Last Updated: May 19, 2020

Graduate  School Temporary Policies

The Graduate Council has adopted some temporary policies that will help students and faculty address many of the challenges you are facing as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19. Flexibility in grading schemes, expanded options for the use of Incompletes, more flexibility in the use of WP and WF grades, as well as options for S/U grades, are all intended to address the impact of the transition to the online environment.  Click here to view the Graduate School Temporary Policies  Note that grading policies that have been developed for undergraduate students do not apply to graduate students. 

Do the deadlines for submitting my thesis, dissertation, or other documents still apply?

The Graduate School recognizes that the recent developments related to COVID-19 may cause delays in the completion of coursework by the stated submission deadlines.  Please consult with your Graduate Program Director (GPD) regarding your particular situation, and have your GPD contact The Graduate School to request extensions on your behalf. The Graduate School will make every effort to accommodate all reasonable requests. These concerns are addressed in the Graduate School Temporary Policies.

What is going to happen with my student teaching, or my clinical rotation if I am not able to participate as planned?

Please consult with your instructor, advisor or Graduate Program Director regarding this issue. All programs may not handle these situations in exactly the same way.  Some options are included in the Graduate School Temporary Policies.

Do I have more time to complete my class, or my degree?

Please consult with your Graduate Program Director if you have questions regarding extended class or degree completion time, grades, and enrollment issues.  These concerns are addressed in the Graduate School Temporary Policies.

When do I register for Fall classes?

Fall course registration is delayed.  Registration for Fall 2020 semester will begin for graduate students on April 20.

Will the cost of graduate courses be reduced during 2020?

The cost of graduate courses taken during Summer 2020 will not change.  For most programs, the cost will be standard in-state or out-of-state tuition plus a $20 online fee.  Some programs have special tuition rates that will not change this summer.  Summer tuition rates are available here.  The small discount on the online fee that was announced on April 7 only applies to undergraduate students. 

The JMU Board of Visitors, the university’s governing body, voted not to increase tuition for any student for the 2020-21 academic year (including all undergraduates, graduate students, and in-state and out-of-state students). For more information, please visit the university's May 15th announcement regarding tuition.

I am a Graduate Student in an Assistantship Position (Graduate Assistant (GA), Doctoral Assistant (DA), Teaching Assistant (TA), Service Assistant (SA), Athletic Assistant (AA), or Research Assistant (RA)). Should I leave Harrisonburg?

Students serving in a graduate assistantship’s roles should consult with their supervisors as soon as possible. Graduate Assistants are expected to continue working remotely if possible. On March 23rd, the university moved all instruction online. The campus needs help with the transition and we are relying on our graduate assistants to help.   Some graduate assistantship roles may change to meet new needs until the end of the contract period  Each graduate assistant should discuss their unique situation with their graduate assistantship supervisor. 

Will my stipend continue to be paid on a biweekly basis until the end of the contract period during the spring semester?

Yes.  Stipends will continue to be paid on a biweekly basis until the end of your respective contract period.  Your duties may change, but you will continue to receive your stipend.

I am a Graduate or Professional Student not serving in an Assistantship position. What should I do?

Graduate and professional students who have primary residences outside of Harrisonburg, who are not university employees (such as graduate assistants) are encouraged to return to their primary residences. Connect with your instructor by e-mail regarding the continuation of your classes. 

What academic support services remain available?

The Learning Centers are here to support you for the rest of the semester! We are continuing to offer online tutoring, consultations and study sessions. Please visit any of the follow programs' websites to access assistance online:

JMU Libraries:


What online resources are available to graduate students to assist in courses now taught online?

JMU Libraries has a webpage specifically to meet the needs of our graduate students during the COVID-19 situation which can be found at .


I am self-quarantining or I don’t want to use public transportation.  How can I get food, , prescriptions, and other necessities?

Grocery delivery services are available in Harrisonburg.  For example, consider:


Delivery (or curbside pickup) may be available from local stores including:

Walmart on Port Republic:

Kroger on 1790 E. Market St:

Food Lion:

Shenandoah Produce:

For restaurant delivery consider:




Dukes to Go:

Uber Eats:

Note also that many restaurants, including pizza and Asian restaurants offer home delivery services.  Call your favorite restaurant to inquire.

How can I access the "emergency aid" dollars I've heard about in response to the COVID-19 situation?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was recently passed into law. As you may have read, a component of this bill created "emergency aid" for students impacted by COVID-19. Now that the law is passed, it will be up to the Department of Education (ED) to regulate and implement the provisions. Since this is so new, we have not received guidance from ED about how this will work. However, we are actively engaged in conversations about this and are anxiously awaiting guidance from ED on how this will be implemented.

What additional support services remain available?

I understand there was some Federal Direct Loan relief provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. How do I determine if it applies to me?

 As part of the CARES Act signed into law on March 27, Congress mandated the Department of Education (ED) suspend federal direct loan payments and the accrual of interest on those loans until September 30, 2020. In order for federal loan servicers to implement this mandate, they needed to received guidance from ED on how to do that. ED provided that guidance to them on April 1 and stated they need to implement the six-month loan forbearance and interest waiver by April 10.

It is our understanding that based on the instructions Federal Direct Loan servicers received from ED, President Trump's announcement to waive interest starting March 13 includes loans for borrowers in school and in their grace period. This means students entering repayment following their graduation in May 2020 should also have their interest waived through September 30, 2020.

ED has updated its website at with information about this provision of the CARES Act and will continue to update the sidet as more details unfold. If you have Federal Direct Loans, we recommend you review ED's site for the most up-to-date information.


Content updates:

May 19, 2020
April 16, 2020
April 9, 2020
April 6, 2020
April 1, 2020
March 27, 2020
March 24, 2020

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