ASPC’s FAQ for Fall 2020
Link to Submit Questions to the FAQ: https://forms.gle/rM4R8anMEyHHP6cA7
This document is meant to provide information regarding Fall 2020 for the student body from ASPC, the student government of Pomona College. This document is meant to be a living document, and should evolve over time.
Last updated: July 30th, 2020
In addition to this FAQ, please see Pomona’s FAQ for more information, which is also evolving.
Suggestions for sections to add? Questions? Contact email@example.com
How are faculty approaching the transition to online teaching?
The Online Teaching and Learning Committee (OTLC) is meeting weekly to discuss best practices for online instruction and academics in the fall. The committee is made up of faculty, deans, and the ASPC VP of Academic Affairs. It is charged with gathering both faculty and student input to make informed recommendations to professors on effective online pedagogy across the full range of courses at Pomona. See the committee’s recommendations below the next question.
How have students been part of academic planning for fall semester?
The OTLC has made recommendations on promoting student access to online learning in terms of equity, technology, and mental health. Between July 1 and July 10, the committee surveyed the Classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023 to better understand student experiences with online learning in Spring 2020.
How will courses be reevaluated for online instruction?
At the close of each academic year, the faculty votes to empower the Registrar to evaluate and approve courses over the summer. Generally, these are last minute changes or courses from visiting faculty hires that begin in the summer months. This year, the faculty did vote to give the Registrar this power. Generally, the faculty do have the opportunity to retroactively review and approve courses in the fall, but after the courses are live. Professors are working hard to change their courses to an online model. Recommendations by the OTLC will further inform this process.
Will lectures be recorded?
This depends on the specific course and professor.
How will senior thesis work?
We strongly recommend that you contact your major’s department chair with any questions involving major requirements or senior thesis in the upcoming year. Each department will handle these topics differently. Please let us know if for any reason you would like us to reach out to a department chair on your behalf.
Will Pomona seniors be allowed to conduct research on campus at any point between now and the beginning of the spring semester?
Nothing will be happening on campus until Spring 2021.
Can I take courses part-time?
Yes. Students who take fewer than three full course credits (or the equivalent) are classified as part-time. Members of any class year can take courses part-time.
With remote learning, will the fall semester still start early?
Yes, the academic calendar will still start on August 24th, with the intention that classes will end by Thanksgiving Break and finals the following week.
Have there been any online workshops, training, or planning to specifically accommodate and support students with ADHD, or other disabilities, for whom online learning and watching a lecture may be challenging? Overall, are there any training for professors to be more empathetic towards their students?
The Director of Accessibility Resources and Services, Mace Mikaele, and ITS have been working with faculty to provide training on how to make online lectures more accessible. Additionally, she’s hosted training sessions to help make material more digestible through an online format; her office has been building off of practices implemented last Spring to expand them and make accommodations, especially during an entirely remote semester, function better and more sustainably. If you would like to learn more about accommodations and how they’ll pan out next semester, please email Mace at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What recommendations will the OTLC make on adapting curricula to be manageable while we are remote?
The OTLC is currently crafting recommendations for faculty to adapt their courses for online instruction. We will update you with the specifics of these recommendations when they are available. They will likely include flexibility in curricula, opportunities for asynchronous learning, sharing resources for academic and mental health support, and having increased availability during non-course time for students to engage with mentors, coaches, and the professor.
How will Chemistry/EA/Music/Physics/Theater/etc. courses adapt for online instruction?
The college has released several videos with professors speaking on the topic of rethinking courses which are potentially difficult for online learning. See the YouTube playlist here.
Will there be a process that will hold professors accountable in making sure their class is following these recommendations?
Not really. Professors have a degree of independence in structuring their courses. To an extent, faculty coordinate their course offerings and curricula with their departments. Students will have the opportunity to give feedback through normal channels of course evaluation.
Will technology lending from ITS be available during the fall semester?
Yes. Students will be able to request laptops (both PCs and Macs), WiFi hotspots, external cameras, microphones, computer mice, and keyboards as needed through this form. The ITS Service Desk will also be available for technology help.
What software will be available to students?
Students can download Windows 10 and Microsoft Office Suite (PC or Mac) for free from On The Hub. Students can also connect remotely from almost any device to commonly used software and local files through Citrix Workspace. Available applications include Adobe Creative Suite, IBM SPSS, Mathematica, MatLab, Notepad++, R, Stata, and others.
Can I take classes at the other 5Cs, even CMC and HMC, where classes are being offered in-person?
Yes, if these courses are either online or hybrid (with students both learning online and in-person). As always, some non-Pomona courses require an approved PERM for Pomona students to enroll. Pomona students will not be able to take any 5C classes in-person.
When will updated course information be posted to the portal?
According to the Registrar, faculty have been asked to update their course offerings for Fall 2020. On July 30, the portal will be refreshed with updated course and section offerings, updated method of instruction (online; hybrid etc. for the other colleges, Pomona courses will be online only), updated days/timeslots, and updated locations (as applicable for other colleges). This is not a completely new registration for fall, and you will remain enrolled in any courses selected at the end of spring.
When will the add/drop period reopen for returning students?
According to the Registrar, the registration portal will reopen on Tuesday, August 4, at 8 a.m. PDT for rising seniors, on Wednesday, August 5, 8 a.m. PDT for rising juniors, and on Thursday, August 6, 8 a.m. PDT for rising sophomores. Each class will have 24 hours to make registration adjustments. Add/drop will re-open for everyone on Monday, August 17, one week before fall courses begin.
When will first-years register for courses?
You should be receiving information from the Registrar's Office about course registration. First-years will sign up for courses during the week of August 10. That is the week after the "add/drop" portal re-opens for incoming seniors, juniors, and sophomores. We believe you should be able to view your registration time on the my.pomona.edu portal. (Click on the "Student" link at the top of the screen, next to your name, then click on "My Registration.")
Will professors adjust their course times?
The main reason for the adjustment of course times is the need for cleaning classrooms between classes. Some other colleges in the 5Cs are planning to have courses partly in-person, and the consortium wants to promote cross enrollment. Faculty are being encouraged to look carefully at time-zone options, including late classes and office hours-type curricular options, particularly for international students.
Will professors adjust how many students are in their courses?
Some will. It is possible that a professor decides to lower the number of students in one of their courses for online instruction. In this case, the course will be emptied and all students will have the opportunity to re-enroll during the updated add/drop period. This information comes from a member of the Faculty Executive Committee and has not yet been verified with the Registrar.
Will the academic calendar remain shortened?
Yes. The Claremont Colleges agreed to change the academic calendar under the presumption that students would return to campus. As some colleges are still planning to have in-person instruction, and the consortium wants to allow for cross enrollment, Pomona will still follow the new academic calendar. The first day of instruction will be August 24, and the last day for all coursework will be November 24. Final exams will be completed by December 4.
If classes are being downsized to deal with the limitations of online learning, will we be removed from classes we’ve already registered for?
Are there plans in place to address situations in which a class a student needs to fulfill a major/graduation requirement is cancelled?
Not currently. There will be courses offered to fulfill all general education requirements. It is possible that the Academic Procedures Committee will be more open to considering student petitions on exceptions to these requirements, but don’t count on it. Any question regarding major requirements needs to be directed to your major’s department chair.
Will students be able to PERM into courses by coming into class on the first day via Zoom? If so, where would the Zoom link be provided?
Students will be able to PERM into classes on the first day of classes. However, attending a Zoom lecture while you’re trying to PERM into a class must be coordinated with the professor, as they will be able to provide you the Zoom link ahead of time. Zoom links cannot be found through the Pomona portal due to privacy issues, so we recommend you to email the professor ahead of time to get access to the link.
What will the grading policy be during the fall semester?
The college adopted a Pass/No Record Pandemic/Incomplete grading policy in Spring 2020 as a response to the unexpected upheaval of transitioning online. Incompletes were streamlined and no student was put on academic probation unless they were falling off pace to graduate. Currently, the plan is to have normal grades this fall. Members of the administration have stated that since students and faculty are now planning for online instruction in the fall, grades will return to the 12.0 scale. The OTLC is recommending to faculty that courses have more flexible curricula and grading given the nature of online instruction. How professors grade will transition along with how professors teach.
Is study abroad happening in Spring 2021?
That’s the plan. If you’re interested in applying, you need to schedule an advising meeting with a study abroad advisor to discuss your goals and interests for study abroad along with current risks; health, safety and travel considerations; and program operations. The college is also recommending that if you have a health or disability accommodation plan, you meet in advance with a study abroad advisor and program provider to learn about what current resources are and are not available at the programs and locations you are considering.
Will students be able to study abroad immediately after taking a leave of absence?
Generally, no. Study abroad policy requires that students be enrolled at Pomona in the semester prior to study abroad. However, the ASPC VP of Academic Affairs pushed for an exception to this policy in Fall 2020, and the Study Abroad Committee has decided to consider requests for exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Petitioners must meet with a study abroad advisor to discuss their plans and must demonstrate to the Committee that the semester following the leave is the only feasible semester for study abroad in their case. That said, it is advisable for students considering a leave for Fall 2020 to delay study abroad to Fall 2021 or Spring 2022.
Will students be able to study abroad in their senior year?
Yes. Students are eligible to study abroad through the first semester of their senior year (based on their credit standing).
If you have questions about taking a LOA or being part-time, please contact your class dean (Paola Ruiz-Beas (Class of 2024), Anthony Ferreria (Class of 2023), Tracy Arwari (Classes of 2022 and 2021))
What is the process for taking a leave of absence?
According to the college’s FAQs, “[s]tudents (not newly admitted students) who wish to withdraw or take a leave of absence may do so and receive a full refund depending on timing. The deadline for cancelling enrollment without losing any tuition or student body fees is Friday, August 21, the last business day before the start of classes on August 24. Students who decide to withdraw between August 21 and October 15 will receive a pro-rata refund of their tuition and student fees. Students who decide to withdraw after October 15 will not be eligible for a refund.” If you intend to take a leave, we recommend that you email Dean Anthony Ferreria, who will send over the relevant paperwork.
Will departments adjust their normal offerings of senior courses so as to accommodate students taking a leave of absence in the fall?
It's up to each department to adjust senior seminar/exercise course offerings required to graduate with a degree in Spring 2021. We recommend that you bring any concerns about fulfilling major requirements to your major's department chair. We have asked the Dean of the College to bring up this issue with department chairs generally. Please email us if for any reason you would like us to reach out to a department chair on your behalf.
How is this process different for taking a gap year?
In applying to take a gap year, you will also have to discuss your plans with your academic advisor and financial aid counselor. The deadline for applications is July 20.
Will I be able to transfer credits from another college or community college while on a leave of absence? Can I take online classes somewhere else?
Normally, students are able to get credit for courses they take at other institutions while on a leave of absence. That said, these credits must usually be approved by the Pomona department most similar to the relevant subject, and at least 16 credits of the 32 required to graduate from Pomona must be taken on campus. Additionally, students who transfer credits from another institution are “strongly advised to apply in advance for approval of the program of study” and, normally, “credit for online courses is not transferable.”
At the town hall on July 8, the Dean of the College stated that students who take a leave of absence in Fall 2020 will not receive Pomona credit for any coursework taken at another college. This decision is a departure from the above policy and has since been approved by the Curriculum Committee. However, an exception has been made for international students, who can receive transfer credit for in-person courses taken in their home country of residence.
Can I count transfer credits towards major requirements?
In regards to any transfer credits granted pursuant to the policy outlined in the last question, using them to fulfill major requirements depends entirely on department policy. Some departments require that a certain portion of all major credit is taken at Pomona. Each department is different. We recommend that you check your major’s department page or email the department chair.
When is the deadline for new students to withdraw from Pomona College?
According to the college’s FAQs, “[t]he deadline for new students to withdraw and receive a refund of their $500 fee deposit paid upon admission is August 1.” You’re allowed to withdraw from Pomona College at any point in the semester, but you must withdraw before the first day of the semester in order to get fully refunded.
Will this policy of forfeiting our deposit still apply?
As of now, this seems to be the direction that the College is heading. ASPC will try and get more clarification if this is something that can be adjusted.
If I’m a part-time student, will the college take any transfer credits from that semester at another college?
No. According to college policy, “Students currently enrolled at Pomona College will not be awarded transfer credit for work completed at another college or university during the regular semesters. Students who take an approved leave from the College may transfer such work, subject to the restrictions described in the Transfer Credit section.”
Are first years allowed to take a semester break?
Unfortunately, no. First years can defer enrollment by a year, but they may not take a leave of absence for one semester. There are many reasons for this, including ID1 only being offered during fall semester and, more importantly, research which shows that students are better prepared for academic success if they do not take a break from school. It is also important to note the colleges’ enrollment concerns for Fall 2020. We do not believe that this policy will change for any reason.
If I am part-time in the Fall 2020, will I still be able to stay at Pomona for an additional 9th semester to finish my degree requirements (Fall 2023)?
According to college policy, “[s]tudents who believe that they will need more than eight semesters to complete graduation requirements are required to submit a petition explaining their rationale along with a graduation plan to the Academic Procedures Committee no later than the last week of their seventh semester of enrollment.” Also, students are generally only considered for financial aid eligibility during their first eight semesters. “The Office of Financial Aid considers applicants for need-based grant eligibility beyond the eighth semester only if enrollment is essential to complete the minimum requirements for the first baccalaureate degree or major. Students who have been approved to enroll for more than eight semesters and who are recipients of financial aid will have a loan included on the Offer of Financial Aid in the amount of $5,000 per semester.”
If I take a semester off, does that impact my ability to be an athlete next semester?
No. Eligibility is only used when you are practicing or competing with your team. As long as you are a full-time student when you decide to return, you will be able to practice and compete with your team. As of right now, if you do decide to take a semester off, you will not be able to participate in certain team activities while you are on leave.
What is the chance that winter sports are cancelled?
The portion of winter sports that take place during the Fall semester are currently cancelled. As we move closer to the Spring semester, updated decisions will be made about starting winter sports during the Spring semester if we return to campus.
What are current plans for Semester PCIP in Fall 2020?
Students will still be able to apply for PCIP this coming fall semester, but with remote internships only. The college is currently finalizing plans and will be sending information out in the coming weeks.
Will students who take a leave of absence in the fall be prohibited from using CDO resources, including Handshake, meetings with CDO advisors, and attending recruitment events, during the duration of their leave of absence?
Students will still be able to have access to Handshake if they take a leave of absence. However, they may not have complete access to the Jobs module. This is because jobs registered through Handshake come with the stipulation that those that may apply/have access to its application must be a full-time student with the College. However, students may still attend events and have meetings with the CDO advisors if they choose to take a leave of absence.
How will club funding work for next semester?
Will students who take a leave of absence be able to maintain their status as club members and participate in club activities, events, etc? Will part-time students be able to participate?
Students that take a leave of absence are welcome to take a part in club activities -- there's nothing that is stopping them from doing so. Possible technical ramifications that may come from this are that their email won't show up in your roster on Engage, or that they may not be able to participate in competitions, tournaments, etc. (this would be determined by the tournament’s own rules). If your board approves of the student continuing to participate in your club, then that should be fine. Part-time students are able to fully participate in club activities.
What will club formation look like in an online instruction environment?
If you would like to start a new club, please email Dean Lopes (email@example.com ). He will provide you with all the necessary information and paperwork you need to start your club. You will need to draft a constitution, as well as secure a club advisor. Furthermore, to apply for funds through ASPC, you will need to fill out a Budget Request form through Engage. This form will be live right around the start of the Fall semester.
Will club activities continue in the Fall? For example, will there be ASPC elections?
For the most part, yes. This is entirely dependent on what club leadership chooses to do.
As for ASPC, we will continue to operate as normal and have weekly meetings on Thursday from 5:00pm - 6:30pm PDT. We will hold elections for the following positions: First Year Representative, Sophomore Class President, Junior Class President, North Campus Representative (which will be open to all first years and sophomores), and South Campus Representative (which will be open to all juniors and seniors).
If you have questions about taking a LOA or being part-time, please contact your class dean (Paola Ruiz-Beas (Class of 2024), Anthony Ferreria (Class of 2023), Tracy Arwari (Classes of 2022 and 2021))
If I take a semester off, what happens to financial aid?
If you take a leave of absence, you will no longer be associated with the College, so you will no longer receive aid for that semester and cannot be employed by the College.
Why does tuition still cost the same amount? What is the justification for this price when we aren’t able to get the same quality of education, residential life, and overall college experience?
In conversions with administrators, they have expressed that staff and faculty are working hard to redesign classes for remote learning. For this reason, students should expect a more robust learning experience than that offered in the spring. As for the overall college experience, ASPC has been and will continue to work hard to provide as much of this experience as possible given the circumstances. We welcome and appreciate any fresh ideas to improve this experience.
When will financial aid packages be made available?
Financial aid packages are being finalized as of right now, and the majority of students should be able to see what they’ve received/ what they may have to pay within the next couple of weeks. In order for you to receive your package within the next couple of weeks, please check FinAid47 to see if you’ve submitted all the necessary paperwork; if you have not, then you will receive your financial aid package after you do so.
Your financial aid package will also include an awarded stipend for housing costs during the Fall semester, and the rules of how your stipend was calculated are based by the guidelines on the college’s FAQ.
How does part-time enrollment impact your financial aid?
Students enrolled in less than 3 credits by September 4th, the 10th day of classes, will be considered part-time and will be billed per credit in terms of tuition. As for Financial Aid, students who enroll in between 1.5-3 credits will see no change in their Financial Aid for Room and Board but Tuition will change depending on the amount of credits that are taken. If you enroll in less than 1.5 credits, you will receive no institutional aid. Students should be aware that you are only allowed to receive financial aid for 8 semesters, so keep in mind the effects of part-time enrollment has on graduating in 8 semesters. If you are enrolled at the College for the semester, in any capacity (full time, part-time with aid, part-time with no aid), that counts as 1 of your 8 semesters of eligible aid.
If someone starts full-time but decides to go parti-time, what happens to their tuition? Will you be refunded for the difference?
You will be refunded fully if you switch your enrollment status before the first day of classes. After the first day, you will get a refund based on a prorated amount of days that you’ve been a full time student and will not be able to be refunded your security deposit.
How is the College’s overall budget spent, especially now that we are remote? Will we have an opportunity to learn about the College’s financials soon?
How and when will students receive their housing stipends that are meant to offset their living costs during this remote semester?
Your stipend will be a part of your financial aid package, which should be coming out (on a rolling basis) within the next few weeks.
Does the housing stipend come out of our refund, or will it be provided in addition to our refund?
The refund from the College is meant to cover housing and other living expenses students incur throughout the semester. Students will not receive a housing stipend in addition to the refund. Additionally, the refund comes from a national survey of estimated costs of living for the U.S. However, if you believe that this stipend is not enough to cover your expenses for the Fall semester, please contact your financial aid advisor ASAP. You are encouraged to reach out to them and explain your situation to get more funds to cover costs of living for next semester.
Can the July tuition payment be refunded if you decide to take a leave of absence by the August 21st deadline?
What do I need to pay by August 1st (especially if I don’t know if I’m either a part-time student or taking a leave of absence for next semester)?
How will the RA position continue remotely? What are its new parameters?
The RA position will continue into the fall semester capped at 6 hours a week. The role will largely be focused around community engagement via an online platform. If RA’s choose to take a leave of absence in the fall, they will have to reapply for the position whenever they return to campus.
What is the criteria for students receiving grants for student employment from financial aid?
With students working remotely and the likelihood of there being a limited number of positions will students be discouraged/prevented from having multiple jobs?
Students will be capped at holding one job for the fall semester. The College has also stated it will encourage supervisors to prioritize students on financial aid/those that need to make a work study contribution for the Fall semester. Additionally, jobs may have less hours than before, given that the majority of jobs traditionally available have been cut because they couldn’t have their role transferred online.
* PCIP also counts for the ‘one job’ that you could have next semester (as it is not a stipend based role, but rather an ‘hourly’ one)
What type of online jobs will be available?
Many jobs will be either run out of faculty departments (graders, mentors, TAs, etc.) or they will be through administrative offices (ITS, AARC, CDO, etc.). They will focus on trying to facilitate online events or online appointments that offices may have -- more details are yet to come.
However, all jobs that students can apply for will (and must) be available on Handshake. Please check Handshake routinely to see new jobs that may be posted for the Fall semester.
How will staff, specifically Dining Hall and Maintenance staff be affected by the recent decision of not returning on campus for the fall semester? How does this affect their jobs and will the college assist them in finding/keeping their jobs?
How will affinity and mentor groups connect with first year students?
The main question we are trying to figure out right now. How do we create spaces to integrate first years with each other and with other students?
Right now what we have is Zoom and technology. We have to be innovative, open minded, and creative. We also have to be intentional and committed to the cause.
What will affinity and mentor group training look like? Will it exist?
Each mentor program (including sponsor program) will fall into two buckets: Essential Services, Community Buckets. Dean Townes et. al. are working out how to train mentors on information from offices in essential services (such as Empower Center, Monsour, Campus Safety, HEO, Student Health). Want to create an online platform to train all students at once on essential services. As of 7/14 No decisions have been made.
How does the decision to have a fully online fall semester affect the legal situation for international students?
International students will no longer have to leave the country, given that the ICE has rescinded its modification to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). See below for information from the International Student Advisor, Carolina De la Rosa Bustamante.
“Continuing students – if you were enrolled at Pomona in Spring 2020 and enroll full time in Fall 2020 you will be able to maintain your SEVIS record in Active status regardless of whether you are in the U.S. or abroad, and despite Pomona going fully online for the semester.
“New students - your SEVIS records are currently in Initial status and cannot be “activated” while you are abroad. If you are enrolling at Pomona for the first time you will be able to do so from outside the United States. If you enroll at Pomona from abroad for the Fall 2020 semester, and come to campus in Spring 2021, I will be able to activate your SEVIS record in January. If you take a gap year I will activate your record when you enroll in Fall 2021. Activating your SEVIS record later will delay your eligibility for employment authorization required to do internships off campus, but you will still be eligible to do them later during your time at Pomona.”
Will international students be able to get transfer credit from another institution in their home country of residence?
Yes. An exception has been made to the no-transfer-credit policy decided by the college and the Curriculum Committee. Internationals students may study in person at an institution in their home country of residence to receive transfer credit. They will not receive transfer credit for courses taken in any other country, though. This exception is intended to reduce the burden on students living in vastly different time zones than Pacific Time.
What will happen to students at CCA?
As of now, the College is working with CCA to write up new rental agreements/contracts for students to continue to live in CCA, if they choose to do so. As of now, the College will not be subsidizing the cost of CCA, but the administration believes that the housing stipend provided through financial aid will pay for rent expenses. Students should receive adequate notice of this new leasing agreement, for the Fall semester, and what the last day is of their current lease well in advance.
If you believe that your housing stipend is not enough to cover the cost of rent, then please email your financial aid officer. They will try to work with you to adjust your stipend and help cover the true cost of living. Additionally, if this answer does not match the actual situation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more help.
What is happening with items that students stored with the college when we were sent home?
The college will continue to store people’s items free of charge continuing into the fall and (if we are online in the spring) the spring semester.
Will students have access to these items at anypoint?
If students want to gain access to their items/they are in absolute dire need of items in storage, students must email email@example.com. The process of shipping items to students will be handled on a case by case basis and Pomona will not cover shipping charges.
If students decide to take a leave of absence, will they have to pick up their stored items?
No. Students taking a leave of absence will not have to pick up their stored items. Pomona will continue to store items free of charge for all students.
Could we waive out of SHIP if we have health insurance coverage in our home state? If not, are we expected to pay out of pocket for the remaining cost of SHIP?
Yes, students can certainly waive out of SHIP if they will be at home and are covered under other insurance;oftentimes. Because insurance is locally-based, it may have more resources closer to the student’s permanent address. Information on doing so should have already been sent out, but if anyone has questions, they can contact DOS/ Celina Rosas.You may still choose to enroll in SHIP, but its services are limited to none outside of California because insurance is regionalized.
If I waive out of SHIP this semester because my insurance offers better coverage where I am, but I won’t once I return to Claremont for a (possible) Spring semester, can I re-enroll?
The College is working with Aetna to try and have a re-enrollment process open for next semester. In the meantime, you’re allowed to enroll in SHIP and pay later to cover the cost until you have a better idea if you want to stay on/off SHIP.
What mental health resources will Pomona be providing during this remote semester?
For the fall, there are a number of mental health resources for students, according to the Dean of Students Office:
Should the pandemic prevail, are our classes going to stay online or are there any measures in place to facilitate in person education again?
From now, especially if California and LA County are operating under its current legislation and conditions, classes will continue to be online.
How confident is Pomona in bringing students back for the spring semester?
Plans to discuss reopening will start sometime in October, so as of now, everything regarding the spring semester is quite uncertain.