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December 2, 2020

University College Supports Students Impacted by COVID-19

Experience, initiatives, and resources combine to help students navigate the pandemic.

Recent months have been a challenging time for all of us on many fronts as we navigate new routines and responsibilities and provide care and support to ourselves and others.

COVID-19 has created many challenges in higher education and for those pursuing their education, as well.

“At University College, our faculty and staff partner with our students and learners in helping them reach their professional and personal goals, especially for those who might not have otherwise believed they had access to a DU education. Core to our work is reducing opportunity gaps within our society,” said University College Dean Michael McGuire. “As the ramifications of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic became more clear, we understood that we had to do something different in order to lessen the negative impact the pandemic was having on some of our most vulnerable students and their families.”

To help our students balance life, school, work, and health, University College is providing assistance to our community at every turn.

Online Learning Excellence

Due to pandemic concerns, it was clear that all courses in the University of Denver system would need to move entirely online this past spring. Thanks to 25-plus years of leading the way in best practices for creating high-quality online courses, University College at University of Denver was able to quickly adjust to the pandemic challenges. Not only did this knowledge benefit all of the University of Denver but it has also proven to be valuable for students who need more flexibility in their schedules.

In addition, dedicated University College academic advisors have been available to students virtually to help them plan their courses and work through potential challenges.

Assistance for Academic Life and Beyond

Unfortunately, the pandemic has undoubtedly affected the livelihoods of University College students, many of who are experiencing disruption to an employment situation in the form of layoffs, furloughs, reduced hours, and more. For those who have been fortunate enough to maintain employment, the concerns about future impacts to their career are still at the forefront of their minds.

Current circumstances have made it difficult for some of our community to complete their education, and the University College community has stepped in to provide assistance. Two initiatives were created and launched to help our students finish their academic program and prepare for their next career opportunity.

“Our main concern was that the effects of the pandemic would temporarily or permanently halt our students’ learning progress and that this would likely exacerbate the equity gaps that exist in our communities, which we strive to help eliminate,” said Dean McGuire.

Tuition Relief Grants

We are pleased to offer relief grants for those students who experienced loss of employment since March 1, 2020 due to COVID-19. Each grant covers $500 for each of the first two University College courses in winter 2021. Students can also request the grant for the upcoming spring 2021, providing them with $1,000 per term in total of assistance to help offset costs during this challenging time.

To date, University College has provided more than 120 students with tuition relief grant funding.

Bridging the Gap to Future Employment Career Workshops

Designed exclusively for University College students, a new series of career workshops helps those who may have lost employment, are looking to switch sectors, or are simply hoping to brush up on skills.

The free 90-minute workshops, all taught by University College faculty who are career coaches and consultants, cover how to successfully pivot careers, prepare resumes and cover letters that get results, expand and deepen professional networks, ace the interview and more.

These workshops run through December 16, and recordings of each session will be made available to review. Learn more on the Career Workshop website.

Supporting Mental Health

There is no doubt that current times have affected our community on every level, including mental and emotional health.

University College and the University of Denver offer several telemental health services, including My SSP and Health and Counseling Center (HCC) assistance to help students navigate this challenging time.

University College degree-seeking students can access My SSP, a 24/7 distance counseling service. While My SSP is ideal for out-of-state and international students, all students—and even your spouses and dependents—can utilize the service free of charge, especially as many University College course are available online.

HCC is also offering phone counseling sessions for students. Students can start individual, couples, or group counseling by calling 303-871-2205 to set an initial session. Learn more about telemental health services at DU.

“In these times of increased isolation, our driving concern is that we are able to help our students stay engaged with their educational journeys and provide a bridge of hope to a post-pandemic world,” said Dean McGuire.

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