EMU moves to summer semester format, bringing changes in the timing of billing and financial aid, but not class schedules

by Geoff Larcom, Published January 26, 2012

This year, Eastern Michigan University is reclassifying its spring and summer terms into a single summer semester that will embrace all of the previous class schedules and options.

The format change is being made to ensure EMU’s compliance with federal rules governing financial aid, thus preserving the ability of our students to receive federal financial aid each year.

Simply put, federal rules stipulate that students in a semester system with unequal term lengths need 25 hours of academic credit earned each year to maintain federal aid. But in a system with equal term lengths, such as three 15-week semesters, students can maintain aid as long as they are meeting the federal Satisfactory Academic Progress regulations.

Given the increasing number of students enrolling in spring and summer classes at EMU, along with the growing number of students on financial aid or taking reduced academic loads while working or raising a family, such a change is crucial at this time.

It is important to say: This change is being made on behalf of Eastern Michigan students. Most other peer institutions in Michigan operate under a similar, three-semester system.

As before, students will still have the option of taking classes for a 7.5-week session in May and June, a 7.5-week session in July and August, or classes that span both blocks, lasting 15 weeks (or the whole summer semester). The same number of classes previously offered will still be available in May and June, July and August, etc.

This change will take place following this winter semester, with the first crucial date for students being March 20, when registration for summer semester classes begins.

Here are some questions and answers regarding the new summer semester:

Q: Given that class options will be nearly the same for students, this sounds merely like a name change. What else will be affected?

A: From an academic scheduling standpoint, there is little change. But reclassifying spring and summer terms into one semester entails a wide variety of administrative changes, some of which will affect certain students. For instance, students who finish up their academic work at EMU with a 7.5-week class or two in June will not be able to claim an official June graduation date on their resume. Official graduation for the summer semester will occur at the end of the newly combined terms, in August.

In early February, the University will communicate directly with specific populations of students that may need particular types of documentation regarding degree completion (e.g. students who must apply for certifications or licenses to begin working) to assist them in that process.

Q: How does billing change?

A: Bills will be sent approximately April 15 for ALL summer semester classes students are registered for, regardless of start date, and be due May 4, the business day before classes start on May 7. Before, bills were sent prior to the spring and summer segments, depending upon which sessions students were enrolled in.

Q: What about financial aid? When will that be paid out?

A: Financial aid will be paid out for ALL summer registration approximately April 27, which is 10 days before the start of the summer semester. Previously, students taking spring and summer term classes would receive separate payments prior to each term.

Q: What will be considered full-time student status?

A: Taking a total of at least 12 credits during the summer term for undergraduates, (which could be in two, six-credit blocks or some other combination), and eight hours for graduate students.

Q: What is the maximum number of credits allowed in summer semester?

A: Like the fall and winter semesters, each of which lasts 15 weeks, the 15-week summer semester maximum will be 19 credits for undergraduates and 15 for graduate students.

Q: Are there any additional options within the summer semester in terms of class length?

A: Yes. Certain classes may be offered for 10 weeks, 12 weeks, or the standard, full-semester length of 15 weeks. However, the scheduling pattern for Summer 2012 will look much as it has in past spring and summer terms.

Q: What about housing? Will students only taking 7.5 weeks of classes have to stay in residence halls the whole summer semester?

A: No. Housing will be available commensurate with the half semester you are attending EMU. But you must register for your housing before the whole semester begins.

Q: When will graduation occur?

A: Students who finish their academic work in the new summer semester, regardless of when the last class ends, will be considered to graduate after summer semester, with an August degree conferral date. As is currently the case, students may request to participate in the April commencement ceremony if they can complete graduation requirements during the summer. Their other option will continue to be participation in the subsequent December commencement ceremony.

For further updates on the summer semester as the March 20 registration date approaches, please keep checking the website at emich.edu/summer  For questions, please email summer2012@emich.edu


Geoff Larcom



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