Frequently asked questions about Transylvania’s response to COVID-19

This information is current at of 10 a.m., May 8, 2020.

Academics // Admission // Athletics // Events // Federal Assistance // Residence Life // University Employees

At Transylvania, the health and well-being of our campus community is our highest priority. As the nation is practicing social distancing to help slow the spread of COVID-19, Transylvania has moved its classes online and canceled most on-campus events until further notice.

Our administration is meeting regularly to monitor developments, and we are issuing updates related to this health situation. We will also continue to update this FAQ page, so please check back frequently as we continue to respond to COVID-19.


Will students be able to return to classes at Transylvania this August?

It is our sincere intention to deliver our traditional, on-campus experience this fall and resume the individualized, personal instruction for which Transylvania has been known for 240 years. Ultimately, we will structure educational activities to ensure the healthiest environment that we can provide, and this could involve a combination of both remote and on-campus options.

On May 8, Transylvania announced a move to a module-based academic calendar for 2020-21 to remain nimble and adaptive while sustaining the quality and accessibility of its academic programs and student support services. The university also identified three scenarios for reopening in August. 

The 2020-21 academic year will be structured in six modules. First-year students will participate in Module 1, a one-week First Engagements seminar. In Modules 2-5, most students will take two courses over seven weeks. Transylvania’s traditional four-week May term is Module 6. First Engagements will begin Aug. 24, and Module 2 will begin Aug. 31. There will be breaks at the conclusion of Modules 2-5 before the next courses begin. Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 29, 2021.

What’s happening with May term?

Because May term classes are unique and provide highly interactive learning, offering them online is challenging. We have made the decision to prioritize graduating seniors this May term and offer online instruction to those seniors who require credits to graduate in May 2020.  Once those seniors and courses have been identified, we will open up the available May term courses to other seniors who wish to participate in online instruction, including December 2020 graduates.

Our Pioneer Pledge guarantees graduation in four years, and we will honor this pledge to our students. As a result, all current first-year students, sophomores and juniors are approved for a waiver for a one course unit overload in the future at no additional cost. Additional information on May term courses available for seniors requiring credits will be provided directly to those students in the near future. 

What about summer travel courses?

International travel is suspended, effective immediately. This includes international sites for all May term trips and Transy-operated study abroad programs this summer in Ireland and Slovakia. Non-essential domestic business travel is also suspended. The Office of Global and Intercultural Education is working directly with students enrolled in these courses and programs to provide additional information. 

When is registration for fall 2020?

Fall 2020 Registration has been rescheduled for a later date. Please see the interim president’s May 1 message for additional details.

Will there be grading options available to students because classes are remote?

We have anticipated the need for allowing flexibility with regard to the grading policy for the winter and May 2020 terms. After consulting with the Faculty Concerns Committee and the Committee on Program and Curriculum, we have made the decision to allow students to convert any of their courses to Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) grading after they have received the grade.  

All faculty will assign letter grades as usual for the winter and May 2020 terms.  Within two weeks of receiving their grades for the term (Friday, May 15, for winter 2020 term and Tuesday, June 9, for May 2020 term), students will have the option to retain the grade or opt to go to CR/NC grading for each course. See the email from the Academic Dean’s Office on March 24 for more details.

Is tutoring still available?

Yes! Tutoring services resumed on Wednesday, March 25th. All tutoring will be virtual at this time but we will be maintaining the same schedule (with some additional hours). To sign up for tutoring, students should visit the Learning Services website:  Tutoring Information   There they will see instructions to make an appointment on WC Online (the same process they usually follow). Once an appointment has been made, the tutor will reach out to the student directly with a Google Meet code so they can meet via video chat.  


Can I visit campus right now? 

While we have suspended in-person campus visits, our admissions counselors are available by email, and phone calls with them can also be arranged. Find your admissions counselor on our website, and feel free to contact them with any questions you might have about your application, financial aid packages, deposit extensions or anything else that’s on your mind about choosing Transylvania. They’re here to help guide you through this crucial time in your search, even if you can’t meet in person.

We also have a brand new video tour option, so you can browse our campus for yourself. It features an interactive campus map, as well as interviews with current students, faculty and staff about all of the opportunities Transy has to offer. 

Are admitted student events happening?

We know that the college search doesn’t just end when classes get moved online, so we are offering several ways for you to continue to learn how Transy can be a life-changing college experience. Visit our virtual experiences web page for details and then reach out to your admissions counselor to connect on your next steps on becoming a Pioneer.


What is happening with Transy athletics?

Transylvania has suspended all spring athletic activities indefinitely. Please follow and @TransySports on Twitter for the latest updates regarding our athletic programs and events.


Is Commencement still scheduled for May 23?

Transylvania University has postponed its May 23 commencement ceremony to minimize the potential for community spread of the COVID-19 virus.  The school plans to honor its graduating students, who are wrapping up their senior year with remote learning, during an in-person ceremony later on a date to be determined and through several virtual events in May.

Candidates who have completed all degree requirements, however, will receive their degree posted as of May 23, 2020, so they might progress to graduate or professional school or employment.

How do I participate in the virtual celebration?

Seniors received an email from Marching Orders with instructions on how to upload photos and information to the virtual celebration site. The deadline to submit photos is May 10.

Seniors are also asked send us a video for our May 23 virtual commencement celebration. Grab your cellphone (record in landscape/horizontal orientation) and tell us what your time at Transy has meant to you, what you’ll miss the most — or any messages you might have for your Class of 2020.  Submit your recording  by Saturday, May 9.

What events are still happening at Transylvania?

On campus events have been rescheduled or canceled until further notice.

Federal Assistance

Will work study students be paid?

On Mar. 16, we issued guidance to our federal work study students letting them know they will continue to receive their wages while away from campus. All students participating in the program were emailed directly. If you have any questions or did not receive an email, please contact Financial Aid at

Did Transylvania receive CARES Act funding and what was done with it?

Transylvania University received emergency funds as a result of the recently approved Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Act provides federal aid to institutions of higher education to help students cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 through emergency grants. 

Following the initial distribution of funds to eligible full-time students on April 24, individual students with more significant needs will be able to apply for additional funding in accordance with the guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Education using the university’s online emergency grant application.

Residence Life

Can I return to my residence hall while classes are online?

Students were asked to return to their permanent residences by Tuesday, March 24, unless they received approval to remain on campus. Requests to remain in campus housing through May Term and over the summer will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

University Employees

Are staff and faculty on campus?

Transylvania is not closed, but in order to reduce the number of staff members on campus, Transylvania is encouraging as many employees as possible to work remotely or on rotational schedules. This workplace flexibility started on Monday, Mar. 16.