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Housing and Phased Return FAQ

Have a question regarding the phased return? Read our FAQs.

Fall Housing Frequently Asked Questions

What are my housing options for the fall semester?

There are three options for housing, and all students must select one:

  1. Living on campus.
  2. Obtaining permission from Housing and Residence Life to live at home and commute to campus pursuant to an existing exemption from the four-year residency requirement.
  3. Living at home and taking all courses remotely.

Other than those students approved for an exemption (referenced in No. 2 above), students who are attending classes in-person are required live on campus.


If a student chooses the remote-learning option for the fall semester, what will happen to their fall housing assignment for the spring semester?

Students with a housing assignment for the fall semester who choose to live at home and take all classes remotely for the fall will have their housing assignment reserved for the spring 2021 semester.

Does it matter where second- and third-year students live off campus between August 18 and September 11 before returning to campus in September?

It is presumed that students will be living at home during this period of time because of the quarantine requirement outlined in the Paladin Promise.  Regardless of where students live, we expect Furman students to be good neighbors and practice physical distancing and other safety measures, including adhering to the Paladin Promise.  If students return to Greenville for this temporary period, they should not be accessing the Furman campus for any reason.  We are eager for our second- and third-year students to return to campus, but it is essential that we keep the density on campus lowered for the first four weeks of the semester.

Can students choose the remote-learning option and live off campus locally for the entire fall semester?

Furman’s four-year residency requirement is still in effect.  Therefore, only students who have been approved for an off-campus housing exemption should be living in the Greenville community for the fall semester.

The purpose of providing a remote-learning option is to allow students who have concerns about their health and safety a way to continue their academic coursework and other academic-related experiences at their homes. Consequently, students who choose the remote-learning option should not be on campus for any reason during the fall semester. In addition to academic buildings, the PAC, dining facilities, athletic facilities, residence halls, the Trone Student Center, in-person library access, and in-person club and organization activities will not be accessible to remote-only students.  These students’ Furman ID cards will be deactivated for the fall semester, removing access to Furman facilities.

Providing the remote-learning option to students requires that we make adjustments to our staffing, classrooms, dining, housing, and programs and services for the fall semester, so it is essential that we have an accurate record of students’ housing selection by August 10 via the Fall Student Return Plan. We are relying on your selection as we plan for the return of all students, whether in person or remote.

If students, including those living off campus, put other Furman students at risk by, for example, hosting social gatherings and parties at their homes or apartments, they will be subject to student conduct action up to and including expulsion.  Abiding by the Paladin Promise is going to be essential to the health and safety of the Furman community, and ultimately the successful completion of any in-person, on-campus learning for the fall semester.

If, at some point, Furman must send resident students home for the remainder of the fall semester, will room and board be refunded?

Refunds of tuition, room, and board are available up until the day before the first day of class, and following that, refunds follow this schedule.  Notwithstanding such schedule, if Furman decides that a switch to remote learning is in the best interest of the campus community, then Furman intends to offer pro-rated refunds for lost use of room and board.

Phased Return to Campus Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Furman delaying the return of second- and third-year students until September 11-13?

We are eager to have all students back on campus, but are taking this phased-return approach to reduce campus and classroom density and the opportunity for viral transmission, while allowing us to test and assess health and safety systems and protocols and to make adjustments as needed.  Our Public Health and Safety Advisory Group has advised that the four weeks from first-year student arrival until second- and third-year students arrive on campus will ensure adequate testing capacity, validate contact tracing, and provide for essential isolation and quarantine space to address any unforeseen outbreaks. It will allow us to measure and evaluate increases in baseline infection, respond accordingly, and ensure the safest outcomes, both for the students on campus and for those joining us in September.

Why did Furman choose second- and third-year students to be the students with the delayed return to campus?

Deciding who to bring back first in a phased approach was difficult. In the end, we decided that bringing first-year students was important, as the first year is crucial to a successful start to college. We also selected the seniors, in part, because they live apart from and interact less with first-year students (both in housing and in classes). Together, this reduces density, decreases the chances of exposure, and allows us to test our protocols and react more quickly to potential outbreaks.

We understand this answer may not be satisfying, and apologize for any disappointment and frustration caused by this decision.  We truly are trying our best to address an incredibly challenging situation and bring everyone back to campus as soon and as safely as possible.

Can second- and third-year students who are approved early arrivals attend class in person starting August 18? 

Unfortunately, no.  All second- and third-year students will need to participate in remote learning until September 14.  This also applies to other academic-related experiences, such as research and music lessons.  We are doing this to ensure that second- and third-year students have equitable academic experiences, and to reduce density in the academic buildings.

Second- and third-year students approved to be on campus before September 11 may utilize non-academic facilities and in-person services, such as the PAC, dining facilities, library, and the Trone Student Center. Students who have been approved as early arrivals may also begin any employment on campus. Otherwise, second- and third-year students may not return to campus early to work.

How does the phased return plan affect new transfer students?

New transfer students, regardless of class year, should move-in during new student orientation and attend courses in person, unless the course is listed as online only.

How does the phased return plan affect commuter students?

First-year and fourth- and fifth-year commuter students are approved to attend courses in person and utilize non-academic facilities and in-person services, such as the PAC, dining facilities, library, and the Trone Student Center.  Second- and third-year commuter students will need to participate in remote learning until September 14. This remote learning also applies to other academic-related experiences, such as research and music lessons.  Second- and third-year commuter students must also wait to access non-academic facilities and in-person services until September 11.

Why are student-athletes allowed to arrive early? 

Furman competes athletically in a NCAA Division I model and as such, we follow the health, safety, and preparation for competition guidelines set by the NCAA and Southern Conference.  As a result, we agree to bring student-athletes back early to complete all of their extensive health screenings for their particular sport (including the required COVID-19 testing), and initiate the supervised workout/practice regimens needed to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics.

Other approved early arrivals include international students, teaching interns, ROTC, Resident Assistants (RAs), First-Year Advisors (FRADs), Orientation Staff (O-staff), and Pathways Peer Mentors.

How do students get their textbooks if they are not on campus for the start of classes on August 18?

Students may place their textbook orders directly with us at the Furman Bookstore.  Students will have the option to select their courses and view the required and recommended titles for each course. Rental, digital, and purchase options will be displayed. Free shipping to customers is made available once the shopping cart reaches $50.  Students also have the option to use their financial aid or charge to their student charge account when purchasing textbooks directly from us. Not only does this remove the burden of not being able to afford course materials all at once, but it puts required textbooks in students’ hands on the first day of class.

The university will closely monitor the evolving circumstances related to COVID-19, along with rapidly developing scientific knowledge and medical resources, to determine the appropriateness for adjustments and contingencies. For general questions about the fall semester, please email