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Fall 2020 semester will be online

To: Students 
President’s Office
Important update: fall 2020 semester will be online
Monday, July 20, 2020

Dear Students,

We write today with the unfortunate news that our fall semester courses will be conducted entirely remotely (online). We will not be able to return to campus until we are confident that we may do so safely and effectively. For several months, we have been planning for a fall semester that includes a mix of online and hybrid (part online, part in-person) instruction. At the same time, we have been developing a contingency plan for an all-remote semester.

Since March, the virus has set our course of action. Last week, we received guidance from the San Francisco Department of Public Health that prohibits our return to in-person instruction at this time, and on Friday California’s Governor announced he is rolling back the state’s reopening plans as cases of COVID–19 have surged in our state and across the United States. In light of these developments and for the safety of our students, faculty, and staff, we believe the responsible choice is to now put our contingency plan for an online-only semester into place.

We regret that we will not be able to welcome you back to campus this fall as we’ve been planning for all summer. We look forward to the time when we can be together again in our classrooms, shops, and studios. Yet the benefits of returning to in-person instruction this fall cannot justify the substantial risks of gathering together when the pandemic remains unchecked. Ultimately, this decision was made with the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students as the primary factor, and was based on science and data.

We know this shift raises many questions. We have attempted to address the basic ones below, and CCA staff will provide more detailed information and guidance in the coming days. We have also included a contact list at the end of this email to help direct additional questions you may have.


Stephen Beal, President
Tammy Rae Carland, Provost

Course schedules + registration

Courses already planned for online will remain online. Some courses that were planned to be hybrid will be able to take place entirely online, while others may be postponed until spring or summer. Academic Affairs and Student Records are working this week to update the course schedule, including moving some courses that would typically be offered in spring to this fall. If you already filled out a Workday request to indicate you were planning to be remote/online, no additional action is required on your part at this time. As was originally planned, your academic advisor or program manager will adjust your course sections, contacting you if there are any questions. 

  • If you filled out the Workday request to indicate that you planned to be hybrid, we will share details as soon as possible and will coordinate with you to have your schedule changed.
  • If you have not filled out the Workday form, we will adjust your schedule as if you had indicated a preference for remote/online instruction unless you inform us otherwise via the form. Where possible, we will honor class-level seniority as we make our adjustments and will be in touch about options that may be available. 

We hope that when more information is available about spring courses that will be offered in fall, students who initially considered taking a leave of absence will consider the advantages of an online fall. We plan to have schedules finalized by the end of July.

To ensure a robust, high-quality academic experience this semester and keep students on track to complete their degrees, academic advisors will be available to support undergraduate students in your decision-making. Graduate chairs and program managers will be available to assist graduate students.

We are looking ahead at both spring and summer 2021 schedules to make sure that classes or course content that cannot be delivered fully remotely in the fall will be available to students as soon as we can safely return to campus. Our goal is to have a robust spring and summer schedule that will provide as much access to shops, studios, and equipment as is safely permitted.

Tuition + fees

We will freeze tuition at last year’s rate for the 2020-21 academic year and will not implement the previously announced 4% tuition increase this year. If you have already paid your tuition, your account will be credited accordingly. Course Materials and Student Services fees will be credited or removed from your account for the fall semester. 

Financial aid + support

Financial aid scholarships will not be reduced despite the decrease in tuition rates unless financial aid exceeds the total amount of tuition. This means that most financial aid recipients will experience an increase in aid relative to tuition. If you are no longer able to enroll full time, the Financial Aid Office will prorate your financial aid according to your registered qualifying units.

CCA has dedicated more than $1 million in new funding to scholarships for students and their families whose financial circumstances may have changed due to the pandemic. In addition, CCA will use funding received through the Federal CARES Act to assist students who need to purchase equipment and supplies or have other expenses related to the pandemic. See the CARES Act application process and the CCA financial aid petition on Portal to apply.

Housing + dining

CCA housing will be open for students who need or want to live on campus. For fall, all rooms will be single occupancy. CCA’s Housing, Dining, and Residential Education staff will contact all students who are currently assigned to housing, and will work with you to make adjustments as necessary for those who will no longer require CCA housing. Fall meal-plan options will be announced soon, once we have a better idea of how many students will live in CCA housing and what the demand for dining services will be. Students arriving from outside the Bay Area will need to quarantine for two weeks as required by public health orders.

International students

Continuing international students on F-1 visas will be able to enter or remain in the United States while taking online-only classes as long as you are enrolled full time or have been approved for a reduced course load by the ISAP office. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has rescinded its policy from earlier this month that would have required students in F-1 status to take at least one in-person course. International students will also be able to take their fall courses remotely from wherever they are. Please review the updated information on Portal at Maintaining F-1 status at CCA: fall 2020 to learn more. CCA’s Office of International Student Affairs and Programs (ISAP) will continue to keep international students updated and ISAP staff are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Please email ISAP at or make an appointment with an ISAP advisor for assistance.

  • New F-1 international students for fall 2020 who are currently outside of the United States can study 100% online, but should remain outside the U.S. for the fall semester. Students in this situation will be contacted by the ISAP team in mid-October to update I-20 paperwork for a spring 2021 arrival in the U.S. to attend classes on campus.
  • New F-1 international students for fall 2020 who transferred your SEVIS record to CCA and are currently residing inside the United States with a CCA I-20 issued for "transfer pending" are under current Immigration guidance indicating that students in this situation can remain in the U.S. and take online-only classes as long as you are enrolled full time. 

Technology + equipment

CCA computer labs will be closed until we are cleared to return safely to campus. During this time, there will be a process for students and faculty to access that software remotely. Instructions will be available on Portal. Access to Adobe Creative Cloud will continue to be available to all students.

There will be several new components to the online course tools, one to support visual collaboration, and another to support the necessary increase in the creation, delivery, and management of video. Faculty will incorporate these tools into their courses as appropriate to the course needs. 

CCA will use funding from the Federal CARES Act to assist students who need to purchase equipment and supplies. We recognize that not everyone has access to the basic technology required for remote learning. See the CARES Act application process on Portal if you need additional assistance.

Access to facilities

At this time, all campus facilities are closed to everyone except essential staff. CCA will continue to work with local health officials to determine when, and if, CCA facilities can be safely re-opened for limited use if circumstances improve. 

Alumni Course Audit + Shop/Facility Access

Students who graduate in spring, summer, or fall 2020 will be able to take two free courses at a future time once our San Francisco and Oakland campuses have safely reopened. We are also revising our shop, campus, and facility access policies to provide those alumni with access to campus resources for two years following their graduation semester.  


Student Records

  • Course schedule & registration information. Send an email or call 510-594-3651.

Academic Advising

  • Academic advisors will be available to assist undergraduate students. Send an email or schedule an appointment. Graduate chairs and program managers will be available to assist graduate students.

Financial Aid

Housing, Dining, and Residential Education

International Student Affairs and Programs (ISAP)

Human Resources

  • Assistance with HR-related questions, Send an email.

Have a question but you’re not sure whom to ask? Email and we will do our best to provide an answer or connect you with someone who can.