New and Returning Student FAQs

Here you'll find answers to some of the most frequently-asked questions for new students (freshmen, new grad students, transfers, etc.) and returning students (sophomores, juniors, grad students, etc.). The FAQs are grouped by topic.

Latest Updates

June 17: Updated question and answer: "What will happen if I violate University policies?" in the Other common questions group.

June 16: Updated answer to the "How will Summer Session II instruction be delivered?" question in the Questions about Summer and Fall 2020 courses group.

June 12: Added "Is Pre-Orientation Registration Open?" to the Questions for new students group.

Updated June 17, 2020, 4:30 p.m.

Academic Calendar

Undergraduate Fall 2020 semester: 

  • Classes begin Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020 
  • Classes conclude Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 
  • Final exams and/or final projects must be complete by Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 

Graduate programs have their own calendars. View Law Academic Calendar or contact your college/school/program for specific calendars. 

Entering first-year students will begin a phased approach to moving into residence halls over a three-day period, beginning Wednesday, August 26. Orientation will take place during this time period as well. Returning students living in campus housing will begin move-in Saturday, August 29 with a phased approach over a three-day period.


The academic calendar will remain the same. However, to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 virus spread, students who elect to travel outside of Spokane County for the Thanksgiving break are asked not to return to campus for the remainder of the semester, and to complete their fall semester assignments via distance technologies. To support students remaining off campus after the holiday, faculty will prepare their courses so that class sessions can be held utilizing remote/distance technology.

Dates to add/withdraw from classes and register for Spring 2021 have also been revised. Please see the updated calendar here.


Summer and Fall 2020 Courses

All Summer Session II courses, with the exception of those that involve lab/clinical instruction, will be delivered remotely (via distance). Under guidance received from the State for institutions in Phase 2, in-person science and health education courses that have a lab component, and lab and clinical course sections, will be offered/supported, provided all individuals have been educated on the Return to Campus protocols and agree to follow them, including self-monitoring, use of appropriate PPE, safe distancing, and practices that Schools or a department might request and enforce.

If you have specific concerns regarding your coursework for Summer Session II, please contact the faculty member assigned to your course, or the Dean’s office.

See more Summer Session dates and registration information.

Updated June 16, 2020, 5:30 p.m.


Effective teaching and learning – while emphasizing the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff – is and will be our guiding principle throughout the year. We seek to facilitate meaningful in-person and “live” interactions with faculty, while lowering the density in classrooms and providing all of our students and faculty the comfort of knowing they are learning in an environment where we are observing and practicing recommended health and safety protocols. Many of our students and faculty engage in learning and research in labs, studios and other hands-on classes, which are difficult to fully recreate in virtual environments. Flexibility and adaptability will be hallmarks of our approach: some classes may be held using a hybrid approach, with students attending classes in person on some days and remotely on others. Some classes will be online, using best practices for student engagement in this setting. Key to our plans is the ability to adapt as circumstances dictate, and to offer flexibility and access regardless of the limitations that this situation imposes upon our work.

Our faculty have and continue to invest in course design and delivery refinements to deliver on the learning objectives of each course. Classrooms and other learning spaces will be adapted with additional technology to further enhance these learning modalities.


The Fall Semester will not end after Thanksgiving, but will end on Friday, Dec. 18., as originally planned. In order to mitigate the risk of the COVID-19 virus, our plan is that all classes following Thanksgiving Break will be taught online, using remote/distance technologies. Gonzaga will ask students who elect to travel outside of Spokane County for the Thanksgiving Break not to return to campus for the remainder of the semester. Our goal is to decrease the chance of introducing the virus at just the point where students are taking final exams and completing end-of-semester projects.  

Please see the question “I plan to leave Spokane County for Thanksgiving, will I receive a refund for housing and dining plans?” for more information. 


We plan to have residence halls, housing and other campus facilities (examples include all academic buildings, dining options, health center, fitness center, libraries, etc.) open for the entire fall semester, subject to changes and/or other modification that may be necessary to respond to public health and/or other government authority considerations. Please know we are making decisions guided by the health and safety of our community and academic success of our students. 

Specific information on the presentation of all classes is under development, and we will share that information as soon as it is confirmed. 

Health and Safety

Employees: Please contact your healthcare provider. Also, please contact the Human Resources benefits team (via

Students: Please contact GU Health and Counseling Services at 509-313-4066.

Please also see question for "Will students with COVID-19 need to isolate?"

If you are sick with COVID-19 or you suspect you are infected with the virus, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to other people.

1) Stay home except to get medical care.

  • Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. Do not leave your residence, except for getting medical care.
  • Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Take care of yourself: Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
  • Stay in contact with your healthcare provider: Call before you get medical care and seek help immediately if you have trouble breathing or think it is an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

2) Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.

  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. If you must be around other people or animals inside or outside the home, wear a cloth face covering.
  • Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Until we know more about this coronavirus, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.

3) Monitor your symptoms.

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 fever, cough, or other symptoms.
  • Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. Spokane Regional Health District may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.

4) Call ahead before visiting your healthcare provider.

  • Call ahead: Many medical visits for routine care are being postponed or done by phone or telemedicine.
  • If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep themselves and other patients from getting infected or exposed.

5) Wear a cloth face covering if you are sick.

  • You should wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
  • You don’t need to wear the cloth face covering if you are alone. If you can’t put on a cloth face covering (because of trouble breathing, for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This will help protect the people around you.

6) Continue to practice other health and safety measures to care for yourself and protect others. The CDC also advises you to:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds immediately after. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean your hands often. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. Soap and water are the best options, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home. Wash these items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom; wear disposable gloves. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but you should clean your bedroom and bathroom, if possible. If a caregiver or other person needs to clean and disinfect a sick person’s bedroom or bathroom, they should do so on an as-needed basis. The caregiver/other person should wear a mask and disposable gloves prior to cleaning. They should wait as long as possible after the person who is sick has used the bathroom before coming in to clean and use the bathroom. High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
  • Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use household cleaners and disinfectants. Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant. Be sure to follow the product instructions for safe and effective use. For comprehensive information about cleaning and disinfection guidance, visit the CDC Detailed Disinfection Guidance page.
Updated June 7, 2020


We are working with Spokane Regional Health District and other professionals to ensure that classrooms, and other spaces where teaching and learning take place are designed with physical distancing in mind. Physical distancing is also being developed for common areas, such as the Foley Center Library, the Hemmingson Center, McCarthey Athletic Center and other shared spaces.


Everyone must be an active participant in the effort to stem the risk of contracting and spreading the disease. Important steps and risk-reduction factors include:

  • As an institution we are adopting physical distancing protocols, and effective cleaning and disinfecting practices.
  • We have set aside several on-campus facilities to house students if isolation is necessary due to contracting the virus.
  • We will follow Spokane Regional Health District contact tracing protocols, and have spaces designated for quarantine of those who may have been exposed.
  • Employees are asked to monitor their health daily, attest to their health status before returning to work, and follow prevention protocols as outlined in the Employee Return to Campus Plan.
  • Health and prevention training, reminders and educational materials will be provided to students, staff and throughout campus.
  • We are committed to supporting our students in the event of illness and have our own Health and Counseling Center on campus.
  • Spokane has two major medical centers with which we work closely when our student need emergency care; both are located within 3 miles of campus.

New Students

Pre-Orientation Programs are currently being re-evaluated in light of COVID-19. Registration will not occur Wednesday, June 10 at 6 p.m. PST.

Follow @ZagFirstYear on Instagram or visit our for the latest information.


Entering first-year students will begin a phased approach to moving in to on-campus residence halls over a three-day period, beginning Wednesday, August 26. New Student Orientation activities designed to introduce students to the campus, fellow Zags and opportunities to enrich their academic experience will take place in phases along with move in beginning on August 26. More details will be communicated to incoming first-year students through our First Year Experience Program team.

We know the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic makes the transition to Gonzaga especially challenging for new students this year. We've set up a hotline to help you and your family get the information you need quickly. 

Tuition and Finances

Students may defer admission for a semester or one academic year. Learn more about the deferment process. Scholarships are reassessed each academic year, but usually maintain or increase. The FAFSA must be filed again.


Please also refer to the question “Will classes be in person or remote learning?”  

Tuition has been set regardless of the method of instruction and will not be refunded in the event instruction occurs remotely for any part of the Academic Year.  

If you have had financial challenges, please consider filing a financial aid appeal. Here is a link to the appeal process, and here is a link to the special condition appeals form.

Tuition adjustments will continue to be available to withdrawing students depending on the date of withdrawal as set forth in the University’s policy on tuition adjustment and withdrawals.

Prior to student bills being issued in July, we anticipate various fees will be reviewed and may be modified to reflect potential changes to the associated activities.

Housing and dining rates have been set for the academic year, and students will be billed accordingly.  This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are asking students who leave Spokane County for Thanksgiving break not to return to Gonzaga’s campus until January when Spring Semester begins (courses will be delivered virtually for all students during this time).  Gonzaga will provide a credit, upon request, on the student’s account for the unused portion of room and board should students elect to leave at Thanksgiving and not return until the new semester.  The University will provide more information about the process to request this room and board credit in late September. Students requesting a credit will be unable to access their room or use meal plan options (excluding the use of Bulldog Bucks) from Thanksgiving until the new semester. This credit will apply only to those students who complete the application and associated steps to formally relinquish access to their room for the break (though all students who are returning for Spring semester may leave their belongings in their rooms.)


Students who do not leave Spokane County for Thanksgiving are welcome to stay on campus for the remainder of the fall semester. 


Should a public health or governmental authority order the closing of on-campus residence halls and University rental units for more than one week, the University may establish a proportional refund for applicable housing and dining plans, depending upon the specific circumstances.   

We recognize this difficult time will have a serious impact on the income for many. Gonzaga’s Financial Aid Office is available to help. Please complete the Special Conditions Appeal form and send it to Financial Aid at  You can learn more about the Special Conditions Appeal process here

Other Common Questions

You may still be able to complete your fall semester coursework, as most courses will be offered through distance learning as well, and some courses will be offered exclusively online. Please contact your advisor to explore if distance delivery will work for your class schedule.

If you are unable to attend via distance delivery, students may defer admission for a semester or one academic year. Learn more about the deferment process.


Every member of our community is expected to be an active participant in the effort to mitigate risk and protect one another. As a Jesuit, Catholic, Humanistic institution, the University has confidence that community members will treat the situation in which we find ourselves with regard to COVID-19 seriously.

During this time, the institution will have limited tolerance for conduct in violation of our community policies and expectations, which can be found in the Student Code of Conduct.

Updated June 17, 2020


Questions and answers around Fall 2020 Study Abroad can be found here.


If your question hasn't been answered in this FAQ, please let us know.