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Covid-19 Information for Current Students

We recognize that, as graduate students, in addition to taking traditional classes, many of you also participate in research, teaching, and scholarship as part of your responsibilities, below are questions to help guide you for Fall 2020. 

Registration Questions

When can I register?

New fall time tickets are being sent to all students so that you can adjust your fall registration. Most graduate students will be able to register starting on August 6. The updated Course Catalog is now available as of July 31. More information about fall registration is available on the Office of the Registrar's website.

I am studying away from campus this fall, can I register in absentia?

Continuing students who are studying at least 50 miles away from campus, they may choose to register in absentia. In absentia registration reduces the fees that a student is assessed, and students registered in absentia do not have the student health insurance and will only be assessed tuition and the general fee. An in absentia registration request form must be submitted online prior to September 4, 2020.

For newly admitted international students who will be remaining in their home country and enrolling online for the Fall 2020 semester, the Graduate College will update your registration status to in absentia. The regular in absentia forms and approval process will not be required. However, if you wish to have health insurance, you must notify your graduate program prior to September 4 so that we may cancel the in absentia designation.

Assistantship / Employment Questions

I will be starting classes away from campus in the fall, can I hold an assistantship? If so, how will I receive my stipend?

Talk with your department and hiring unit. It may be possible to start an assistantship while away from campus but it depends on several factors, such as whether the duties can be performed remotely and federal regulations that pertain to some countries.

More information is forthcoming about how international assistants who are permitting to work from their home country can receive payments.

I have an assistantship and am starting my classes away from campus in the fall, but I cannot start my assistantship until the spring. Will I have to pay tuition in the fall?

Tuition and fees will be assessed if you are registered for the fall term. Talk with your department and hiring unit about options that may be available to you.

Fellowship Questions

I have a fellowship and am starting the semester away from campus, can I keep my fellowship? If so, how will I receive payment?

It may be possible to receive a fellowship while away from campus depending on the terms of the fellowship and the granting agency. Reach out to your department or to the Graduate College Business and Fellowship Office at

More information is forthcoming about how international assistants can receive payments.

Fee-related Questions

I am starting the semester away from campus, what fees will I be assessed?

Students not designated as in absentia, but registered in all online classes will be assessed only the General Fee, Library & Information Technology Fee, Health Service Fee and Health Insurance Fee (assessment based on total enrolled hours). The Health Service Fee will be credited for students located outside the Champaign-Urbana area mid-September.

Students enrolled in fully online programs will not be assessed any campus fees and are not eligible for student health insurance. 

Additional fee nformation is available on the Office of the Registrar’s website.

See also the information above about in absentia registration.

Health-care Questions

Will I have health insurance?

Graduate students enrolled in on-campus programs this fall—even if their courses are online—will be assessed the Student Insurance Fee and be enrolled in the University Student Insurance plan unless they are registered in absentia. Students can opt-out of the plan if they have comparable coverage. See additional information about student insurance.

New international students beginning the term away from campus will be registered in absentia and not enrolled in the University Student Insurance plan, unless they choose to. Please see the information about in absentia registration above.

Graduate students enrolled in online programs are not assessed the Student Insurance Fee.

Will I be able to use McKinley Health Center?

Students enrolled in on-campus programs who have been assessed the McKinley Service fee will have access to McKinley Health Center.

Students registered in absentia are not assessed this fee, nor are students enrolled in online graduate programs.

Degree-completion Questions

How should preliminary and final exams take place?

For the fall semester, doctoral examinations can be conducted remotely with no petitions required. We anticipate that most exams will continue to be conducted remotely. However, if an examination will take place in-person, it must comply with all campus guidance on in-person meetings.

What if I will not finish by my Expected Graduation Date (EGD)?

Students whose time to degree is expiring can file a petition requesting an extension. Include information about the impacts of COVID-19 in your petition request. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the Graduate College is delaying implementation of the policy that places students who have extended their time to degree on academic probation. This policy will now go into effect Fall 2021.

If you have deposited your thesis or dissertation but your degrees will be conferred at a later time, you may request a Degree Certification Letter. This letter, which is often used for employment or visa reasons, verifies that you have completed all requirements for the degree.

(Updated 8/31/20)