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COVID-19 Update

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Table of Contents

Federal CARES Act at MassArt

    • A.The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide money to colleges to use for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic.
    • A. MassArt applied for funding from the federal CARES Act and we received the funding from the U.S. Department of Education at the end of April. For those students whom we know are eligible, we anticipate that the grants will be disbursed mostly during May. Recipients will be notified via a message to their MassArt email account.
    • A.Students who meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid are eligible to receive the aid. The MassArt Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) is using the 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility. If you are enrolled for the Spring, have not withdrawn, need assistance and are eligible to file a FAFSA but have not yet filed one, please file a 2019-20 FAFSA at Filling Out the FAFSA by May 26th.

      Under U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, these funds can be awarded to undergraduate, graduate and certificate students pursuing degree and certificate programs at MassArt. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education does not allow these funds to be given to international students, undocumented students or non-matriculated students.

      For additional information, please go to CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

    • A: MassArt will use the CARES Act HEERF funds to provide a standard amount of relief to every eligible student. These funds are meant to help students pay expenses for technology, health care, child care, course materials, art supplies, rent, food, moving or other expenses incurred this term. If you have yet to experience financial stress due to COVID-19, these funds can help with unanticipated expenses or income loss that may occur throughout the spring term and into future terms.
    • A: Under U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, students who are not eligible for federal financial aid programs are not eligible for these federal grants. International students, undocumented students and non-matriculated students are not eligible for these funds. In addition, students who withdrew for the term are not eligible.

      If you are ineligible to receive funds under the CARES Act for any reason, please email We are an institution that values a just compassionate, and equitable learning environment for all students.
    • A. Right now, we are concentrating on spring term emergency aid and monitoring federal and state economic conditions, as well as the prospects for additional federal emergency funding for universities and students. We will continue to make emergency aid grants from CARES funds for individuals who submit the FAFSA and are determined to be eligible. We will decide later in the summer about remaining CARES funds we can use to support students in 2020-21. We will update these FAQs as we make later decisions on the use of these funds.
    • A. Each HEERF participating institution must post the following information on the institution’s primary website, in a format and location that is easily accessible to the public, 30 days after receiving the allocation, and updated every 45 days thereafter.

      1. Massachusetts College of Art and Design (known as MassArt hereafter) has signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students, and intends to use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants (known as CARES Act Grants hereafter) to students.
      2. MassArt will receive $755,133 from the Department of Education for CARES Act Grants to students.
      3. As of the date of this report, $564,400 in CARES Act Grants have been distributed to students.
      4. As of the date of this report, the estimated total number of students at MassArt eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive CARES Act Grants is 1,411.
      5. As of the date of this report, the total number of students who have received a CARES Act Grant is 1,411.
      6. Eligible students for CARES Act Grants at MassArt were determined to be students matriculated in an undergraduate, certificate, or graduate program (excepting graduate students enrolled in the MFA Low-Residency program) and were registered for at least 1 credit for the Spring 2020 term. Students must have a 2019-2020 FAFSA on file, which was reviewed by OSFA staff, and were determined to have met all TIV eligibility requirements. All eligible students received a CARES Act Grant of $400.
      7. Eligible students for CARES Act Grants at MassArt received the following email:

        Recently, MassArt was approved to receive funds from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). As a result of this funding, the College is providing every eligible student a grant of $400 to help with costs related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus in the spring 2020 term. Based on the regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education you have qualified for this grant, which the IRS has determined is not taxable income for 2020. Please see IRS announcement. These costs may include technology, course materials, rent and food (if you had to move off-campus), moving or other expenses incurred for the spring term.

        The grant is being paid to you by check through the U.S. mail (to the best address we have on file for you). If you do not receive the check within two weeks, feel free to contact Student Accounts at to determine the status of the payment.

        We fully understand that this may not come close to meeting all your unexpected expenses, but hope that it does help to mitigate some costs as a result of the pandemic. For more information, feel free to visit FAQs at the MassArt COVID-19 Update page.

Housing and Meal Plans

    • A. As long as the current guidelines about social distancing remain in place, there are only two types of students who may be granted an extension to this decision: our international students who are unable to return to their home countries because of the designation of Level 2 or Level 3 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and our domestic students with extenuating emergency circumstances. If you believe you fall within either of these categories, please fill out this form.
    • A. Students who remain on campus will have access to food takeout in accordance to the Mass Department of Public Health (DPH) directives issued earlier in the week. Food choices will be limited, but Chartwells will be open to provide meals to students still on campus. Beatty Hall Cafe at Wentworth will be open Monday-Friday 8AM -2PM. (Closed Saturday and Sunday). The C store will be open Monday-Friday 1PM-5PM, Saturday -Sunday 12PM-5PM. Pre-packaged food is being prepared daily.
    • A. No. Collins was slated to be closed this summer to allow new heating units to be installed. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, that plan will be reevaluated and updates communicated to the community.
    • A. If you have been directed to quarantine or ill, you Must Not come to campus under these circumstances. Your belongings are safe and secure until you are able to retrieve them. Once you have been cleared, please contact Housing and Residential Life and/or Academic Affairs regarding access to your room or studio.

Housing and Meal Plan Prorated Refunds for Spring Semester 2020

    • A. Yes. Students who are leaving campus will receive prorated adjustments; if these adjustments result in an overpayment, then the student will receive a refund. A separate email was sent to students in housing.
    • A. Yes. Students will receive a prorated adjustment for mandatory meal plans; if these adjustments result in an overpayment, then the student will receive a refund. A separate email was sent to students with balances on meal plans.
    • A. Students living in residence halls who move out completely will receive a prorated adjustment of their room and board costs for the semester. The credit will be applied to any outstanding balance owed; if the credit results in an overpayment on the account, then a refund will be issued.
    • A. No. Classes will continue to be held for the remainder of the semester, but in an online environment.
    • A. We are completing courses and granting credit, so we are not refunding tuition and fees. The cost of education at MassArt is the same as that of private art and design schools like RISD and Pratt, but as a state school, we charge considerably less. Tuition and fees cover about 46% of what it costs to provide our education, and the state and other sources cover the rest of our expenses. There are other costs, like facility improvements and emergency repairs, that are further supplemented by the state. We are refunding prorated amounts of residence hall costs to residential students and also refunding unused dining credits, though we have no guarantee that the state will reimburse us for the housing/dining refunds we’re providing.

Remote Learning

    • A. In consideration of the national health emergency affecting all universities and colleges in the U.S., MassArt needs to temporarily adjust how it delivers educational content. MassArt is equipped and has strong quality standards in place to provide a very high-quality education through online platforms.
    • A. Online classes will start March 23rd. Faculty members have been working diligently to ensure quality instruction. Moving to online instruction was a difficult decision and we waited to see if any other options would be available, but the seriousness of this evolving health crisis gave us no choice. We know many of you are disappointed as we interrupt an essential element of learning at MassArt, the interactions that occur in our classrooms and studios. However, our first priority is to keep our community members safe. Each course will have its own unique adjustments to online delivery. If your instructor has not contacted you yet, they will shortly. The Association of International Colleges of Art and Design has been an important resource for all of the art and design schools as we all move to online instruction at this unprecedented moment.
    • A. Yes.
    • A. Classes will be online for the rest of the spring semester.
    • A. Each class will address this requirement in their revised class plan.
    • A. Governor Baker has issued an order that all non-essential business must close from noon March 24th until noon April 7th and that colleges and universities are considered essential and may remain open for the purposes of facilitating distance learning, provision of school meals, or performing other essential student support functions, if operating under rules for social distancing. MassArt must comply with the Governor’s Order and thus, we will not be able at this time to provide you access to the studios to retrieve your materials and art. Rest assured that these materials are secure and are not being required by faculty for the completion of your semester.
    • A. Your faculty will provide instructions. There are many resources and tools available to successfully share work and critique online.
    • A. No. The majority of classes will NOT be cancelled.
    • A. If your class was cancelled, the Business Office will be addressing these financial questions.
    • A. Yes.
    • A. All final grades will be Pass/No-Credit in every class, except for some Art Education classes.

Summer and Fall Registration

    • A. At this time, it is our intention to provide access to the facilities during the summer months. However, we do not know when the government will lift their restrictions and guidelines, so will need to wait to make a final decision.
    • A. Major's Registration will begin on Monday, April 6 and Open Registration for all students on Monday, April 13.
    • A. Registration will open for summer classes that have already been scheduled to be online on Friday, March 20. CE is determining with instructors what other courses can be moved online. Those courses will be added for registration on or around Tuesday, April 7.

Financial Issues

    • A. No. Financial Aid will not be impacted. For any financial aid-related questions, students should contact
    • A. No - the Senate and the House passed S.3503 which will give the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) the authority to continue GI Bill payments uninterrupted in the event of national emergencies. The new law allows for the VA to continue to pay benefits regardless of the fact that the program has changed from resident training to online training. Also, students will continue to receive the same monthly housing allowance payments that they received for resident training.
    • A. We are awaiting information from the MBTA to see if they are offering refunds for discounted student passes. We will be in contact with students who have purchased passes as soon as we have information.

Student Employment

    • A. Federal work-study may continue for the spring term. FWS students should be in touch with their supervisors about how much they may be able to earn. If you have questions about processing your FWS timesheet, feel free to email the Office of Student Financial Assistance at
    • A. Earnings may be paid depending upon the department. You should be in contact with your supervisor to determine what they may be able to pay.
    • A. Graduate assistants should contact their supervisors for further guidance.
    • A. If you have Direct Deposit, it will be deposited as normal. If you receive a paper check please email Valerie Gilliard for further details.

Life on Campus & Events

    • A. MassArt is not closed. MassArt staff are working remotely to offer services as usual, and may be reached Monday through Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm through their normal email addresses, available in the online Faculty and Staff directory.
    • A. The physical bookstore will be closed until further notice. The online bookstore is open.
    • A. All physical events on campus have been cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future. However, the MassArt MAC Board, Student Development Office, and Academic Affairs have created unique virtual events to keep the campus community connected. Please visit the MassArt Calendar to participate and learn more.
    • A. Local, state and federal restrictions will determine future guidelines for resuming standard operations.
    • A. Facilities staff uses an EPA-registered disinfectant to clean touchpoints, public and common area restrooms and other common areas. Students living in on-campus housing are expected to clean the private bathrooms in their residences.

      Facilities crews have also implemented extra measures to clean and disinfect surfaces in public areas that are touched frequently. This includes surfaces such as door handles, banisters, and elevator buttons. An increased cleaning of these “touch points” has been in place since October to reduce health risks during flu season. We have stepped up these preventative measures to further mitigate risks of the novel coronavirus. We will continue to monitor recommendations from the CDC for preventing the spread of the virus. Additional information is available on the Facilities wiki page.
    • A. Our cleaning measures have taken into account the presence of design and art works in campus areas. These works are treated with care and attention. We worked with studio managers in every department to identify “no clean zones,” where students’ works/materials might be at risk and/or technology/equipment might be damaged.

Academic Calendar, Commencement & Related Changes

    • Yes, please see below:
      • April 6 - Major Advising deadline extension
      • April 13 - General Registration deadline extension
      • May 18 - Last day of classes, extended by one week to make up for suspended instruction week March 16-20.This extension has been approved by the MSCA presidents.
      • May 20-29 - Virtual Reviews will be scheduled at each department’s discretion
      • June 5 - Grades due
    • A. For Spring Semester 2020 all grades will be pass/no credit except for some art education courses. Most universities around the country are moving to this grading system.
    • A. Online book titles for most courses will be free until the end of May 2020..
    • A. MassArt's annual Commencement ceremony was scheduled for May 22, 2020. We now know from the realities communicated by public health officials that we will have to reschedule Commencement from May 22 to a later date. While we are unsure at this moment of the precise timing, our seniors deserve to have their moment with their families, friends, and faculty - and with one another – to celebrate their accomplishments. We want to assure them along with the entire MassArt community, this will happen!

      Please visit for more information about a virtual celebration for the Class of 2020 and next year's ceremony.

Internships & Jobs

    • A. Wherever you are in your thoughts about employment or direction: looking for opportunities, a resume or cover letter critique, preparing for an interview or any questions about your next move, we are here to help. It’s easy to schedule a remote appointment with Career Development by accessing your Handshake account with your MassArt Net ID. Click on Career Center > Appointments.
    • A. Yes, your Career Development Handshake account is yours to access after you graduate. There is no time limit on how long you can access the listings or request assistance from Career Development.
    • A. Employers are still posting internships on Handshake. You may access your Handshake account with your MassArt Net ID. Many students also find internships outside of Handshake. You can look for opportunities on sites like LinkedIn and, talk with your faculty, fellow students and others in your personal network to find internships. To see where MassArt students have interned in the past see: Where MassArt Students Have Interned Before 2010-2020
    • A: Individual virtual appointments (video/audio or audio only) can be scheduled with Career Development by accessing your Handshake account with your MassArt Net ID. When you log in, click on Career Center > Appointments.
    • A: Yes, undergraduate students should register their internship for academic credit by the deadline which is Friday May 22 by 5pm. By registering your internship for credit using your Career Development Handshake account, you will automatically be on the list for consideration once your internship is approved by your academic department. Here you can find more information about the awards.
    • A. The May 22nd deadline is for the $2,000 Internship Award. After that date, you should still register your internship for academic credit with Career Development and be approved by your Academic department before starting your internship.
    • A. Access your Handshake account with your MassArt Net ID. Once you log in, click Career Center > Experiences > Request an Experience.
    • A. No. All undergraduate students with internships that are registered with Career Development and approved for academic credit by Friday, May 22, 2020 will be on the list to be considered for the $2,000 award. You do need to have a current FAFSA form on file. Here you can find more information about the awards
    • A. There is no guarantee of receiving the stipend. Award recipients are selected based on financial need as determined by the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Visit $2,000 Internship Awards for 2019/20 for more information. Last Academic Year (2018/19) 65 students received the State University Internship Incentive (SUII) stipend. This program offers a base award of $2,000 which helps selected students off-set the cost of completing an approved credit-bearing internship.
    • A: If you are in the process of finalizing an internship but you are not sure you’ll be able to submit the application for credit by the deadline, please contact Rebekah Wright, Internship Manager,
    • A: Undergraduate students are not charged for the 3 studio elective credits for a summer internship.