Re-Opening: Frequently Asked Questions

ATTENTION: On August 7, the university made the decision to move to all classes to online format for the Fall. The residence halls will be closed. We are working to update the FAQ section to reflect this change ASAP.

On this page, you will find the answers to common questions about enrollment, housing, student charges, athletics, and international students as these topics relate to the 2020 campus re-opening plan.


When will the new course schedules be available for students to review? How many classes will be online?

As of July 15th, the Office of the Registrar has updated the course schedule based upon responses from the faculty reflecting 80% of undergraduate courses being offered fully online, and the remainder being offered as a HyFlex option. This means that some students will take the courses face to face, while others have the option of taking it remotely. Please check your Bison Web account for your updated schedule.

I am an in-coming Freshman, how do I register for classes? I can't see my schedule.

Freshmen are registered for courses by the Office of Undergraduate Studies and program advisers, and will receive their schedules via Bison Web. Please routinely check your Bison Web account over the next several days for your updated schedule. 

Academic advisers are currently working on new student schedules.  Many of your schedules are already posted on Bison Web, however the remaining schedules will be posted by July 31st.  Your schedule as it currently appears on Bison Web is “in-progress” and may be modified through July 31st – due to approved transfer credit, AP or IB credits, changes in courses offered, etc.

I have a hold on my account. Can I still access my schedule?

Yes, students can view their schedules in BisonWeb with a hold on their account. However, they are not permitted to make any changes or add new courses to their schedule.

How do I access Bison Web to view my class schedule?

Steps to view schedule in BisonWeb:

  1. Log into BisonWeb
  2. Select Student Services
  3. Select Registration
  4. Select Student Detail Schedule
  5. Select a Term: Fall 2020
  6. Submit 


When is the Fall 2020 Semester Move-In?

After consultation with our public health faculty experts, District of Columbia officials, University leadership, and monitoring the status of the COVID-19 pandemic locally, regionally and nationally, we have made the very difficult decision to move all undergraduate courses for the Fall 2020 semester fully online, and non-residential. The residence halls will be closed, with the exception of The Axis, which is apartment living. Additional details will follow in the coming days to update your accounts.

With housing canceled for Fall 2020, will I be able to apply for housing in the Spring 2021?

Yes, The Office of Residence Life and University Housing will create a housing sign up for Spring 2021. The Spring 2021 housing sign-up application will be available early November.

Student Charges

Will there be a reduction in tuition costs now that classes will predominantly be held online?

We are aware of the significant financial impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on many of our students and their families. As we prepare for the Fall semester, the Board of Trustees is actively reviewing the University budget and current student charges and considering whether there is a way that we can provide further assistance to our students with the greatest financial need in this difficult time. We intend to share the results of these discussions with the campus community in the very near future.


Will Howard University sports be played in the Fall?

On July 16, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) announced the league will suspend all sports competition, championships and non-championships, for the 2020 fall season.  A decision is yet to be made on whether the fall sports will be moved to the 2021 spring semester. Student athletes will continue to have ongoing engagement with their coaches to ensure optimization of their physical and mental well-being as they continue their matriculation.

How does this decision impact Spring sports like Basketball?

At this time, the MEAC’s plan is to proceed with winter sports competition as scheduled, unless health and medical professionals advise otherwise. 

International Students

Am I permitted to enroll in online classes as an F-1 student?

Yes, in response to COVID-19, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has temporarily permitted schools to adapt their F-1 programs and school operations. Normally, international students are limited in taking online classes to count toward their full-time enrollment status. Until schools are able to resume normal operations, international students may take courses online/remotely.

What if I am unable to complete my courses or degree requirements as scheduled?

Students who need to extend their program completion date must contact the OISS and follow the standard extension process. Extensions must be reported in SEVIS prior to the current completion date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019. Students are also encouraged to consult with their academic advisors to work through the best plan of action to complete their degree requirements. For students who had expected to graduate and already applied for permission to work, the program extension could have significant impact on your eligibility to obtain or use those employment benefits. We do implore you to contact the OISS to speak with an advisor as soon as possible.

What happens if I am unable or do not want to maintain a full-time course load?

All active F-1 & J-1 students must continue to maintain a full course load during the fall and spring semesters. For students who are facing difficulties with completing coursework online, we do implore you to utilize all available resources to bolster your academic success. This includes maintaining communication with your school/college’s advising unit, utilizing office hours, virtual tutoring and study skills, and so forth. If you are unable to maintain a full-time course load due to health reasons or the suspension of certain programs, please consult with the OISS before making any final decisions to adjust your enrollment status.

For students who would be able to enroll full-time but prefer not to for the time being, your SEVIS record may be terminated and you must prepare to depart the US (if still present in the US). When you are prepared to return to Howard for a later semester, you will need to submit a Former Student Returning application, and (if readmitted) obtain a new Form I-20 or DS-2019 to document the remainder of your studies. Again, please consult with the OISS before taking official action.

Will I be able to resume my studies this fall?

Yes, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will allow continuing international students to pursue their full-time classes as scheduled, whether classes are delivered in-person, online, or through a hybrid format. You may view the university’s fall reopening plan via As instructional plans and SEVP guidance evolve, the OISS will continue to assess immigration options for international students enrolling this fall.


Where can I find a directory of campus contacts?

The following list includes links to frequently requested departments:
Student Financial Services (Financial Aid)
Student Affairs
Residence Life
Office of Off-Campus Housing
Student Health Services
Student Activities