SAIC COVID-19 Student FAQs

If you don’t see answers to your questions below, please visit the General FAQ page or email There are also many useful resources on the Remote Learning Resources page.

This information was last updated on Thursday, April 8. 


All full-time domestic students are automatically enrolled in SAIC's student health insurance plan. Click here to learn more about coverage this spring.

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will allow eligible students–those who are registered as full-time–to opt in or out of the U-Pass program for the spring. To opt in or out of the spring U-Pass, you must respond to the official email sent to your SAIC email address. Please note: SAIC does not have jurisdiction over the CTA U-Pass program. The CTA administers the U-Pass program for degree-seeking students at Chicago-based colleges and universities.

All international students and full-time domestic students (including those enrolled in summer 2020 classes full time) are automatically enrolled in the student insurance plan. Click here for more information.



To facilitate social distancing and de-densify our campus, in addition to running some courses all-online and others in a modified in-person format, students will attend classes with staggered start times. Please check your class schedule and make sure you review these updates to your class meeting times. 

Faculty will excuse any absence from in-person course activity when a student is ill, has any symptoms of illness, or is engaging in a precautionary quarantine. Instead, faculty will issue students alternative assignments or activities to stand in for any in-person content that is missed. To the extent that their health permits, students should continue keeping up with online course activity and independent work while they are studying remotely. The attendance policy for 2020-2021 has undergone significant updates and can be reviewed in the 2020-2021 SAIC Student Handbook.

As a result of discussions with Student Government and the Graduate Senate, SAIC has decided to revise its audit policy for currently enrolled students whose spring 2020 semesters were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning in the spring 2021 semester, undergraduate students entering their second, third, or fourth years in fall 2020 and second-year graduate students may audit six credits worth of courses either during their enrollment or within two years of graduation. Click here to learn more.

SAIC is following our typical grading and evaluation processes for this school year. Students will ultimately receive grades of Credit or No Credit based on their satisfying a course's stated requirements. More information on grades and grading can be found in the 2020-2021 SAIC Bulletin.

Critique Week for graduate students is scheduled for the week of May 3–7. Only the courses that typically meet during Critique Week (Contemporary Practices, First-Year Seminar (English), Art History Surveys, English for International Students, and Academic Access Program courses) will meet during this week. 

As a result of the disruption to off-campus course options due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, SAIC will automatically waive any remaining off-campus credit requirements for all enrolled seniors. Click here to learn more.

SAIC facilities will be open in the fall and spring semesters. Please contact each resource for hours of operation. Generally, shops and other making spaces are available to all students, no matter the course type they are taking. The exceptions would be making spaces that are linked to enrollment in specific courses. As is the case in a typical semester, such spaces would be limited only to access by course participants.

Academic advisors are available to meet with students remotely. Email your advisor to schedule a phone appointment or Google Hangouts meeting. Generally, advisors are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. CT. If you have general advising questions or do not know who to contact, email or call 312.629.6800.



Inaugurated by Anita Sinha, Chair of the Board of Governors of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and supported by faculty, staff, alums, and friends of SAIC, an emergency relief fund has been established for students. Students may apply to this grant fund to support their emergency needs caused by the COVID-19 health crisis, including living expenses, online learning needs, and food assistance. These awards are not loans; they neither accrue interest or need to be paid back. All monies raised for the Student Emergency Relief Fund will go directly to students.

Students seeking support from either the Student Emergency Relief Fund or the CARES Act should complete this form. Each request will be considered in relation to all requests, with priority consideration given to students of greatest need.

CARES Act funds are available to students who are eligible for federal financial aid and demonstrate financial need based on a filed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). SAIC will ensure that the entire $1 million allotment received from the federal government for student support will be distributed to eligible applicants. Funds are available until that time. Click here for more information on this process.

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting – Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students – Public Announcement

On July 7, 2020, SAIC received notification from the Department of Education that its application for $1,083,887 in emergency financial aid grants to students was approved for funding. SAIC presents the following information, which fulfills the disclosures required by the US Department of Education in connection with the receipt and disbursement of CARES Act Funding to eligible students. 

SAIC signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the Department of Education for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund ("HEERF") emergency financial aid grants. In keeping with the terms of the certification, the SAIC will use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide emergency financial aid grants to students. As of March 31, the School has distributed a total of $1,019,200 in CARES emergency grants to students, or 802 students have received CARES emergency grants. SAIC estimates that approximately 1,900 students are eligible to participate in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. Students have been provided with the following instructions and guidance concerning CARES Act funding.

On July 17, 2020, SAIC requested that all eligible students complete an online application by August 7 in order to receive a CARES grant in the amount of $300. Funding decisions will prioritize students with the greatest need. Distributions are being processed soon after applications are received. Once the application deadline passes, a second round of funding will prioritize students with the greatest need. Those students who receive the initial $300 will remain eligible for additional funding, contingent on their level of need. SAIC urges all students who are eligible to apply. Our second round of funding will ensure that we distribute the entire allotment received from the federal government for student support to eligible applicants.

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting – Institutional Aid
On July 29, 2020, SAIC received notification from the Department of Education that its application for $1,083,887 in Institutional Aid was approved for funding. SAIC presents this quarterly (and final) report for the period ending September 30, 2020, which fulfills the disclosures required by the US Department of Education in connection with the receipt and disbursement of CARES Act Funding for Institutions. 

Whether you choose to return to campus or study exclusively online, you remain eligible for merit scholarship and financial aid packages. If you plan to be part-time, or anything other than 15 credits, you should fill out the Early Aid Adjustment form on the Student Financial Services (SFS) website. This will prompt SFS to reevaluate your aid and provide you with that information. If a student attends part-time and has a merit scholarship, it still applies and will be prorated. Students should contact Student Financial Services about federal aid or other non-SAIC scholarships and grants that may be impacted by credit changes.



In order to physically distance and to attend to the health and safety of the community, residents may not have visitors or overnight guests with the exception of having one guest on their official move in day.

Residents will only have access to their assigned residence hall.

In order to provide an environment conducive to social distancing, the following residence hall spaces will be closed. For spaces that remain open, there will be posted maximum occupancy limits for the spaces. Please note, this list is subject to change:  

162 building
Exercise Room: Closed
Siragusa Gallery: TBD
Media Room:Closed
Nuveen Center for International Student Learning: Closed (will be conducting programs virtually)
Quiet Study Space: Closed

Jones Hall
Media Room: Closed

The Buckingham*
*SAIC students are expected to refraining from using these spaces
Sky Lounge: Closed
Basement Study Space: Closed
Fitness Center: Closed



All appointments are now virtual appointments. We can talk with you on the phone or through Google Hangouts. Follow the steps below to schedule your appointment:

  • Log onto Handshake, select “Career Center,” then “Appointments,” then “Schedule a New Appointment.”
  • Send your advisor your phone number before the scheduled time of your appointment.
  • Email or message your advisor through Handshake if you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment.
  • If you would like your advisor to review a document, resume, or portfolio, please send your advisor the attachments by email, share links to your websites, or share information through Google shared documents.

Begin your search on Handshake, where new jobs are posted daily. CAPX advisors are here to help you with your search, so make an appointment to meet with an advisor on Handshake through the steps listed above.

The CAPX team is working to provide virtual programs for students and alums like Expert Exchange and the Fulbright Information Session. Log onto Handshake and visit the events page for updates.



International Affairs staff are committed to providing support to you, and we are here to answer any questions you have via email, phone, or video appointment. Please note that we continue to monitor the government agencies that provide oversight to international students in the U.S., and we will notify you of any changes that may impact how you manage and maintain your status. If you have additional questions, please email and an advisor will reach out to you as soon as they are able.