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Trimester Program

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

How is Bentley’s academic year changing?

Beginning this fall, Bentley will be moving to a trimester schedule with fall, spring and summer sessions, along with two one-week intensive sessions where students can complete a single course in a week, in order to offer a flexible, personalized approach to the academic year. Students only need to attend two trimesters per years to continue to make timely progress toward graduation. We recognize that these are difficult and uncertain times for many. This will give students an additional on-campus experience next summer in the event that we have to make adjustments in the fall. The fall 2020 academic calendar will continue as previously announced, allowing undergraduate students and faculty to follow the schedule for which they have already registered. Upcoming graduate student registration will continue as planned. The spring and summer trimesters will be reworked as 14-week sessions.

Why are you offering this to undergraduate students?

We recognize that these are difficult and uncertain times for many. By extending this offer, we hope to increase the flexibility for students as we approach the fall 2020 session, help all students avoid delaying their education so they can move forward on the timeline they were anticipating, and ultimately reduce some of the financial burden on students and families in the year ahead. This will give students an additional on-campus experience next summer in the event that we have to make adjustments in the fall. It will also reduce the overall cost of tuition and allow students to graduate early to join the workforce or get a jump start on their graduate degree. 

Who is eligible for this?

Undergraduate students for the incoming Class of 2024 who pay their deposit by May 15 to attend Bentley starting in the fall of 2020, undergraduate students currently enrolled at the university, and accepted undergraduate transfer students. 

Will Bentley hold courses on campus in the fall?

Right now, we plan on offering on-campus courses this fall, and we're planning to announce an official decision by June 30. If public health circumstances due to COVID-19 prevent on-campus instruction, Bentley is prepared to continue remote, online learning and a virtual campus experience for all students. If the campus opens but some students are unable to come to campus, we will offer access for them to our online campus. Bentley has successfully adopted an online model of learning and virtual community for the second half of the spring 2020 semester.

Will I be able to take the course I want in the summer session?

Yes, the summer session will offer a full complement of courses for students to take, allowing them to move forward in satisfying graduation requirements and participate in our academic community. 

Does this change the fall schedule?

No. The fall 2020 academic calendar will continue as previously announced, allowing undergraduate students and faculty to follow the schedule for which they have already registered. Graduate course selection will occur as previously scheduled. 

How does this affect graduate students?

We’re finalizing what we will be able to offer graduate students and will announce those details in about two weeks. The new trimester academic schedule will apply to all graduate programs as well.

Will this allow me to graduate early?

Yes, a student who maintains a full course load for the three sessions (fall, spring and summer) will earn enough credits to graduate early, in December of their senior year.  

I’m an admitted student. What’s the deadline to decide if I want to take this offer?

To give you more time to make this decision, we have extended our deposit deadline by two weeks, from May 1 to May 15. You can visit the Admitted Student page for more information and to reserve a spot in the class of 2024. 

How will this program affect my financial aid package?

We plan to allow as much flexibility in the distribution of your financial aid as allowed by federal regulations. Depending on the number of courses you register for each term, your cost for each term could vary. Under normal circumstances, Bentley scholarships and need-based grants are only awarded if you are registered for a full-time course load (at least 12 credits). That policy will be relaxed for the 2020-21 academic year, allowing you to receive Bentley scholarships and grants when registered for one to three courses. However, your awards will be pro-rated based on your registration status. You must be registered at least half-time (six credits) to be eligible for the Federal Direct Loan. We expect that each student’s circumstances will be different. Your financial assistance counselor will work with you to ensure your aid is distributed in a way that allows you to avoid any cash flow issues.

How does the new summer session differ from existing summer course offerings?

The new summer trimester will in essence be a combination of our current Summer A and Summer B sessions for one full 14-week session.

Will intersession intensives still be offered?

Fall, winter and summer one-week intensive sessions will continue to be offered with some modification on the exact timing.

Will Bentley return to the two-semester format in 2021-2022?

No. To offer increased flexibility for students and their families, the trimester system will continue on after the 2020-2021 academic year, though the summer term will be free of charge only in 2021 to help our students and their families through this difficult time. In 2021-2022, undergraduate students will be able to attend the regular cadence of fall and spring sessions and earn enough credits to graduate on time. 

What about current students or transfer students - do they get a free session, too?

Yes, this offer is available to students who will enroll at Bentley starting in the fall 2020 as well as all students currently enrolled at the university. 

How will this affect internships?

The new trimester schedule will provide greater flexibility for students to take internships in the fall and spring now that they can take courses during the summer trimester if they choose.

Can students live in the residence halls and go to the dining halls during the summer?

Yes, students can elect to live in the residence halls during the summer session and will have access to a range of on-campus food options. All of our residence halls are air-conditioned. Students who elect to live on-campus will be billed for room and board as they would any other session.

Can I take fewer courses in the fall and still be eligible for this offer?

Yes, to be eligible for free courses during the summer 2021 term, students must enroll in at least one course in any format (on-campus, hybrid or online) for the fall 2020 term. Students who enroll part-time (that is, students who take one, two or three courses) in the fall or spring are eligible. Once a student enrolls in and pays for 10 courses over the course of the year, additional courses during the summer will be free. (Winter and spring intensives count as one course.) For example, if a student enrolls in and pays for three courses in the fall and then five courses in the spring, they could pay for two more courses in the summer (for a total of 10 courses over the year) and get the rest of their summer courses for free. Students who enroll full-time (four, five or six courses) in the fall and full-time in the spring can enroll for free in the summer.

How will this affect Bentley’s accreditation?

The transition to a trimester schedule will have no impact on the university’s accreditation. The university will be adopting three 14-week trimesters, a schedule that is fully compatible with our accreditation requirements.  

Will this involve less time learning in the classroom?

One trimester will offer the same level of instruction as one semester, just on a different timeline. Class schedules will be adjusted as necessary for faculty to complete all material related to the course. The trimester schedule is fully compatible with accreditation requirements. 

Video: Answers about Trimesters

The president, provost and dean of students explain the new trimester system and reply to questions from students and parents.