Fall Re-start Questions and Answers

Implementation of our re-start plan is ongoing and consistent with the Reopening New York Higher Education Guidelines. This page is a clearinghouse of the college’s most up-to-date information about key areas of interest for the fall 2020 semester. It will change as the college’s planning advances.


While many students may opt to remain at home and complete their classes online, some will need to take courses that have in-person components, such as labs.

Freshman and sophomores may request exemptions to the housing requirement for the fall 2020 semester only. Others may cancel their residence hall license. The Residential Community Life website has more information about these processes.

Students who move off campus prior to Oct. 19, 2020, are eligible for prorated room refunds only if they have:

  • withdrawn from the college;
  • taken a leave of absence from the college; or
  • reduced their course load to attend the college part time.

The OAS refund policy governs refunds for dining services. That policy is outlined here. Students can request a copy of it by calling the OAS Office at 607-436-3352 or emailing oas@oneonta.edu.

The College Fee is non-refundable once classes start. Students who withdraw from the college may be eligible for refunds of other fees. Refund amounts will be prorated based on the Fall 2020 Tuition Liability Schedule.

However, students who remain enrolled and move off campus during the semester will not be eligible to receive a refund for housing, dining or fees.


Yes, the college will offer a room to anyone who wants to live on campus, up to our capacity.

Students will move in gradually beginning Aug. 17. Students will receive further instruction about their specific move-in time from Residential Community Life.

One family member or friend per student will be allowed in residence halls to help with move-in.

Although we can’t guarantee housing for future semesters, we will do our best to accommodate everyone. Freshman and sophomores will be guaranteed housing next semester.

Housing costs for all will be fixed to the term that the student entered as a freshman. Students will be held harmless if they choose to stay home this semester.

Yes. Students won’t completely move out in November.

Aug. 3.


The college requires all students who reside on campus to have a dining plan.

$2,270 per semester

The plan includes dining in Mills and Wilsbach halls plus $315 Retail Dining Dollars. Hulbert Hall will be closed for dining this fall.

  • Mills Marketplace — deli subs and sandwiches, pizza, sushi, and a convenience store
  • Starbucks — in the Hunt Union
  • Argo Tea – in Milne Library
  • Vending machines throughout campus

Higgins residents are automatically assigned to the On-The-Go Plan, which is a $1,500 Retail Dining Dollar Plan. This plan assumes they will do a fair amount of their own cooking. Retail Dining Dollars may be added at any time if needed.

Higgins residents are also eligible for the Resident Dining Plan, but they must email StudentAccts@oneonta.edu before Sept. 3 at 4:30 p.m. to request it. To switch to the Resident Dining Plan, students will need their A and PIN numbers.

Higgins residents are responsible for making sure they are on the dining plan they want.

Yes. They can select the Resident Dining Plan or select a Commuter Plan, which consists of all Retail Dining Dollars.

They should contact our campus dietician, Dr. Jennifer Bueche, who will work with any special dietary requirement.

Until further notice, resident dining facilities will operate on a take-out only basis and have specific meal periods. Each student will receive two reusable/returnable containers for their take-out meals. If a container is lost or additional containers are needed it will be at a cost of $3 per container.

Students will be allowed one meal swipe for each of the four meal periods per day. Meal periods are:

  • Breakfast, 7:30-11 a.m.;
  • Lunch, 11:01 a.m.-3 p.m.;
  • Dinner, 3:01-8 p.m.;
  • Late Night, 8:01-11 p.m.

We also plan to implement an online ordering system for all retail dining operations. However, this may not be available at all retail venues at the beginning of the fall semester. Daily schedules are forthcoming.

The take-out menu will feature a variety of freshly prepared meals. It will not just be pre-packaged cold sandwiches. At each meal, students will receive a main course, side selection, and dessert or fruit from the dining station of their choice. Stations throughout our three dining halls will include:

  • Grill;
  • Simple Servings (allergen free);
  • Daily Dish;
  • Pasta Toss;
  • Pizza;
  • Deli;
  • Wild Mushroom (vegan and vegetarian);
  • Garden Toss;
  • Cereal, Bagels and Waffles;
  • Rappz;
  • Salsa Rico;
  • Rice Bowl;
  • Diner;
  • Actions Stations; and
  • O’healthy.

​​​​Specific menus will be posted online prior to opening.

Mills will also have an express take-out option with refrigerated items. Options there will include salads, wraps and other entrees that have been properly cooled and packaged in microwave-safe containers.

Yes, students must wear masks to enter any dining facilities.


The fall semester will run from Aug. 24 to Dec. 15. All in-person instruction will end at Thanksgiving break. The rest of the semester, including finals, will be online only.

The majority of SUNY Oneonta courses will be delivered through online instruction in fall 2020. The courses that require an in-class component are identified here.

The college will preset 4-5 courses for new freshmen and let them know on July 20 if all of their courses are online or if some are face-to-face. New freshmen with on-campus courses will be able to view their schedules in myOneonta on July 20. New freshmen with online courses only will be able to view their schedules in myOneonta on July 31. All new freshmen​​ will be able to change their schedules Aug. 10-21 and again during the add/drop period at the start of the semester.

New transfers and readmitted students will work remotely with a faculty advisor July 13-31 to complete their schedules. They will be able to change their schedules again during the add/drop period at the start of the semester.

Transfers and freshmen can request a deferral by contacting the Admissions Office. Readmitted students can request a deferral by emailing academic.advisement@oneonta.edu Continuing students can take an academic leave by emailing academic.advisement@oneonta.edu.

Students who are uncomfortable with the scheduled modality will have the opportunity to change their schedules at various times depending upon if they are new freshmen, new transfers or readmitted students, continuing students or graduate students.

  • New freshmen will be able to change their schedules Aug. 10-21 and again during the add/drop period at the start of the semester.
  • New transfers and readmitted students will work remotely with faculty advisors July 13-31 to complete their schedules. They will be able to change their schedules again during the add/drop period at the start of the semester.
  • Continuing students will be able to change their schedules Aug. 10-14 and again during the add/drop period at the start of the semester.
  • Graduate students may register throughout the summer.

Yes, it’s required. It’s a hybrid of in-person and online. New students who choose not to move into campus housing can complete orientation online.

Faculty members will use a variety of tools to engage students online, including office hours, scheduled meeting times and class time to engage with students using online modified techniques.

Schedules will be released early in August, with an opportunity to modify schedules Aug. 10-14 and through the add-drop period.

Yes, but students should first check with the Office of Financial Aid regarding future semesters of aid.

Yes. We expect to post the library schedule later this summer.

Students can rent or purchase used and new textbooks, eBooks and access codes for fall courses either online or in person through Damascene Book Cellar, the campus bookstore. Damascene is located inside the Red Dragon Outfitters building next to the Hunt College Union.

Online orders will be ready for pickup starting Monday, Aug. 17. For fall 2020, students who are taking classes from home can have textbooks shipped directly there. Students who prefer to buy or rent in person can bring their schedule – printed or on their phone – to the store and get their books on the spot.

Requests will be fulfilled in the order in which they are placed, so ordering early allows the best chance for used copies. Books can be returned until Aug. 31.

On-Campus Amenities, Activities and Resources

Students who live off-campus will have access to all buildings except residence halls. This includes Milne Library, the dining halls and the Health & Wellness Center. Buildings will be card-access controlled.

Yes. We plan a mix of virtual and in-person (with 25 or fewer attendees wearing masks) events/programming. Student Life and Leadership, the Student Activities Council, New Student Services and Residential Community Life are working to develop programming for each night of the week.

We do not know yet.

We do not know yet.

The City of Oneonta, rather than SUNY Oneonta, operates OPT. We understand that the City plans to operate OPT at reduced capacity. We expect hours will be in line with campus services, most likely with busses arriving every 30 minutes during the day. We do not expect late night service.

Tuition, Other Costs and Aid

Yes. Tuition is set by state law and approved by the SUNY Board of Trustees.

We expect to make these available in early August.

The college has extended the payment due date to Aug. 24.

The college has waived the fee for the Installment Plan for the fall semester. The Installment Plan allows students to pay one third of their bill each month on Aug. 24, Sept. 21, and Oct. 21. The Student Accounts Office staff is available to discuss fall semester bills via email at StudentAccts@Oneonta.edu or by phone at 607-436-3389.

The Office of Financial Aid can review changes in household financial circumstances to determine if federal financial aid eligibility might be amended. Any student whose family’s financial circumstance has changed in the current year should contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss this.


Yes. We have adjusted the following fees to reflect the reduction in in-person services/activities where remote options are not possible.

  • Athletic fee: we have adjusted this to reflect limited operation of the full athletics program. Student athletes and the general student population will instead have access to in-person and remote activities in lieu of athletic events, including virtual health and fitness training for all fitness levels, leadership development, yoga and mindfulness, and Red Dragon Pride activities.
  • Student activity fee: we have adjusted the part of the fee supporting local transportation. Students will have remote options to continue participation in a full array of activities, including student clubs and organizations, events hosted by the Activities Council, and LEAD micro-credential opportunities.
  • Transportation fee: we will give students who are taking classes remotely and not living in the Oneonta area this semester the opportunity to waive this fee before the semester begins. Those who live on campus or have access to college-sponsored transportation services will continue to pay the fee.

The college has not adjusted the following fees because we will continue to provide the services they fund to all students throughout the semester:

  • technology fee
  • health fee
  • student life fee; and
  • transcript fee.

Probably not. Moving to an off-campus apartment generally does not affect a student’s award package, as the estimated cost of attendance for rent and food is comparable to room and board charged for living on campus.

Maybe. Financial aid eligibility is based, in part, on the cost of attendance. A student living at home won’t pay college room and board, so the cost of attendance will be less. This lower cost of attendance may, in limited circumstances, result in adjustments to student and/or parent loan awards, federal Work-Study or SEOG grants.

SUNY Oneonta will run the federal Work-Study program this fall. We are working toward offering both in-person and remote positions. However, the college is still assessing the needs for student employees, so we cannot guarantee positions at this time.

The college offers the Oneonta Installment Plan, which allows a remaining balance on the semester bill to be paid in three equal installments over the first three months of the semester. The Office of Student Accounts — at 607-436-3389 — can answer questions about the Plan. There are also two additional types of loans available to students and parents. More information on the parent PLUS loan and private education loans is on our loan information page. The Office of Financial Aid can answer questions about loans.

The Excelsior Scholarship application for the 2020-2021 academic year is now open and can be found here. The deadline to apply is Aug. 31. The application is open to incoming first-time college students, transfer or continuing students who did not previously apply, and students who have caught up on credits and are now eligible. Completing an Excelsior Scholarship application and eligibility does not guarantee an award. Current Excelsior Scholarship recipients do not need to complete this application.

No. Board fees will not be reduced. The cost of providing meals has increased exponentially. The cost of providing services is higher than usual because the pandemic and how these services now must be provided. Higher costs for food and other supplies and significant additional cleaning and disinfection requirements are a couple examples of added costs.

Students can decline under My Financial Aid on their myOneonta account if they have not accepted the loans. Students who accepted the loans will need to call their financial aid advisors or email finaid@oneonta.edu to decline them.


Award packages are based on the assumption of full-time enrollment. Students who don’t plan to take at least 12 credits should contact the Office of Financial Aid to ask if this change will affect their aid.

Taking fewer than six credits will result in previously borrowed federal student loans entering a six-month grace period, after which a borrower must begin making payments. Loans will return to an in-school/deferred repayment status if a borrower resumes taking at least six credits. Any student considering taking a leave of absence, withdrawing or taking fewer than six credits should contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Yes. The Student Emergency Fund provides grants to SUNY Oneonta students to pay for urgent expenses triggered by unforeseen events that threaten their ability to stay in college.

New Rules and Responsibilities

It’s a shared responsibility. The college will ask all students to acknowledge a “Statement of Shared Responsibility” before coming to campus. By acknowledging this, students are agreeing to abide by the college’s expectations. Violations will be subject to Community Standards review. Repeated violation of the health and safety expectations will result in consequences up to and including removal from on-campus housing.

We don’t plan to host any events at which attendance could exceed 25 people through at least Jan. 1, 2021.

The college cannot prohibit travel, but discourages students from traveling home and then returning to campus.

No. You may not enter a residence hall in which you do not live. This will be card-access controlled.


No. However, students will be required to self-quarantine at home for seven days prior to their arrival on campus. The length of quarantine will be extended if a student is coming from a state listed on the governor’s travel advisory list or another country.

These students must arrive to campus on Aug. 10 and quarantine for 14 days at their own expense before attending a class or moving into their assigned residence hall room. We are developing costs for on-campus housing and dining during this quarantine period.

Yes. The college has reserved two residence halls for quarantine and isolation.

The college would seal the room with tape for as long as possible before being cleaned, contingent upon Department of Health approval.

The college would close the bathroom for 72 hours and then a cleaning team would don personal protective equipment and disinfect it.

The college would not publicly disclose information about a quarantined student or employee, but would share information with the Department of Health, consistent with federal law.

The college will notify the campus community if a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19.

Health and Wellness

A student who becomes sick should call the Health Center at 607-436-3573. A nurse will conduct a phone or tele-health triage screening with the student to assess the risk for COVID-19 before scheduling an in-person appointment. A limited number of same-day appointments will be available but there will be no walk-in services. The Health Center will offer tele-health appointments whenever possible to minimize the risk of possible exposure to COVID-19.

A Health Center or Residential Community Life staff member can call for an ambulance to take a student with a medical crisis to a local hospital.

All counseling services will be provided online or by telephone. Students may make an appointment by calling the Counseling Center office at 607-436-3368. The Counseling Center will continue to offer same-day appointments for students in crisis.

There will not be a nurse in the residence halls all of the time. However, in addition to tele-health services, we plan to set aside small office spaces in the quarantine and isolation halls where providers can conduct physical exams for quarantined or isolated students, if necessary. Should a student need medical assistance after hours, they will call for OSES or OFD.

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