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Resources for Graduate Students in Response to COVID-19

Below, you can find resources and information of specific interest to graduate students during the evolving situation with COVID-19. This page will be updated promptly as new information becomes available, so please check back frequently.

Emergency Financial Resources

Rackham Graduate Student Emergency Funds

Recognizing that many Rackham students may face COVID-19–related financial challenges that would normally fall outside the scope of the Rackham Graduate Student Emergency Fund program, we have expanded the eligibility criteria. View information on the expanded criteria and details on how to apply.

Child Care Subsidy

The University of Michigan offers a Child Care Subsidy to students to assist with the cost of licensed child care of their young, dependent children. In recognition that students will pursue their education in the fall semester through in-person, hybrid, and/or remote formats, the university has temporarily changed eligibility criteria for the Child Care Subsidy beginning fall term 2020. During this temporary period, child care expenses from any licensed child care provider will be eligible for reimbursement under the subsidy, regardless of the state, country, or agency of licensure. Additionally, a temporary amendment for the fall 2020 and winter 2021 terms expands the eligibility criteria for the Child Care Subsidy to include unlicensed care providers. Previously, eligibility was limited to the State of Michigan. Other eligibility criteria for the Child Care Subsidy continue to be in effect.

Last updated at 3:20 p.m. on 11/6/20

Student Well-Being

  • Resources to support student well-being will continue to be available. Graduate students can request an appointment with Laura Monschau, Rackham’s Embedded Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) counselor. In addition, CAPS is maintaining avenues for support during regular business hours, with after hours urgent support available by calling 734.764.8312 (press 0) at night and on weekends.

  • The University Health Service is open during usual business hours, providing health care in new ways to meet student needs.
  • Rackham’s Resolution Office will continue to respond to student academic concerns and conflicts. Students should use the “Request a Meeting” button on the website. All consultations will take place remotely, either by phone or via video conference.
  • Ph.D. students may request a leave of absence when certain life events prevent continued active participation in their degree program. The leave of absence enables a student to officially suspend work toward their degree for a limited time. Students needing to suspend their studies due to COVID-19 related reasons are encouraged to contact rackham.loa@umich.edu for help navigating the leave of absence policy.
  • Rackham’s Graduate Student Mental Health Task Force has created a resource to summarize the major stressors students are facing, and to provide guidance on principles, approaches, and strategies that mentors and graduate programs can use as they support students during these extremely stressful times. The full year one report of the task force, along with a letter from Rackham Dean Mike Solomon accepting the task force’s 10 recommendations, is now available.

Last updated at 4:15 p.m. on 9/18/20

Research and Scholarship

COVID-19 has impacted nearly every facet of U-M’s research enterprise. These changes in the availability of resources for research and scholarship have caused significant stress and uncertainty. Research leadership from across the University of Michigan campuses are working together to safely reengage research and scholarship through carefully managed waves, in accordance with state regulations.

The University of Michigan Office of Research (UMOR) has developed guidance to assist faculty, postdocs, staff, and graduate students during this time of research reengagement. This guidance indicates that GSRAs will continue to be paid during the pause in noncritical laboratory research activities and the pause in human subject research, as well as during the research ramp-up period.

Faculty who have master’s and doctoral students working in the lab or elsewhere for academic credit—including independent study and dissertation credit—must work with each of their students to develop a plan for continued research progress appropriate to the degree or credit pursued. It is important to recognize that these new plans will necessarily look quite different than prior expectations due to the circumstances of the moment. In most cases, flexibility will be needed because research activities, methods, and outputs will be substantively altered and attenuated.

Rackham has prepared more detailed information and recommendations for graduate students, graduate faculty, graduate program coordinators, and graduate program leadership: Guidance for Research and Scholarship During COVID-19. In addition, an FAQ regarding research ramp-up activities is available.

Last updated at 4:30 p.m. on 8/7/20

Adjusted 2021 Winter and Spring-Summer Term Academic Deadlines

In light of continuing pressures on students and faculty resulting from COVID-19, and with the endorsement by the Rackham Executive Board, certain academic deadlines have been adjusted. The deadlines for the 2021 winter and spring-summer 2021 terms are as follows:

For doctoral students:

  • The grace period for conducting the defense, filing the dissertation, and completing all requirements under the 2021 winter registration is extended to Tuesday, August 17, the last day of classes in the spring-summer term.
  • The deadline for completing candidacy exams under the 2021 winter registration is extended to Wednesday, September 1.
  • The in-term deadline for conducting the defense, filing the dissertation, and completing all final requirements under the 2021 spring-summer registration is extended to Tuesday, August 17.
  • The grace period for conducting the defense, filing the dissertation and completing all requirements under the 2021 spring-summer registration is extended to Monday, September 20.

For master’s and certificate students:

  • The deadline for applying for graduation at 2021 Spring Commencement and having the name appear in the graduation program is Monday, March 8.
  • The deadline for applying for graduation at 2021 Spring Commencement is Tuesday, April 20, the last day of classes.
  • The deadline for converting 2021 winter term grades of NRC to letter grades is Friday, May 14.
  • The deadline for submission of all 2021 winter term final required work for conferral of the master’s degree or certificate is extended to Friday, May 14.

Last updated at 3:15 p.m. on 11/19/20

Adjusted Rackham Grading and Other Academic Policies for 2020–21

To address the challenges that COVID-19 has generated for the Rackham community, and as an exception to regular grading policy, the Rackham Executive Board has approved an adjusted grading policy for the 2020–21 academic year. In brief, the policy provides for letter grades to be used for grades of A+ to B-, and No Record COVID-19 (NRC) for grades of C+ and lower. Grades of C+, C, and C- may be converted from NRC to letter grades at the request of the student. Additionally, students will now have the one-time option to change any or all of their letter grades of A+ through B- to S (Satisfactory). The full text of the adjusted grading policy for the 2020-21 academic year is available within Rackham’s academic policy. Details will also be available through the Office of the Registrar. Additional adjustments to policies for 2020–21 include the following:

Extended Time to Degree

Moreover, Rackham is implementing a process in which each doctoral program will create and report to Rackham a policy or procedure through which students may receive an additional term or terms of stipend, tuition, and benefits if their degree progress has been disrupted in the last six months and once the funding promised in their offer letter has been exhausted. The decision to extend funding will be a collaborative decision of the faculty mentor, the doctoral student, and the Rackham program. Rackham will update its Academic Dispute Resolution Policy to resolve cases in which faculty, student, and program do not agree on the need for extended funding.

Last updated at 11:00 a.m. on 11/13/20

Modes of Instruction

  • As part of its plans for the winter 2021 term, the university announced an approach to instruction that includes more remote classes, with in-person classes limited to those most effectively taught through this format or required for licensure. Instructors will be able to use the format they believe is most appropriate. There will be fewer hybrid classes that are partially online and partially in person, based on feedback from instructors about the difficulty of teaching them. No instructor will be required to teach in person if they would prefer not to.
  • For GSIs seeking assistance in order to provide instruction remotely, these resources include those available through the U-M Center for Research on Learning and Teaching and the U-M Center for Academic Innovation’s Online Teaching site.

Last updated at 3:05 p.m. on 11/6/20

Student Housing

  • To support the public health of the U-M community, the university is advising undergraduate students to attend winter 2021 remotely if they can from their permanent residences. To make this possible, Michigan Housing is terminating undergraduate housing contracts for winter 2021 and releasing all undergraduate residents from their financial obligation for winter term.
  • Michigan Housing will remain open for a number of residents in need who request it.
  • All graduate and professional students living on campus will be able to continue to reside in their current locations.
  • For questions and concerns regarding off-campus leases/housing, contact Beyond the Diag at beyondthediag@umich.edu

Further information regarding student housing is available at the University Housing FAQ.

Last updated at 3:15 p.m. on 11/6/20

Student Parents

  • The University of Michigan offers a Child Care Subsidy to students to assist with the cost of licensed child care of their young, dependent children. In recognition that students will pursue their education in the fall semester through in-person, hybrid, and/or remote formats, the university has temporarily changed eligibility criteria for the Child Care Subsidy beginning fall term 2020. During this temporary period, child care expenses from any licensed child care provider will be eligible for reimbursement under the subsidy, regardless of the state, country, or agency of licensure. Additionally, a temporary amendment for the fall 2020 and winter 2021 terms expands the eligibility criteria for the Child Care Subsidy to include unlicensed care providers. Previously, eligibility was limited to the State of Michigan. Other eligibility criteria for the Child Care Subsidy continue to be in effect.
  • Doctoral students needing to suspend their studies due to COVID-19 related reasons are encouraged to contact loa@umich.edufor help navigating the leave of absence policy. Students with child-care/caregiver responsibilities can apply for a leave of absence for family necessity/dependent care for a single term and up to two consecutive years before needing to register. Students are not registered when on a leave of absence, so there is no tuition assessment, which is typically tied to GradCare funding. Students may continue GradCare like coverage during a leave of absence; students are encouraged to contact rackham.loa@umich.edu to discuss support in covering GradCare fees during an approved leave of absence period.
  • The Rackham Grad Parents Facebook Group serves as a forum for students to share resources with colleagues, build community, and receive updates from Rackham.
  • For additional information about the above resources and/or any student parent concerns, please contact Ida Faye Webster.

Last updated at 4:30 p.m. on 9/21/20

Dissertation Defenses

In line with the university’s goals to fulfill its educational mission while protecting health and safety by minimizing the potential spread of COVID-19 in the community and broader society, dissertation defenses may be held wholly online. Defenses that are held in person should be conducted in conformity with the University of Michigan’s health protocols and policies regarding limits to the number of in-person participants, social distancing, and other measures to safeguard health. Please visit the Completing the Doctoral Degree Requirements page for further details.

Last updated at 11:00 a.m. on 9/2/20

Issues Affecting International Students

Last updated at 10:15 p.m. on 8/27/20

Rackham Programming

Rackham Student-Initiated Grant Programs

All Rackham student-initiated grant programs (e.g., Rackham Graduate Student Research Grants, Rackham Conference Travel Grants, etc.) remain open and are accepting applications. However, the ability to use funding, if awarded, is contingent on current and future restrictions imposed by U-M, countries and/or institutions being visited, and the federal government.

Academic and Professional Development Programming

Remote learning options for Rackham academic and professional development programming are being developed for the fall. Updates will be reflected on the Rackham Events Calendar. In addition, through the university, students have access to premium content from Versatile PhD, a supportive, web-based community that provides resources and information on non-academic careers for Ph.D.s, candidates, and master’s degree holders.

Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops (RIWs)

When deciding to hold, move, or cancel Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops (RIWs) events, RIW coordinators should connect with their faculty mentor and department administrator, and follow meeting policies developed for their department and the scheduled meeting location. Rackham will waive the requirement of having a culminating event this year. Unused RIW funds cannot be carried over to next year. However, it will be possible to repurpose assigned funding to another use with advance approval from Rackham.

Last updated at 3:35 p.m. on 10/14/20

The Rackham Building

Rackham Study Spaces

Rackham study spaces are open for reservations! The Rackham Graduate School has converted some of its spaces into socially distanced “study spaces” consisting of one table and one chair. Students may reserve a study space using the Study Spaces Reservation System up to 48 hours in advance of when they want to study in the Rackham Building.

Spaces will be available to Rackham graduate students beginning Monday, September 14. Spaces will become available for other members of the U-M community in the weeks ahead.

How Can We Help?

In order to support the University of Michigan’s ongoing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, the majority of Rackham staff are working remotely. If you need assistance, please contact one of the following offices:

Conflict Resolution and International Student Support
734.936.1647
RackhamDeansInfo@umich.edu
Associate Deans Support and Scheduling
734.764.4405 or 734.763.0172
RackhamDeansInfo@umich.edu
Dean Solomon’s Support
734.764.4401
RackhamDeansInfo@umich.edu
Development and Alumni Relations
734.764.1125
rackham.alums@umich.edu
Student Services (Professional Development Recruitment, Engagement, and Partnerships)
734.647.7548
rack-prof-dev@umich.edu
rack-stu-engagement@umich.edu
Admissions
734.764.8129
rackadmis@umich.edu
Academic Records and Dissertations
734.763.0171
oard.staff@umich.edu
Financial Aid and Fellowships
734.615.3680
rackham.fellowships@umich.edu

Last updated at 3:35 p.m. on 9/11/20

Extended Rackham Academic Deadlines for Winter 2020 Term

In light of pressures resulting from COVID-19, and with the endorsement of the Rackham Executive Board, Rackham has extended certain academic deadlines for candidacy and dissertation filing for the winter 2020 term:

  • The winter 2020 term grace period for conducting the defense and filing the dissertation under winter 2020 registration has been extended until August 18.
  • The winter 2020 term deadline for completing candidacy exams under winter 2020 registration has been extended until September 2.
  • The deadline for master’s and certificate students to apply for graduation is April 21. The extended deadline for these students to submit all final required work for conferral of the degree or certificate in spring 2020 is May 15.

We have gathered this information into an FAQ, which includes important information about these deadline adjustments and related matters, including information from the International Center relevant to international students.

Last updated at 10:00 a.m. on 3/26/20

Adjusted Rackham Grading Policy for Winter 2020 Term

Details regarding the adjusted grading policy that was implemented for the winter 2020 term are available through the Office of the Registrar. The full text for winter 2020 term adjusted grading is available within Rackham’s academic policy.

Last updated at 10:15 a.m. on 3/27/20

COVID-19 News and Updates

  • Find resources, updates, and information of specific interest to graduate students in light of COVID-19.

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  • Rackham study spaces are open for reservations!

    Reserve Space Today