UMass makes changes to academic calendar

Students express their concerns for the next academic year and graduation.


Students at Graduation 2021. Photo courtesy of UMass.

Following an email from the Office of the Provost, UMass announced it will be making numerous changes to next year’s academic calendar. These changes include a post-Labor day start-date, extended winter break, and a later end to Spring semester. 

According to the email sent to the entire student body, the changes will help accommodate students who choose to take for-credit courses over the Winter session by extending it to six weeks, rather than the formal 3 ½ week session. 

Six weeks allows students to learn the material and progress through the class in a more preferred manner,” the email read.

Winter session courses are advertised as a way to “check off a gen ed over winter break,” according to the UMass Winter Session website. These classes are done through University Without Walls

Many students do not agree with this decision, including junior Jeanne Henchy.

Henchy, an Early Childhood Education major, understands that Winter session courses are more cost efficient, and believes that, “UMass is making this change to make more money rather than for the welfare of their students.”

According to the University Without Walls’s website for tuition and fees, Winter Session courses cost an extra $239/credit, totalling $734 per credit hour. Regular Fall and Spring semester courses only cost $495/credit.

Many students have also expressed concern over the new graduation date, which is now set for Memorial Day weekend. Since Henchy will be a senior next year, she and many of her peers are unhappy with the later date.

Henchy has an off-campus lease that ends on May 26th, followed immediately by commencement on the 27th.

“This leaves very little time between finals and graduation to pack up my entire apartment and move all of my things out when my hometown is three hours away,” she stated.

Henchy went on to say, “I shouldn’t have to worry about moving out of my apartment during my last final exams of college and while I’m trying to celebrate my completion of college. There should be a buffer time to decompress, celebrate and have time to move out.”

According to the Office of the Provost, the revision was “aimed to benefit students academically in a variety of ways.” However the decision seems to have been met with more disapproval than intended. 

Henchy also empathizes with students who may not have the convenience of being a car-ride away from home.

“I can’t even imagine the difficulties this would pose for people who have a lease that ends even earlier or for out of state and international students who have a lease off campus,” said Henchy.

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