fall, students will have the same access and opportunity to connect with faculty on a personal level, learn alongside fellow believers, experience their discipline integrated with their faith and be prepared to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ through their life and career.
Biola’s biblically centered and academically excellent education will not be compromised through remote learning this fall. Significant aspects of Biola — such as smaller class sizes, faculty who are leaders in their disciplines, and the opportunity for students to grow in their spiritual journey whether through class, chapel or mentorship — are still available to students. During this global crisis, the Biola community will continue to be available for our students, just in a different way. The faith community that Biola provides does not just exist in person — it exists and will continue because of the faculty, staff and students who make up Biola.
How will online learning/courses be different this fall than the experience in the spring? How are faculty preparing to move their classes to remote/online?
We are deeply committed to delivering excellence in education, grounded in biblical truth. Biola’s learning experience will differ greatly from the spring. We have been preparing our courses for online and remote delivery throughout the summer months. Technology has been added across the university that will allow for better live streaming of class lectures and the ability to enhance academic dialogue in the virtual classroom.
Students will be able to access Biola’s unique brand of biblically centered education in a new robust format expertly crafted by faculty. Academic deans will be working with full-time faculty and adjunct professors from their schools to ensure that those who are new to teaching online complete new training to ensure a high-quality delivery of education.
How is Biola ensuring a great learning experience for students?
Students will be given multiple opportunities throughout the fall semester to evaluate their remote learning experience in order to provide feedback so that faculty can make necessary adjustments to their students’ experience.
Will Biola reopen campus during the fall semester if circumstances change?
When granted reopening permissions by government guidelines — and consistent with Biola’s high level of educational and safety standards — we will reassess when and how to welcome students to return for on-campus learning and living in the fall semester.
However, we will not reopen our campus for on-campus learning and living if this occurs after October 1.
If a student gets sick (COVID, etc.), do they need to drop out of Biola or take an incomplete?
The Health Center in partnership with the Learning Center will work with students who get sick to create an academic plan that is in the best interest for the student.
What resources/staff/faculty/offices/services will be available for students?
All resources will continue to be available to students in a remote format. Biola students will have more access to student services than ever before due to the flexibility remote learning provides. Increased availability of counselors and advisers will ensure all students can access all the resources Biola provides to students.
Will credit/no-credit coursework be allowed?
Credit/no-credit coursework has limited benefit to our students. In the spring, this option was available because our students had to pivot quickly. The adjustment to grading was in an effort to assist students who suffered academically due to the sudden change. In the fall semester, courses were designed with a remote learning option so that students will know what is expected of them in the new learning environment from the beginning of the semester.
Will my class schedule change?
Class schedules will primarily remain the same with most courses taught live remotely with the highest possible instructional quality and student experience. Faculty will make accommodations for students in different time zones that make it difficult for their students to attend the class at the scheduled time.
How will this impact students who are planning to graduate in the fall, but the courses they need to take are not available remotely?
We are working to identify which courses will not be available remotely and how it will impact our graduating seniors. We will work with them to adjust their schedules.
Who should students contact about schedule changes depending on the new criteria or availability of courses? Faculty or other advisor?
Incoming traditional undergraduate students should contact Academic Advising.
How will this impact students in applied majors that are not allowed to be on campus?
Information is forthcoming by July 30. Personalized communication will be sent to students impacted by classes that are not available remotely in the fall.
What is the criteria for students who will be allowed to continue to study on campus?
Current government guidelines allow for limited exemptions to be on campus beginning the fall semester, based on students who are being educated to support the essential healthcare infrastructure. There might be other programs that apply to this criteria. However, we have received confirmation and are confident that clinical nursing and psychology doctoral students qualify for this exemption.
There will be 114 students from both the clinical nursing and doctoral psychology programs who will be allowed to take classes on campus in the fall semester. We are still waiting for further guidance as to whether students with extenuating circumstances who are not already living on campus will also be part of the exemption. Students in the master’s in marriage and family therapy degree are not included in the exemption.
Can students who are allowed to study on campus “opt out” and attend classes remotely?
A student who wants to opt out of on-campus classes should connect with their academic advisor to pursue alternative class options. Labs, practicums and courses with in-class instruction were deemed essential and will not necessarily be provided remotely.
Accommodations can possibly be made for students who need to take a class remotely due to health conditions or not being able to return to the United States (e.g. international students). Accommodations will also be made for students with diagnosed conditions that put them at high risk and prevent them from being able to be physically present. Students who want to request for an accommodation due to health conditions should contact the Learning Center.
GRADUATE PROGRAMS: Will any graduate programs be on campus?
One graduate program that falls under the special exemptions will be on campus: the psychology doctoral program. All other graduate programs will be taught remotely. The deans from the graduate programs are confident that graduate education will not be compromised during the remote learning experience.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: Will going remote affect my international student visa status?
If you are currently in the United States and were in active SEVIS status as of March 9, 2020 the transition to remote learning for the fall semester will not impact your visa status. You may maintain a fully active/legal status in the United States by enrolling in full-time load of online/remote courses.
If you are a new international student currently outside of the United States, you may defer your initial on-campus start date to January 11, 2021 and can begin your fall semester studies online outside of the United States.
Access to Campus
Will students have a choice in being on campus? Is there an option to request a waiver to be on campus?
Only a limited number of students who fall within the government guidelines based on the special nature of their program are eligible to live on campus. Additionally, we are waiting for further guidance as to whether students with extenuating circumstances who are not already living on campus will be able to apply for on-campus housing. For instance, those without a home or with housing insecurities, former foster youth students and global students here in the U.S. studying at Biola with no other place to live are advised to contact Biola’s housing office to inform them of your extenuating circumstances.
How do students access and retrieve their cars and bikes which have been left on campus since as early as March?
Students who left their cars and bikes on campus should coordinate with Campus Safety regarding their visit and retrieval.
Freshmen and Incoming Students
What will student orientation look like this fall for those students who will be taking all their classes remotely?
New Student Orientation has already been adapted to take place primarily online, via a series of interactive and self-paced Canvas modules. These modules have been carefully crafted to be both informative and engaging, and they address everything students need to know and do in order to successfully transition into life at Biola. In addition, we are planning a few community events as well as fun interactive connection points for remote participation scheduled for August 29. More details will be available soon on the New Student Orientation website.
I’m a new incoming student. What can I expect in terms of support this semester?
We are making plans to provide each incoming undergraduate student with opportunities for individualized coaching and peer mentoring. You will also have an assigned faculty/staff advisor and have continued opportunities for faculty mentoring and community engagement.
Will Biola still offer campus employment for the fall semester? Will they be on-campus or remotely?
There will be student jobs remotely available for the fall semester. If you have already been hired for the fall semester, connect with your supervisor. We are currently working on a way for out of state students to be able to work for Biola remotely. We will have more details by Aug. 10. Student employment positions are posted on Handshake. Please contact Human Resources if you have any questions.
Will tuition be reduced for fall 2020? If so, how will it impact financial aid?
We know how difficult COVID-19 has been for so many. Some students have not been able to work this summer, or their families had to tighten their belts financially, or it’s just been a long season of hardships. To help a bit with these challenges, we are providing our students with a relief grant (with some exceptions for those students whose tuition is already covered or will be fully covered by institutional aid and/or other tuition-based scholarships). Biola is offering a COVID-19 Tuition Relief Grant to students regardless of FAFSA filing. Full-time traditional undergraduate students will receive a $2,000 grant. There will be some exceptions for students already receiving full scholarships or tuition waivers or those who, by receiving the grant, would receive aid over the cost of tuition. Also, if students take less than a full-time load they will receive a prorated grant..
Full-time graduate students at the master’s level will receive a $450 grant, and doctoral students will receive a $300 grant. If graduate students are taking less than a full-time load (9 credits for master’s and 6 credits for doctoral), they’ll receive a prorated amount.
Similarly, fully online bachelor’s students will receive a grant of $450 based on a full-time load (12 credits). If students take less than 12 credits, their grant will be prorated.
In most cases, the COVID-19 Tuition Relief grant will be in addition to the financial aid package students have received. They don’t have to pay this back. It’s not a loan. And students will not lose the grant if they come back to campus. It’s meant to be a way of encouraging students, and standing with them in the hardships the pandemic has caused.
Information on the COVID-19 Tuition Relief Grant can be found on Biola’s website. Student accounts will be updated within 7-14 days to reflect the Biola Covid-19 relief grant. If your total institutional aid for the fall exceeds your institutional charges, institutional aid may be reduced. If you are receiving military benefits, this may impact your eligibility for some of those benefits.
|Program||Full-Time Grant Amount for Fall Semester|
Will the Biola COVID-19 Tuition Relief Grant affect my eligibility for Pell or Cal Grant?
The relief grant can be added to your existing aid. Because other types of aid such as federal aid must be reviewed during this process, there may be a period of time when the aid reflected on your student account is not accurate. If your aid does not appear to be accurate, please check your account again after you receive notification that your aid has been adjusted.
There may be adjustments to some student’s federal loan eligibility and/or Federal Work Study eligibility after the grant is added. These adjustments will be made in accordance with federal rules. If your total institutional aid for the fall exceeds your institutional charges, institutional aid may be reduced. If you are receiving military benefits, this may impact your eligibility for some of those benefits. The Office of Financial Aid plans to have all adjustments completed by August 12.
Will there be other institutional grants or aid for students who are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19?
Yes. Any student can apply for additional aid for traditional undergraduate students from the Hope in Crisis Fund, which was funded by Biola’s donors. Students can apply by completing the COVID-19 Financial Impact Questionnaire.
Funds are limited, therefore students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. There is some discretionary aid for graduate students and online bachelor’s students. Students are encouraged to connect with financial aid to discuss their options.
Will students still have the opportunity to participate in activities normally offered on campus?
Student Development staff and student leaders are working together to adapt many of our in-person events to be held online. We are also creating new online and remote interactive opportunities to support student community building and sense of belonging. Events will include chapels, student-led club activities, new remote fitness and esports competitions, small groups based on shared interest and identity, and other engaging opportunities.
Will chapels be required during the fall semester? How will students participate in chapels remotely during the fall semester?
Chapels and pastoral care will continue during the fall semester as they have for 112 years, just in a new format. This summer, Biola’s Spiritual Development teams have been refining capabilities to deliver chapels remotely by engaging more than 200 students in a series of online pilot chapels, looping their feedback into improvements. Weekly chapels have always been a central part of Biola University’s education and community life and that won’t change in the fall. We will offer various online chapels through Canvas, and they will be available for limited periods of time.
In sensitivity to “Zoom fatigue,” each student will be provided 6 extra credits. In other words, full-time students will need to attend 14 chapels, which averages to one per week. The conference credit requirement will be waived for this semester, and Torrey Conference programming will be integrated into chapel offerings.
Pastoral care has always been available to Biola students as they identify the particular ways God is inviting them to cooperate with him in their growth, maturity, and intimacy with him. Appointments for pastoral care will continue to be available online and staff will be ready to serve students remotely.
What will “community” look like for the select students who are living on campus? Chapel?
Students living on campus will be invited to participate in all online and remote programming being planned for the entire student population. In addition, we will provide a few socially distanced in-person connection points for on campus students to meet and interact with Student Development staff and each other. More information to come.
What services will be available at the Health Center this fall?
We will still be open for our regular services to students who are local. We will also have virtual drop-in appointments with behavioral health consultants (mental health), psychiatry telehealth and a flu vaccine clinic.
In regards to COVID-19 testing and tracing, how will people be notified of someone who is infected?
Close contacts of students who are positive for COVID-19 will be notified of potential exposure as well as further medical and quarantine instructions, by the Student Health Center. Notification processes are confidential and the name of the COVID-19 case will not be disclosed. Enrolled students can access the Student Health Center for evaluation, testing, and treatment over the course of the semester.
Will students learning and living on campus be expected to have their temperature checked?
Temperature checks may be initiated in strategic campus locations. It will be important to have collective cooperation with the following preventative measures to keep our campus safe:
- Stay home when you are sick, do not go to class or work
- Routinely wash your hands
- Keep physical distancing of at least 6 feet between yourself and others
- Wear a cloth face covering while out and about on campus
- Routinely sanitize high touch surface areas in your living quarters
Please be mindful of these practices when you are off campus as well.
Will students be able to live on-campus for the fall semester? Some students don’t have an alternative place to live.
Biola will not be able to offer housing to students this fall for students who do not qualify for an exemption. We are still waiting for further guidance on whether or not students who have special circumstances and need to live on campus (such as international students who are not able to return home, students who are homeless, foster care or those who have a troublesome home environment) can apply to live on campus.
Housing & Residence Life staff are working in tandem with Student Development to create ways for students to engage across the Biola community — whether through their hall communities, small groups, or other ways of engaging, actively creating ways for hall communities to stay connected and build community despite not living on campus.
Will students receive a refund on housing deposits?
Housing deposits will be credited back to students’ accounts for the fall semester.
For those who are allowed to live on campus, will they live with roommates or in certain buildings?
Students allowed to live on campus will live in single rooms, without roommates. Residential students will live in suite-style buildings, in order to allow for maximum social distancing.
If I am not allowed to live on campus in the fall and Biola opens the campus to all students in the spring, will I retain my current assignment?
Housing & Residence Life will honor fall assignments for any students who choose to live on campus in the spring, should Biola reopen. Students will need to re-apply for housing and resubmit their deposit, but once done Housing & Residence Life will do their best to place students in their original assignment; roommate changes could impact the ability to do so.
Will students who are allowed to live on campus still be expected to opt-in to a meal plan?
Yes, students living on campus will be required to have the minimum meal plan of 10 meals a week.
What services will be available in this remote learning format?
All student services will be available virtually for students by phone or video conference. Information for how to access each of these services will be made available in the coming weeks. Campus offices such as the Career Center, Registrar’s Office, the Learning Center, the Rhetoric & Writing Center, and the Advising Center will still be available to connect with students remotely.
Biola is committed to providing opportunities for connection and involvement, health and well-being, cultural humility, spiritual development and preparation for life after Biola. Biola is also launching a brand new university mobile app to enhance and support student’s experience at Biola. Students are highly encouraged to engage in academic support during this season (e.g., Learning Center, Rhetoric & Writing Center, Academic Advising, Math Lab).
Will Biola provide any support for students who don’t have access to computers/laptops or internet access in order to take their classes remotely?
IT has laptops available to loan for the fall semester. Please view IT’s information page on services available to students such as how to borrow a computer for remote learning, accessing software and virtual computer labs, and where to find free internet options. IT hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To receive technical assistance from Tech Commons, consider calling us at 562-903-4740 or schedule a remote Zoom session.
What happens to college sports for the fall semester?
Due to the concerns arising from all the challenges surrounding COVID-19, the PacWest Executive Board voted unanimously Thursday, July 23, to postpone intercollegiate competition in PacWest fall sports until after January 1, 2021.
PacWest fall sports include men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. The action was taken due to rapidly changing information and guidelines from the NCAA, as well as the states, counties, and areas where the 11 PacWest institutions compete.
A decision on the start of the 2020–21 winter sports season, as well as the non-championship segments of spring sports, is expected to be made by October 1.
Biola Athletics will host a virtual town hall with President Barry Corey, Vice President for Student Development Andre Stephens, Senior Director of Athletics Bethany Miller and the rest of the Athletics Leadership Team for student-athletes, families and supporters on our YouTube channel at 6 p.m. August 5. All student-athletes will receive communication with more information on the town hall and a link to a survey to submit questions prior to the livestream for our panel to answer live.
Will the postponement of fall sports affect athletes’ scholarships or eligibility?
- If we are not able to hold in-person athletic practices or competitions during the fall 2020 semester, Biola will honor confirmed athletic aid assuming the student maintains full-time enrollment in addition to the other non-athletic stipulations in their athletic aid agreement.
- Student-athletes who choose to withdraw from the institution for the fall 2020 semester will have their full athletic aid for the 2020–21 year canceled. Should they desire to return in spring 2021, or later, we cannot guarantee that they will receive a roster spot or any athletic aid. The reason for this is we cannot be sure that a student-athlete will return and we need to ensure the roster spots on our teams are filled. If a spot opens up, our coaching staff will be actively seeking to fill that spot and we cannot hold spots for those who withdraw from Biola during the fall 2020 term.
- Should we be able to practice and/or compete in the fall, a student-athlete who has a documented COVID-19 reason to not participate in athletics (an underlying health condition that puts them at high-risk, lives with an at-risk individual, etc.) may submit their documentation and a request to withhold themself from participating with their team and still retain their athletic aid. Requests will be reviewed and approved or denied by the Athletic Leadership Team in consultation with any applicable institutional offices (Legal, Health Center, Financial Aid_.
Will athletes get to play an extra semester/year?
All sports are still expected to compete in the 2020-21 academic year. As such, the NCAA has released the following guidelines regarding the potential for season-of-competition waivers and extension-of-eligibility waivers.
- As of today, the only new legislation released by the NCAA regarding 2020-21 eligibility is the ruling that if a team is unable to complete 50 percent of its NEW maximum contest requirements, then student-athletes on that team will be eligible for season-of-competition waivers. See more information on page 3 of this document.
- Any fall sport student-athlete who's tenth semester is fall 2020 should reach out to the Office of Compliance in regards to an individual extension of eligibility waiver since competition has been moved to spring 2021.
Can I take a gap semester? Will I need to reapply or re-enroll for the spring?
If any student wants to take a gap year as a result of being remote in the fall, we will honor their academic scholarship and preserve their semester-based financial aid package for their return to Biola in accordance with normal state, federal and institutional financial aid policies, including but not limited to the calculation of need-based aid.
However, each academic program has distinct requirements and protocols, so students will need to consult with their admissions counselor (incoming students) or academic advisor (continuing students) to receive the most accurate information about holding a student’s spot in a given program. Continuing students who take a gap semester must officially withdraw from the university and complete the readmission process. Incoming students should inform their admissions counselor if they plan to enroll in a later semester.
Would this change the academic calendar?
The academic calendar will shift to a 15-week semester starting on August 31 and conclude December 11.
What are the plans for the spring 2021 semester?
A decision has not yet been made regarding the spring semester. We will continue to monitor the pandemic and will communicate with our students regarding spring semester prior to class registration.
What will campus events look like in the fall?
All on-campus fall events will either be postponed or adapted for an online experience. Student Development staff and student leaders are also working together to create new online events to promote student community building and sense of belonging in a remote environment. Events will include chapels, student-led club activities, new remote fitness and esports competitions, small groups opportunities based on shared interest and identity, and other engaging opportunities.