Muhlenberg Announces Important Fall Semester Update

As a result of the changing landscape related to the coronavirus pandemic, the College made the decision to reduce the number of students on campus.

By: Kristine Yahna Todaro  Thursday, July 30, 2020 01:19 PM

In a message to the Muhlenberg community today, President Kathleen Harring announced an update to the plan for the Fall 2020 semester. 

“Our planning has continually balanced the earnest desire of our students and families to responsibly return to campus with the uncontrollable conditions of COVID-19 that affect us all,” Harring said in her message. “Our initial plan for the fall semester assumed a full return to campus. In my July 21 community message, I shared that the College was reviewing the viability of our plan in light of the significant surges in the virus across the country and the increases in infection rates among the college age population. The surge in cases in certain regions of our country has had an impact on our ability to open safely with a full population of students. Testing capacity has become unpredictable and limited, particularly for asymptomatic testing as we move into the early fall.”

As a result of this changing landscape, the College made the decision to reduce the number of students on campus this fall to allow a full implementation of health and safety protocols. Therefore, only first-year students and a limited number of approved upperclass students will return to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. 

Each student will have a single room and first-year students will have primarily online courses with some in-person instruction and small group co-curricular activities. All upperclass students will take their courses remotely whether on or off campus. All students will have remote access to academic support services, co-curricular activities, health and counseling services, the Career Center and other student support.

Muhlenberg has one of the strongest digital learning teams of any liberal arts college in the nation, one that has served as a model for other institutions. This summer, the College faculty participated in intensive digital learning workshops to help them develop and teach courses that emphasize student engagement, active learning and student-faculty relationships. These workshops along with investments in increased technology serve as the foundation for a fall curriculum built from a liberal arts perspective.

The College also announced the tuition rate will be rolled back to the same level as the 2019-2020 academic year. Students living off campus will not pay a student activities fee. All students in on-campus housing this fall will be charged the same room rate (the standard double room rate), although all rooms will be singles. Room and board for on-campus students will be reduced given the two-week period after Thanksgiving when they will no longer be in residence.

The Office of Financial Aid is currently preparing financial aid offers. To comply with federal and state financial aid regulations, the new financial aid offers will reflect students’ fall housing status for the entire 2020-2021 academic year.

First-year students and families will receive more detailed information about plans for their fall semester shortly. A series of town hall meetings will take place next week for first-year students, transfer students and returning students and their families. 

Read the full Fall 2020 semester update.

“I am grateful to the entire Muhlenberg community—students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and friends of the College—for your support, patience and generosity of spirit during this most difficult time,” added Harring in her message to campus. “Our community is one that comes together in crisis and in celebration. We care deeply for one another through good times and bad times and will continue to do so. Muhlenberg is special because of our people. Thank you for being a part of our remarkable community.”

About Muhlenberg College
Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college offering baccalaureate and graduate programs. With an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences; selected preprofessional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health; and progressive workforce-focused post-baccalaureate certificates and master’s degrees. Located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, approximately 90 miles west of New York City, Muhlenberg is a member of the Centennial Conference, competing in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.