Student FAQ

Frequently asked questions from students about MICA's response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Updated April 1, 2020

During this unprecedented world health pandemic, MICA understands how uncertain and difficult this time is, and is working to help you make these transitions with as little disruption possible. If your questions are not answered in the FAQ below, please see our contact page, for different offices on campus that will be able to assist you further. Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.

Finances: Refunds, Costs, and Other Charges

Q: Will MICA help defray travel and moving costs for students?

Yes. Students who received need-based financial aid in the 2019-2020 academic year will be provided with $150.00 to defray costs related to College operational changes. The sum will be processed soon, and student recipients will be informed as to how this will be distributed. Qualifying students will automatically receive this funding. There is no application process.

Q: Will students in MICA housing receive credit adjustment based on prorated room and board charges?

All residential students will immediately receive an initial $500 refund. Checks for this initial housing reimbursement will be physically delivered through Postal and Print and be available beginning at noon Wednesday the 18th. Checks must be picked up by 4 p.m. Thursday. Refund checks not picked up by that time will be sent to students through the mail. 

All residential students who leave campus for the remainder of the semester will receive an additional prorated refund. We are committed to issuing the remainder of their refunds no later than the end of March.

Q: What other funds exist to address students’ exceptional financial needs?

Other students (domestic and international) who face financial hardship may seek assistance and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Requests should be submitted through MICA’s Angel Fund.

Q: What can students do to help expedite this process?

Students should be in contact with studentaccounts@mica.edu to explore options about obtaining funds. If funds are to be received by mail, please ensure that Student Accounts has up-to-date mailing information.

Q: Will MICA refund other fees students have had to pay? (e.g. activity fees, tech fees)

The College acknowledges this concern, and is in the process of discussing a path forward. 

Q: Will this impact my tuition?

MICA is providing prorated refunds for housing and meal plans. We will also be looking at fees that are directly tied to other specific services. Regarding tuition, we are committed to providing a continuous educational experience that will allow all students to complete this semester and, for graduating students, to complete their degrees. All of our faculty and educational support staff are working hard to pivot their courses into remote and alternate means of instruction, to redesign assignments so they can be completed without access to the campus facilities, and to develop new approaches to the documentation and exhibition of work that will provide culminating experiences and portfolio materials that are appropriate to the learning goals for their courses. We recognize that this situation is not ideal, but the entire MICA educational team is fully committed to the creative construction of this alternative path of learning and degree completion. We believe that students will be rewardingly engaged as we move to make guest visits virtual, develop planning for the senior books across programs, and work collectively to plan the end-of-semester online exhibition. As a College, we intend to keep on teaching and ensure a quality education for our students to keep on learning. Accordingly, tuition refunds are not being contemplated.

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Student Employment

Q: Will jobs and pay continue for student employees this semester?

  • Work-Study students will receive continued pay based on scheduled hours.
  • Graduate Teaching Internship (GTI) and Graduate Program Assistantship (GPA) commitments will be honored by the College as they were part of the condition for graduate student enrollment. If their original GTI and GPA duties no longer apply, MICA may seek alternate assignments for these students, but will continue to pay them whether or not they are reassigned.
  • Job continuity for other student employment (whether hourly or stipend-based) will be determined by supervisors. If the work is needed, and if students can and wish to work locally or remotely, the jobs will continue. In some cases, the jobs may no longer be viable and will be discontinued. 
  • Any student who has a financial hardship due to lost work is encouraged to submit a request through MICA’s Angel Fund for consideration.

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Residential Questions & Extension Information

Q: How can students request extensions to stay in on-campus housing?

Students who wish to request such consideration should complete the extension request form. All requests must be submitted by 4:00 pm on Wednesday, March 18th. Decisions on extension requests will be issued on a rolling basis beginning Tuesday the 17th.

Q: Will residential students without alternative housing options be allowed to stay in MICA’s on-campus housing?

Extension requests are being reviewed collaboratively by Residence Life, International Education, Financial Aid, and Student Wellness. The following criteria are being used to review requests, although decisions will still be made on a case-by-case basis:

  1. International students with restricted travel mobility in home country – travel bans, locked borders, entry quarantines (conditions and expense).
  2. International students with no safe place to return – home, region, or country with high rates of COVID-19; places where it would be potentially dangerous for the student to return and risk exposure and sickness.
  3. International student status and OPT: F1 students must stay in the US in order to participate in OPT after graduation.  
  4. International or domestic student with an on-going health condition that requires monitoring and treatment, including any student with a compromised immune system  that prevents travel.
  5. Domestic students with high financial need or housing insecurity.
  6. Other requests will be considered case-by-case.

Q. I want and am able to go home, but my travel plans have been delayed past March 21. Will I be able to stay on campus until I can leave?

In addition to those who want to stay for the remainder of the semester, we acknowledge that some students want to go home but are unable to do so by March 21 and may need a few additional days due to the specifics of their travel plans. Those students should submit an extension request. We are committed to working with them. While we cannot extend their stay on campus for an indefinite amount of time, reasonable requests due to extraordinary hardship to stay will be considered.

Q: Will students be able to return to campus before the end of the semester to pick up personal belongings they’ve left?

Once the move-out process has been completed, The Office of Residence Life will communicate with those students & families who previously left belongings. It is likely that communication will not take place until late March or early April. We understand that this will be complicated to plan and will provide as much flexibility as is possible. Families should anticipate retrieving their personal items no later than May 10th, 2020.

Q: Some students left belongings in the residence halls. What is being done to secure these items and store them?

A: MICA is happy to store student items. We began by removing perishable food items, and consulted public health officials about next steps. We will communicate the final process as soon as possible. 

In addition, students who have remained on campus have been relocated to Gateway (if they were not already living in that residence hall). Any belongings in those apartments left by a student who has left campus have been boxed, moved, and stored by a professional moving company, and are available to be picked up once people are able to travel back to campus.

Q: How will MICA protect the health and safety of students remaining on campus?

A: Student Health services will remain open. Campus safety will continue working.
MICA will continue to reach out to students staying on campus to evaluate their needs. Students on campus are also encouraged to discuss their situation with their faculty. Also, students can visit MICA’s COVID-19 webpages for a complete list of contacts.

Q: Is summer housing still available for students who need to stay in Baltimore and can’t find other housing? 

A: At this time, MICA cannot provide a concrete answer for this question, because no one can predict what the spread of COVID-19 will look like in a few months. We are looking to public health guidelines for answers to this question and will communicate those to you as soon as possible.

Q: How will this impact applications for 2020-2021 housing?

A: We look forward to welcoming back our residential community! The Office of Residence Life will begin communications about plans for students to choose their on-campus housing within the next few weeks, and we’ve planned for this process to be fully online.

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International Students

Q: How are International Students I-20s impacted?

Under normal circumstances, international students would need to pay a new SEVIS fee if they're outside of the U.S. for more than five months. However, the US government has recently announced that F1 students can continue to stay enrolled in classes by completing courses online. As long as international students stay enrolled through spring 2020 and enroll in the fall 2020 semester, the five month rule will not affect you. International students will be able to return to the US with their current I-20.

The five-month period is not based on the date of the travel signature, it is based on being outside of the US as well as full time enrollment. It is best for international students to have a travel signature on their I-20 when they return to the US, however International Education will be able to mail one to international students if they need one before fall 2020. We will send more communication about this after the semester ends.

Q: If I need support or have questions, who should I contact?

International students should contact the Office of International Education at internationaleducation@mica.edu if they have additional questions.  Please understand that there are numerous inquiries coming to OIE staff and they will respond as soon as possible. 

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Studio & Shop Access

Undergraduate Students:

  • There is no longer access to shops for making work. Any studio extension time has been cancelled for public health reasons. The primary activity now is packing and staying safe. 
  • If you cannot move your belongings, we are adopting a “store it in place” philosophy. We understand this is an extremely stressful situation for everyone.
  • All undergraduate students (including Spring Class of 2020 seniors) who want to take their belongings with them must clear them out of studios and shops by March 21st by 4pm. If students have traveled outside a 50-mile range from MICA, they should not return to campus as the pandemic situation is rapidly evolving and when they return their studio and/or building may no longer be accessible.
  • Building hours for move out activities are 8am to 11pm generally.
  • Students who are able to pack but cannot remove their belongings by March 21 should box/wrap/label belongings with their name and ID number. Leave items in studios for pick up at a future time, and ideally contact your Department Chair.
  • Students who are already off campus: a friend may assist with packing and labeling, but this activity is not required.
  • Students who cannot come in to pack, or who have special packing needs, or who need to leave belongings: please contact your Department Chair.
  • Graduating Seniors who are Film and Video majors/concentrators have access to the Film Centre through Tuesday, March 17th until 7pm solely to get any of their belongings. These open hours are also for staff and faculty to get any remaining items needed out of the building which will then be officially closed as of Wednesday 3/18 until further notice.

Graduate Students:

  • This week and next, March 16 - 21 and March 23 - 28, graduate students will have access to program workspaces and individual studios to pack up work, gather belongings, and otherwise prepare to depart. This is not a time for making work, this is a time for preparing to leave.

o FILM MFA students will have more limited access to the Film Centre, which will close much earlier. Please collect your belongings before 7 p.m, Tuesday, March 17th.

    • Directors have been granted some latitude in organizing how their program's space will be closed up. Graduate students should work thoughtfully with their directors to close up the program space in the safest most efficient way possible.
    • Ideally, grad students will be out of their studios and the program facilities will be closed and locked by March 21st. We recognize that one week may not be sufficient time, however. Therefore, directors and graduate students have next week, through Friday March 27th, to organize for leaving.
    • Students should take what they need from their studio/workspace to continue their work off campus.

o Students may elect to leave things in their studios/workspaces -- that is, to "store in place" their studio/workspace contents. 

o Whatever is "stored in place" will not be accessible until buildings/studios reopen at some future (as yet unknown) date. Therefore, students are encouraged to take as much as possible with them now. 

o Program students and their director will work together to "store in place" any work by program students who are unable to return before March 27th. 

o Graduate students who were unable to access their studio/spaces this week due to travel, and next week, due to mandatory self-quarantine, may arrange for studio access sometime after March 27th, on a case-by-case basis, depending upon the global health conditions.

    • When closing up graduate program common spaces, such as seminar rooms or multi-purpose design spaces, be sure to leave tables and chairs clear of debris, and all personal items stored away. This will allow for the best possible cleaning. 
    • Equipment

o Students may not take any MICA equipment off campus. 

o Students must return Grad Lab equipment as the usual policy states. Please see Grad Lab hours here.

    • The Office of Graduate Studies will be open with a minimal staff through March 21st in order to support students. And of course, staff members are available via email 9:00 - 5:00 weekdays throughout the coming weeks.

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Academics, Study Abroad, & Commencement Activities

Q: When will online classes start?

Starting Monday, March 30 and through the completion of the semester, classes will transition to an online and alternate educational delivery mode in undergraduate and graduate programs. Faculty will use the extended break period to prepare for this transition. Students can expect revised course syllabi from their faculty on or around March 30th.

Q: How will information about individual classes and online learning plans be sent to students?

Faculty are working to adapt syllabi to “Keep on Teaching” and will be in touch with their students by Monday, March 30, 2020, when remote and online instruction begins.

Q: What is the plan for online learning since so much of MICA’s curriculum involves studio instruction?

Your instructors will be in touch with you by March 30. Please check your @mica.edu email.

Q: How will online coursework impact the grading process?

A:  Final course grades, by default, will be Pass/Fail. If you are doing well in a course, we recommend that you request letter grade, as it makes your transcript easier to read. Students have until Friday, Mary 1, to email faculty to request a letter grade.

Q: Will we be expected to create our own personal Zoom account for classes? How does MICA intend to account for the paywall for calls over 3 people or over 40 minutes? 

A: Students do not need a paid Zoom account to join a meeting, and can create a free account for a basic license. The College has provided access to instructors here.

Q: The College is extending the Adobe CC subscription extension for another year for seniors. Is this applicable to all students or just current seniors? 

A: The College has agreed to provide the Class of 2020 with an additional year of the Adobe Creative Suite license beyond graduation. This is not necessary for other students because they have access to Adobe CC during every year they are at MICA.

Q: What about the softwares used except for Adobe suite, especially for graduating students? Some examples being Lynda, Fontagent, Cinema 4D, etc? Do we get extended subscriptions for those too (as they inform quite a lot of our making)?

A: The College has not discussed further extensions of other software.

Q: What happens when students required to quarantine in their home country lose access to the internet or do not have access to Google, etc.?

A: For those students who have challenges accessing the internet, MICA has some express VPN licenses available. The Office of International Education is currently working to get in touch with such international students impacted by loss of internet and who require these services.

Q: What will happen to 2020 graduates who have lost credit due to course cancellation (open studies) and may not meet credit requirements for graduation?

A: We are evaluating all senior student records and will take proactive steps to mitigate any disruption to graduation status. This may result in an independent study, if possible, or the student may have to take a course in the summer. There are very few students in this situation and we will reach out to them directly when the semester resumes next week. Our goal is to allow students to graduate on time.

Q: When referring to 2020 graduates, does this include those graduating in fall 2020? We are still working on our thesis projects and are affected by this as well. 

A: MICA will work with students graduating in fall 2020 at the beginning of that semester, with the understanding that those students have had disruptions as well.

Q: Will the Competitive Scholarship timeline be affected by recent changes on MICA’s campus?

A: No. The Competitive Scholarship process will move forward as planned.

Q: What is the status of current study abroad programs?

On Saturday March 14, MICA suspended all student study abroad and exchange programs outside of our program in Italy, which was previously suspended on February 27. All of these study abroad students are moving to online learning, with details determined on case-by-case depending on the program. International Education is working directly with each of those students on their return plan.

MICA will be reimbursing students in those programs for all documented travel expenses associated with this unprecedented situation.

Q: What is the status of future study abroad programs including Summer Travel Intensives?

MICA has canceled all Summer Travel Intensives scheduled for 2020. All program deposits will be refunded. Please know that this decision was made after much thought and deliberation and that our highest priority is to protect your safety and welfare. Factors, such as CDC and Department of State travel advisories, the WHO declaring a pandemic and the US declaration of a national emergency, combined with MICA policy and emergency risk management protocol all weighed into this determination. MICA hopes to resume travel programming in summer 2021.

Q: Is it possible to do some kind of postponed Art Walk, or are graduation activities being cancelled or moved online entirely?

A:  Deeply aware of their importance to the Class of 2020, MICA’s planning on Commencement and year-end exhibitions are guided by the following:

  • We remain committed to protect the health, safety, and wellness of our community members.

  • We are doing the utmost to not allow COVID-19 to take away the celebration of our Class of 2020. A genuine and meaningful set of related activities has become paramount to help alleviate some of the shock, grief, and sense of loss that the abrupt developments of the past month have caused our campus community — and most notably, our student body. For staff and faculty, our work in fashioning a creative celebration of the graduating class helps address the loss we also feel.

  • The diverse needs and circumstances of our graduating students require a range of options that begin with this May and extend into 2021. There is a strong desire to both celebrate online this May and to physically gather and exhibit at later dates when in-person convenings are possible again.  

  • Ideas and input from the Class of 2020 should play an integral role in shaping the events and activities that will appropriately celebrate and honor them as well as best position them for professional success. Some key perspectives have already been gleaned through discussions with students and student leadership. MICA is committed to further involving the graduating class in rethinking the culminating elements of their MICA educational experience.

With all of this in mind, below are the following decisions and general framework for reshaping the celebrations with and for our Class of 2020:

  • The traditional May 2020 in-person celebrations of Commencement, ArtWalk, and remaining Grad Exhibitions are cancelled. We will, instead, celebrate the graduation of our seniors and showcase their work through an online mean – giving us all an opportunity to virtually gather, connect, rejoice, and view work. To help shape this initiative, we will be launching a website next week to engage with the Class of 2020, their families, and the broader MICA community to solicit feedback, ideas, and proposals around key elements of this online celebration.

  • A Commencement Care Package will be sent to graduating students to offer physical items that Class of 2020 members have identified to be of emotional and symbolic significance. Such items include Commencement tickets, programs, honor cords, etc.

  • MICA will also use the website mentioned above to solicit ideas for physical exhibitions and celebrations of student work to take place once large, in-person gatherings can happen again. We are hopeful that this can be as soon as the Fall of 2020. Some emerging possibilities include launching the 2020-2021 academic year with these exhibitions, organizing events around the MICA Weekend in October when many parents and alumni visit the campus, and holding exhibitions in different cities in a linked set of events.

  • Finally, all members of the Class of 2020 and their families will be invited to join the next physical MICA Commencement ceremonies scheduled for May 17, 2021. Those who wish to partake in an in-person experience will have that option.

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COVID-19 and Health Services Questions

Q: Are there any confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus? 

As of April 1, no.

Q: How will I know if someone on campus has tested positive for COVID-19?

The College will send a memo to the community if a positive test is returned.

Q: How will I know if I’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive?

State and/or local Health departments will notify any community member who may have been exposed with guidance and next steps.

Q: What preventative measures is MICA taking?

The College has taken a number of preventative measures over the last few months, including increased cleaning and sanitization, bringing home students from abroad, and transitioning to online classes. Visit mica.edu/coronavirus for more information about the steps MICA has taken.

Q: What does quarantine / self-quarantine mean?

Quarantine means staying in a specific designated location (i.e., assigned housing, home) away from others for the purpose of observing and monitoring your health status for the development of symptoms. Typically, a COVID-19-related quarantine lasts for a 14-day period after a possible exposure. Quarantine is used for people who are not sick and is similar to, but not the same as, isolation, which is used when a person is sick.  

Q: What counseling and health support resources will be available as MICA moves to online instruction?

Student counseling recommends this article, which provides useful guidance and concrete suggestions for self-care. As additional resources:

Additionally, while the Counseling Center is working remotely, it will continue to support MICA students and can be reached by phone at: 410-225-2367 or via email at: counseling@mica.edu.

MICA's Student Health Center staff will provide remote support for students with ongoing health care needs. Students are requested to contact Student Health at 410.225.4118 or healthservices@mica.edu where clinical staff will be available to address any concerns, including but not limited to, medication  management, supportive health care, and any acute issues needing medical attention.

Q: Can Health insurance be extended, especially given that many students have lost employment as a result of the pandemic?

A: Health Insurance runs through July, and students do not need to work to continue coverage.

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College Operations

Q: Are offices at MICA open?

The College is pivoting to remote and alternate access wherever possible. This will look different office-by-office and each office will communicate via their website or other vehicles what their adjusted hours and access are.

Q: How will I know when new information is available?

Please check www.mica.edu/coronavirus and your @mica.edu email for updates.

Q: What is the status of Commencement?

We will inform families about the status of Commencement by the end of March.

Q: What is the status of MICA’s Food Studio?

MICA's Food Studio will not operate for the remainder of the spring semester; however, students seeking food assistance can apply to the Angel Fund for grant monies toward the purchase of groceries.  

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Other

Q: If I have a question not contained in this FAQ, who should I contact?

Please visit the website for a complete list of contacts.

Q: How will MICA continue to communicate with students during the COVID-19 global pandemic?

A: We are working with the Student Voice Association (SVA) to hold additional town halls. To stay up to date with MICA’s communications, be sure to check your @mica.edu email address for communications about town halls and more and also check MICA’s COVID-19 website.

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