For Students

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Resources For Students

NEC is planning a return to in-person teaching and learning in the fall semester, augmented by technology-enabled instruction that provides increased agency and flexibility for students. Our planning process has continued apace, and we expect to update this page with a more specific framework for the fall semester on June 15, followed, on the week of July 1, by a comprehensive, detailed plan for each aspect of the fall semester. In the interim, we have added new, frequently-asked questions from students, for your reference. 

Frequently Asked Questions

fall 2020 semester

How has spending changed because of COVID-19, and how are tuition dollars are being spent?

As a nonprofit institution of higher learning, NEC’s priority is the education and care of our students. For that reason, the largest share of NEC’s expenses are directly related to teaching, learning, and student support.

As is the case with most institutions of higher education, tuition and fees do not cover the full cost of providing an NEC education.

Additionally, the cost of providing an NEC education has increased annually, and in response, the institution has historically made annual adjustments to tuition and fees. NEC’s expenses are holistic to the entirety of the student experience, providing for teaching, learning, student support services, academic support, health and wellness services, facilities and equipment, and more. All of these functions have continued throughout the COVID pandemic, and necessary additional actions to prioritize the health and wellness of our students have introduced additional expenses in the operation of the institution.

We are fortunate for an unparalleled community of alumni, donors, parents, and friends who are committed to supporting the institution philanthropically. Philanthropic support makes possible many student scholarships, and we are working to further strengthen financial aid through giving, even in these challenging times.

We are mindful of the impact of the COVID pandemic on our students, and have sought to assist our students through the creation of the Student Emergency Fund, which has provided three rounds of aid to students in need. We are also significantly increasing need-based financial aid for the coming year, and expect to share more information about this directly with students shortly.

Additionally, NEC’s administration has identified several key areas for cost reduction, which has reduced the impact, to the greatest degree possible, of the additional actions we have taken to respond to the pandemic.

Is there discussion of lowering tuition if we are only able to do online courses?

While we are preparing for any possible scenario, we continue to anticipate a return to in-person teaching and learning for the fall semester, augmented by exciting technology-enabled enhancements to our curriculum. We do not anticipate an online-only fall semester at this time.

What happens to my financial aid package change if I go inactive? If I’m an incoming student, what happens to my financial aid package if I defer?

Students who are approved to change their status from inactive to active are eligible for a renewal of their NEC scholarship, as per the guidelines on the NEC website.  Incoming students who are approved to defer for one semester are eligible for maintain their scholarship level for the Spring semester.

Will the student emergency fund continue to be available?

We know that family financial situations can change quickly, and have always worked with students individually to address difficult circumstances. If you are experiencing financial hardship, we encourage you to reach out to our Financial Aid team.

With US consulates and embassies closed, what is NEC doing to support our international students?

NEC has been in regular contact with new students about details related to the visa process. In addition, we are monitoring current travel and visa policies worldwide.  We are also members of NAFSA, a national advocacy organization about higher education in the United States for international students based in Washington DC, which gives us access to their resources and updates which we pass along to students. NEC has also been in contact with returning international students to verify information and offer assistance with details related to returning to the United States.

The Office of Student Life has been sending out surveys and emails to students about whether students are interested in a waiver or housing exemption. Can you give us an update about on-campus housing?   

We plan to open our residential facilities in the fall, and will do so in a format that reduces density and ensures the health, wellness, and safety of our student community. While we know that, for many students, the opportunity to live on-campus is appealing, we also know that some students may feel more comfortable living in other arrangements, and have been reaching out to students to evaluate their preferences. If you had planned to live in on-campus housing, but would prefer to make a change, please reach out to the Office of Student Services. We expect to have more information to share about NEC housing in a communication to students in mid-June.

Not all students have access to the same technology. From laptops and wifi connectivity to headsets and microphones, we know students run the full spectrum in terms of what they have and what they don’t have at their disposal. What can we do to help close the divide?

We are very much looking forward to offering a more technology-empowered teaching and learning experience in the fall, and we know that technology resources are crucial to making that experience possible. We are working on plans for key areas: significant technology enhancements for teaching and learning, new streaming technology enabling performances to reach new and diverse audiences, and personal technology. Overall, our goal is for these enhancements to empower creativity and collaboration, and we will share more specific information in early July.

What will dining look like for students living on campus?

We are planning to open the Green Room Cafe for the fall, and we are exploring new ways to operate the food service area, including order-ahead and takeout options, so that we can ensure safe distancing and reduce contact with surfaces. We will have more details to share with students in early July.

What options are NEC considering for ensembles?

Ensembles will be an important part of NEC’s return to in-person teaching and learning in the fall, and we expect to build on the strength of our chamber music and small ensemble program, for which NEC is renowned. We will have more to share in a planned update to students in mid-June.



Q: Am I required to attend/engage with online classes?

A: Yes. NEC is not shutting down, but rather, moving to a new, temporary mode of online teaching and learning, and you remain responsible for completing all required work.  In order to earn credit for the classes for which you are registered, you need to participate in your online courses.  

Q: How can I access courses?

A: Over the past two weeks, faculty have adapted their courses for online/remote teaching. While some faculty may choose to teach using an alternative platform, such as Zoom, the ITS department has provided all students, faculty, and staff with access to NEO LMS and Office 365 (once you log into your NEC account, you have access to the Office 365 suite of programs, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Teams, and more on any kind of device - desktop, laptop, mobile phone, both Mac and PC). 

Each of your teachers will be in contact with you directly with information specific to each class, ensemble, and studio lesson, etc. You may also check the Information Technology page for more information.

It is essential, also, that you check your NEC email regularly to make sure that you have all updated information. 

Q: Whom do I contact if I cannot access the online tools I need?

A: Please email if you are having trouble accessing any of the online platforms you need for your classes.

We know some students may have issues connecting without a VPN; if you need assistance with a VPN set up, please email

Q: Is Wednesday, April 1 still going to be a Monday Schedule?

A: No. Because of the extended spring break, next week’s schedule will be a regular, 5-day week, so Wednesday, April 1 will follow the usual Wednesday schedule. 

Q: Are we adding a week or changing the finals schedule?

A: No, we are not adding a week to the academic calendar. The last day of classes remains Friday, May 1, and finals will still take place May 4-6. We are working with faculty to confirm a schedule for finals, so you will receive specific information from individual teachers. 

Q: Are class times changing?

A: Because of the complexities of schedules, most faculty will teach their classes at the normally-scheduled time, but will create flexibility for students who live in different time zones.  As a result, some faculty may change the time of their classes, and will notify you directly if this is the case.  

Q: What if I am living in a different time zone? Will I still have access to classes?

A: Yes, you will still be able to participate in all of your classes. Faculty are able to use a combined method of synchronous and asynchronous learning, which means that they have the option of recording their classes so that students who are not able to attend at the designated time will be able to view the material on their own time. Please be in touch with your teacher directly if you have questions or concerns.  

Q: Can I still withdraw from a class this semester?

A: Yes, please email your academic advisor if you want to withdraw from a class. Withdrawals will be approved via email until 5pm EDT, Friday, April 17th.  

Q: How will Academic Advising work?

A: Your academic advisor will email the sign-up schedule one week before the start of your designated advising period. Advising appointments will take place via the Calls option in Office 365 Teams. Prior to your appointment, you will receive an email with your spreadsheet and details about your meeting. Advising and Registration has been delayed by one week; all advising and registration dates can be found at

Q: Can I take my classes as Pass/Fail as opposed to a letter grade this semester?

A: Given the extraordinary circumstances this semester, NEC will institute a new Pass/Fail option for students, as per the following:

Studio lessons - these will continue with letter grades
Small and Large Ensembles - these are already graded pass/fail
Courses - these will continue with letter grades, unless students select a pass/fail option

Students may select the pass/fail option for classes until Friday, 17 April, which is also the last day to withdraw from classes. By choosing this option, students will receive grades of P+, P, P- and F*.  These grades are not included in GPA calculation.  To realize the benefits of a higher GPA (such as Dean's List or Academic Honors), a student needs to maintain 2/3rd of their full-time status credits on a letter-grade basis (8 credits for Bachelor of Music students and 6 credits for Master of Music or Doctor of Musical Arts students).

To select the pass/fail option, students need to request a form from the Office of Student Services and complete it by the April 17 deadline.  All forms should be submitted to Senior Associate Dean Rebecca Teeters (

We strongly encourage students to consider this option after only at least one week of online classes, so that you can make an informed decision.

This policy applies to Spring 2020 courses only.

Q: How are promotionals working this semester?

A: After consulting with faculty, we have established new guidelines for promotionals and recitals by department. Department administrators will be in touch with students directly with details.

Q: How are required recitals going to be handled?

A: After consulting with faculty, we have established new guidelines for promotionals and recitals by department. Department administrators will be in touch with students directly with details.

Q: How can I complete the capstone project for my minor?

A: If you are planning to graduate this semester, the department chair and advisor for your minor will contact you about how to complete your capstone project. If you have questions about this, please send an email to your minor advisor. Once a new plan is set for your project, make sure to let your academic advisor know your plan, as well. 

Q: Will I be able to complete my internship or my independent study?

A: If you are working on an approved independent study, please reach out to the faculty member to see if any changes need to be made. If you are changing the scope of the independent study, you must let your academic advisor know. If you are registered for an internship through EM, CPP, or MIE, please connect with those departments Once a plan is in place, please update your academic advisor. 

Q: Are large ensembles still going to meet?

A: Yes, there will be times that the large ensembles will meet. The conductors and ensemble administrators are working on topics to be presented. You will receive an email from your ensemble administrator with more information. 

Q: Will we still have chamber music this semester?

A:  Yes, Merry Peckham sent an email to everyone registered for chamber music this semester with information regarding chamber music for the remainder of the semester. Your coach will contact groups to form a plan for the coming weeks. 

Q: What will happen with my cross-registered class?

A: Information on current cross-registered classes and how to apply for cross-registration for future semesters will be released by the NEC Registrar in the coming days. 

Q: Is there someone I can speak to if I have a quick question?

A: If you have a question, you can always email Micah Gharavi in Student Services will also accept questions through the chat function in Teams, part of the Office 365 suite. He will be available on chat during normal business hours (Monday-Friday from 9:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-5:00pm EDT). You can also email your academic advisors.

Building Access

All campus buildings are currently closed to all but essential NEC personnel.

Is NEC planning to open practice rooms over the summer? 

Acknowledging that safety is our top priority, we are hoping to make the practice rooms available this summer. We will share an update on the status and availability of practice rooms in a communication to students in mid-June.


Guests are not be permitted in any NEC building until further notice.



Health Matters

FALL 2020 semester

Can you tell us more about what NEC is doing for the fall semester to reduce the risk of COVID on campus and within our community?

The health and wellness of our community is our first priority. There are many steps we are taking to ensure that our return to the campus environment is a safe one, and we will have more details to share in mid-June.


Financial Matters

We recognize that the challenging environment brought about by COVID-19 may result in some students experiencing financial hardship. Should you have financial concerns, we encourage you to reach out to us at

Library Services

The Blumenthal Family Library is closed until further notice. This includes all self-service technology such as printing, photocopying, and scanning. Library staff are working remotely, however, so please feel free to contact us using the library staff directory.

To schedule a one-on-one Zoom research appointment, or to discuss any other library matter, you may contact Richard Vallone, Head of Public Services, Blumenthal Family Library, Mondays through Fridays 9:00 am–4:00 pm (EDT).

Due Dates

All materials checked out to students returning next year have been renewed and are now due on September 11, the end of the first week of classes of the Fall semester. The library will notify borrowers about the best way to return materials once the library re-opens.  We will also contact graduating students about their materials.

Digital Resources and Reference Materials

We foresee no interruption in our databases and online products, which will remain available for registered borrowers. If you have difficulty accessing these products, please email

In addition, some publishers and cultural venues have kindly permitted free access to a variety of resources during this work-from-home period. Included in these are eBooks, online journals, scores, information resources, teaching aids, streaming videos, and virtual tours. Find more information here about the library's music resources for remote access, teaching, and entertainment.

Additional Questions

If you have any further questions regarding borrowing or research, please feel free to email us at You may also refer to our website for library updates and information, as well as our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

Healthy Working from Home

The COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily changed many of the ways we teach, learn and work. Technology has kept us connected, but has also contributed to more screen time. Some of us may experience feelings of isolation as we strive to define a new, temporary "normal" and achieve work-life balance in the space we call home. It has never been more important to practice strategies that care for the mind and the body. We have complied a few articles to help you to create a healthy work space and maximize work efficiency, reduce eye strain associated with screen use, and ways to find balance and stay connected

NEC Student Connect

For online happenings and events, more wellness tips and resources, and other ways to stay healthy, entertained, and connected to your fellow students, visit the NEC Student Connect page, hosted by Student Life.