At the end of June, the Minerva administration released the 2020-2021 Student Handbook and a Document of Changes to the handbook. Most of this year’s changes reflect updates already communicated to the student body such as atypical COVID-19 pandemic operations, calendar dates, and tuition adjustments. 

The 2020-2021 handbook changes also include important academic policy updates. Especially relevant changes include: 

  • The Course Drop Deadline has been moved from eight weeks after the start of the semester to 4 weeks after the start of the semester. The stated reason is that the previously allotted time period “is too late for students struggling with a higher course load to not have ramifications in all their courses.”
  • Undocumented absences are no longer allowed in Tutorial classes.
  • The petitions to return from leave (voluntary or mandatory) must now be received by January 15 for returning in the fall semester and September 15 for returning in the spring semester
  • The deadline for Major, Concentration, and Minor Submissions is now March 15th, two weeks earlier than before.
  • Taking more credits than the typical course load requires approval from the Petition Review and Policy Committee before students can register for courses. The typical course loads for each year remain unchanged:
    • 17 units per semester for first-year students — equivalent to four four-credit Cornerstone Courses and the required one-credit ICC.
    • 13 units per semester for second-year students — equivalent to three four-credit Core or Concentration courses and the required one-credit ICC.
    • 14 units per semester for third-year students — equivalent to three four-credit Core or Concentration courses and the required two-credit Capstone Seminar.
    • 12 units per semester for fourth-year students — equivalent to two four-credit Core, Concentration, or Tutorial courses, and the required four-credit Capstone Seminar.
  • The ICC credits which M’23 and M’24 will accumulate are not considered alternative credits. M’23’s and M’24’s can still apply for and receive up to eight credits from IL199 internships, civic projects, or other work. 

Additionally, new fines were introduced regarding violations of Minerva housing processes: students who do not complete arrival modules or who leave a city early will now be fined $100. Students who move out of Minerva housing without checking out and completing the Unit Condition Report will be fined $50.  

The Document of Changes follows efforts by the Associated Students of Minerva (ASM) both this year and previously to promote communication transparency between administration and students. Minerva students do not have access to old student handbooks, neither on the Hub nor elsewhere, so identifying policy changes from year-to-year can be incredibly difficult. In previous years, the ASM brought this concern to the administration and, according to Ang Li-Lian an M’22 representative speaking on behalf of the ASM, the topic was brought up again this year. Following these discussions, the administration released the Document of Changes to accompany the new handbook.