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Back to Bentley

The university will return to campus this fall. Read our plan at www.bentley.edu/BacktoBentley 

Academics and Classrooms

Back to Bentley

Last Updated: August 13, 2020

Academic Year 2020-2021

The academic calendar has been updated, including an important change: to avoid the risk of students returning to campus with COVID-19 after Thanksgiving, all classes will be held remotely when classes resume after the break, and residence halls will remain closed through the end of the trimester. Students' housing and meal fees will be discounted by 20 percent to reflect the fewer days on campus. Here are some important dates to remember for the fall 2020 trimester:

    • Aug. 31: Classes begin.
    • Sept. 7: Labor Day. No classes, offices closed. Last day to add or swap courses.
    • Sept. 14: Last day to drop courses. Boston Marathon holiday canceled. Classes will be held, offices open.
    • Oct. 12 - 13: Traditional October break (canceled). Classes will be held. Administrative offices closed on Oct. 12. 
    • Nov. 25 - 27: Thanksgiving break. Residential students will be required to leave residence halls. Additional details to come.
    • Nov. 30: All classes resume remotely.
    • Dec. 8: Study Break. 
    • Dec. 16: Final day of graduate exams and classes.
    • Dec. 17: Final day of undergraduate exams and classes. 

    See the Full Academic Calendar

    Classrooms

    Our new classrooms are outfitted with additional technologies that enable students to attend class, interact with their professors and engage in real time with classmates either in person or online in a hybrid learning environment. Some classes will be conducted in a fully online setting, with faculty and students participating in real time for remote teaching and learning. And some additional courses will be offered in a fully online asynchronous – not live – format, which allows students, particularly those participating from distant time zones, to access the class lessons at a time of their choosing.

    Classrooms, learning labs and centers are in the midst of being modified to allow for appropriate physical distancing. Sanitizing supplies will be provided in all classrooms and while classroom and classroom buildings will receive enhanced cleaning every day, as an extra precaution students are expected to wipe down their desk and chair at the end of each class.

    Students and faculty will be required to wear face coverings in the classroom. If a student is required to isolate or quarantine off campus or in their campus residence, they will be able to continue their coursework remotely.

    No matter where their students are, faculty are designing their courses to engage all students in discussions, peer-to-peer activities and projects, and meaningful interactions with professors, alumni and industry professionals. 

    How Classes will be Taught

    We recognize that there is significant uncertainty about how individual classes will be taught (in person, online or a combination of both). Faculty are working diligently with their deans to determine the best teaching method for each course. This work will not be completed until August. We anticipate that most classes will be taught remotely. For those courses that still meet in person, classroom capacities will vary depending on the public health guidance from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in August/September.

    This fall trimester will be different than the traditional classroom experience for all students. Classes will be delivered in one of three ways – live in person (denoted as “Hybrid (HB)” when you check your courses in Workday), synchronous online or asynchronous online. For the classes taught live in person, students will rotate with other classmates to meet every other or every third class to allow all students the opportunity to attend some classes in person, while others attend online.

    All classes can be taken remotely during the fall trimester. As noted above, classes will be delivered live in person, synchronous online or asynchronous online, all of which allow online, remote participation. 

    To ensure we have housing for those who want and need to live on campus this fall, we need to have commitments completed before we know all of the class modalities. Add/Swap/Drop is currently closed in order to update course modalities for fall and to allow new students to register for fall classes. The registration system will re-open for current students beginning August 5, and Add/Swap/Drop will be available to change courses until Monday, September 7. However, please note that there is no guarantee that particular modalities will be available to all students. Our goal is to give you flexibility and let you make your own determinations about how to address this uncertainty. You may decide that being a residential student is important even if learning remotely while on campus. You may decide that it makes more sense to do your education entirely remotely for the fall trimester. With the trimester program, you have additional opportunities to take classes throughout this academic year.

    Tuition

    Bentley will not offer a reduction or discount on tuition for the fall 2020 trimester. Despite some changes in campus operations due to COVID-19, we are dedicated to helping our students achieve their educational goals.

    We are committed to delivering a high-quality educational experience. Classes will continue with instruction from Bentley’s world-class faculty, and students will be able to advance without delay toward earning their Bentley degree. The quality and value of a Bentley degree remain as high as ever, helping our graduates build rewarding and successful careers and lives.

    The cost of tuition covers many services in addition to classroom instruction. Students will continue to have access to all our university has to offer – including co-curricular activities like student clubs and organizations, and career services – whether students are on campus in Waltham or continuing their studies remotely.

    We also want to be transparent that the costs of running the university have increased due to COVID-19. We have invested heavily in new classroom technologies to expand our online and remote capabilities. Faculty and staff will increase the level of individual engagement with students to ensure they have the support they need to succeed, inside and outside of the classroom. And health, counseling and wellness services will be ready to assist our students whether that be in person or remote. These are some of the additional services and measures we have added for this year to ensure every student continues to be connected to and supported by the Bentley community, no matter where they live and learn.

    Keep in mind our newly introduced trimester system will allow all students the flexibility to study in any combination of the fall, spring and summer trimesters in order to personalize their approach to the year ahead. And because of the strains of this unprecedented time, we are offering all undergraduate students the opportunity to take up to 15 courses over the three trimesters for the cost of 10. See our trimester FAQs page for more information on this benefit.

    Due to the residence halls closing at Thanksgiving through the end of the trimester, housing and meal fees will be discounted by 20 percent for the trimester to reflect the fewer days on campus.

    Financial Aid

    We understand that students and families will need help in pursuing their educational goals in the year ahead. The pandemic has added uncertainty related to the loss of income and anxiety around potential future income reductions. We are committed to working with every student who may have questions or concerns to help them find the best solution.

    Bentley awards need-based financial aid to help families pay the cost of attendance, which includes tuition and fees, room and board, and allowances for books, supplies and personal expenses. Each student’s financial situation is unique, so eligibility for need-based financial aid is reviewed and calculated individually.

    Financial aid for the 2020-21 academic year was calculated using 2018 calendar year income. If you would like to provide additional information to update your current financial situation, we will use this information to give context to the evaluation of your financial need for the upcoming year.

    Financial aid packages will reflect the information students submitted in their housing survey. For students who did not reply, aid will be packaged assuming campus residency and full-time enrollment.

    We recognize that managing a decrease in family income and/or an increase in non-discretionary expenses is difficult. In the absence of additional aid, students can elect to research other financing options to help finance educational expenses.

    Students who elect to take courses fully remotely will not have the cost of room and board calculated into their total cost of attendance, and financial aid awards will be reduced accordingly. Students who elect to live on campus will have room and board fees discounted by 20 percent to reflect the residence halls closing after Thanksgiving through the end of the trimester.


    Students who have additional questions about loan options or questions about financial assistance for the 2020-21 academic year should contact their financial aid counselor or send email to finaid@bentley.edu.

    Definition of Some Terms

    Bentley’s return to campus plan involves various class attendance and engagement formats.

    How will I attend class?

    Live in Person
    Students may attend some classes in person. Classroom seating capacities will be adjusted to meet public health safety protocols. These courses are denoted as “Hybrid (HB)” when you check your courses in Workday.


    Synchronous Online Learning
    Students will attend some classes online through Zoom from a remote location such as a dorm room or, if they are unable to get to campus, from their home or a local library. Faculty have designed these classes so that students attending online can interact in real time with their classmates and professors.


    Asynchronous Online Learning
    Professors create online instructional materials such as recorded video lectures, interactive simulations and discussion boards where classmates share their views or ask questions. Rather than attending class at a fixed time, students have flexibility (typically a few days or up to one week) in when they learn from this instruction and when they interact with their professors and classmates.


    No matter what the attendance format, all courses will include an element of blended learning where students are expected to complete certain instructional activities on their own before coming to class. Class time is designed to focus on collaborative activities such as role playing, analyzing and discussing cases or creating a deliverable. The most common example of blended learning is for students to watch a short lecture video created by the professor before coming to class. While in class, students use concepts from the lecture to work together on solving and discussing complex problems.

    Where will I attend class?

    Hybrid Classroom
    Bentley’s hybrid classrooms allow some students to attend class live in person (denoted as “Hybrid (HB)” when you check your courses in Workday) while others attend live online, keeping classroom density at safe levels to allow for physical distancing. The hybrid classrooms are equipped with technologies that enable students to participate effectively either in person or live online. The technologies include video cameras, ceiling-mounted student microphones and wireless microphones for professors.

    Information for International Students

    All international students will have the choice to attend classes online (from abroad) or study on campus in the U.S. (via hybrid, online or in-person instruction). We understand that many students may have visa and other travel-related challenges that make returning to campus difficult for the fall. Students may opt to study online in the fall from outside the U.S. We will assist you with your immigration status as necessary for your individual situation. We are continuing to issue I-20s for the fall 2020 trimester so that you may plan to join us on campus for classes, which would activate your F1 status. However, if you are unable to secure a student visa in time to begin the fall trimester in the U.S., you can register and begin classes remotely and make arrangements to obtain new immigration documentation that will enable to you to begin your F1 status the following trimester.

    The Center for International Students and Scholars (CISS) will work with new and continuing students about your fall plans. 

    Please make sure to check your Bentley email for information about how to report your plans to us. Additionally, CISS will send information about how fall plans may affect your visa status and work authorization as we learn more in the coming weeks. As always, we are available to answer questions related to your immigration status via email GA_CISS@bentley.edu.

    More information for international students can be found on the CISS web page in the section, "Returning to Campus - Answers to Frequently Asked Questions."

    Watch the CISS International Students Webinar

    Fall 2020 International Education

    As of May 7, 2020, all incoming and outgoing study abroad programs are suspended for fall 2020. For more information, visit The Office of International Education's page on COVID-19.

    Keep Learning @ Bentley

    Bentley's Remote and In Control page contains resources to support students during periods of remote learning. The information was put together this spring when the entire campus went to remote teaching and learning.

    These valuable resources and best practices are intended to help students adapt their habits and learning styles to an online format and adjust things such as study skills and communication with your groups to continue to complete assignments and achieve your goals as learners.

    No matter how you plan to take courses at Bentley this fall, this will help you be a better and stronger student.

    Keep Teaching @ Bentley

    This Keep Teaching page contains resources to support instructors during a period of remote teaching. These are intended to help instructors adapt their course to an online format and adjust assessments and assignments to align with course learning goals. 

    Tips and Resources for Working Remotely

    Bentley's Information Technology is the central provider of technology infrastructure, services and applications for students, faculty and staff. Technology is integral to the teaching, learning and administrative processes that enable academic and student life at Bentley, no matter where you plan to study, teach or work this fall. Find additional tips and resources for working remotely on the IT page.