Important Information for Students

Students with questions regarding access and support are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services for Students at (518) 276-2231.

Student Communications

Date: 3.27.20

From: Jonathan D. Wexler, Vice President, Enrollment Management

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting economic downturn, may have an adverse impact on your employment prospects following graduation. As a result, to assist you with securing other opportunities by advancing your education at Rensselaer, we are extending the application deadline for graduating seniors to apply to the Co-Terminal program. The application deadline for graduating seniors is May 1st. Additionally, we have streamlined the application process to make it easier for graduating seniors to apply to the program. 

If you wish to be considered for admission to the Co-Terminal program, please complete the online application that can be found here.

Additional instructions are available in the online application. Department-specific GPA requirements are listed here. Please note that we are waiving all other department-specific requirements, such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and Letters of Recommendation, for this admission cycle only. 

The Co-Terminal program allows you to earn a master’s degree in two semesters (three semesters for the MBA), with an extension of your eligible undergraduate Rensselaer funding for those semesters. We strongly recommend that you contact the Office of Financial Aid at to discuss the specifics of your financial aid package.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Mr. Steven Atkinson, Sr. Student Services Administrator in the Office of Graduate Education, at

Thank you, and we wish you and your family the best during this difficult time.


Jonathan D. Wexler
Vice President, Enrollment Management

Date: 3.22.20

From: Prabhat Hajela, Provost

In light of the transition to remote instruction necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are implementing a temporary change to our academic and grading policies for the Spring 2020 semester. This decision has been taken after consultation with the academic leadership and subsequent review and recommendation for adoption by the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee.

With this change, all students will have the option to convert a letter grade in any Spring 2020 course to a Pass/No Credit grade by May 15, 2020. Additionally, a grade of Pass in the Spring 2020 semester can be counted towards the graduation requirements for any program of study at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The selections for P/NC for this semester will not count against the P/NC limits stipulated in our academic catalog.

Please contact the Advising Hubs in your Schools should you have additional questions related to these changes.


Date: 3.20.20

From: Leslie Lawrence, M.D., Executive Director for Health and Wellness

First, I want to thank everyone who has been practicing social distancing (6 feet apart). As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), this practice has helped to dramatically flatten the curve of the virus in China.

However, I was recently informed directly by a student that many of you have been socializing in our residence halls this week. I want to reiterate that the only reason the residence halls remained open until today was to allow students enough time to pack their belongings and make arrangements to go home. It was not intended to be a social gathering place. 

This is the type of behavior that should absolutely be avoided at all times due to the following reasons:

  • CDC analysis of U.S. cases from February 12 to March 16 shows 38 percent of those sick enough to be hospitalized were younger than 55.
  • While the risk of dying was significantly higher in older people, the CDC analysis shows younger people are making up a big portion of hospitalizations. Up to 20% of people hospitalized with coronavirus in the U.S. are young adults between the ages of 20-44. Furthermore, of the 121 patients known to have been admitted to an ICU, 12% were between the ages of 20-44. 
  • Health experts say there are reasons for people in every age group to be cautious, but not because our understanding of who is most vulnerable to the virus is changing. Just because older people are more likely to develop a severe case or die from the disease does not mean some young people will not. 
  • Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the world’s leading virologists said, “Don’t get the attitude, well, I’m young, I’m invulnerable." He adds, "You don’t want to put you or your loved ones at risk, particularly the ones who are elderly and the ones who have compromised conditions. We can’t stop this disease without the young people cooperating. Please cooperate with us.”

At noon today, New York Governor Cuomo signed an executive order mandating that 100% of the non-essential workforce must stay home. This will affect nearly every non-essential service in Troy. Likewise, Mayor DeBlasio in New York City has called for a shelter in place order. Based on what has happened here, and in other countries, I expect this order to be applied similarly in many municipalities across the country.

In closing, I can’t emphasize enough that the COVID-19 virus is serious. It is impacting ALL age groups with both illness and death and we ALL have a responsibility to mitigate the impact on society. Social distancing is a must if we are to “flatten the curve” and ease pressure on health system resources, and ultimately prevent the number of deaths across the country and here in New York.

The Institute is taking COVID-19 (coronavirus) very seriously. 
As your doctor, I advise you to follow Institute guidance, and where possible, leave campus to go home. Please be safe and continue to adhere to local, state, and federal authorities.


Date: 3.20.20

From: Travis T. Apgar, Assistant Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students; Keith Moo-Young, Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education

We are reaching out to you during this difficult moment in time to offer reassurance, and to encourage you to find a sense of calm. As you rearrange your plans for the spring semester and adapt to new learning platforms and living environments, be they familiar or new, it will require an adjustment on your part.

Our advice is to find ways to let go of anxiety, understanding that “let go” does not mean to dismiss. It means to learn to let it be, to allow things to remain as they are. You should accept the realities of those things you cannot control, and invest in those things you can. For example, identify healthy activities you enjoy and continue to engage in them. You can also find creative new ways in which you and your friends can safely socialize while observing social distancing protocols.

Come to accept that this semester is going to be unlike any other which you have experienced, and it is going to be just fine. All of us here recognize that this is unparalleled, and are committed to the highest quality of education and instruction. What is occurring across the globe has an impact on you and others within the Rensselaer family. We need you to know that we see that, and we will do what we can to continue to support you.

We urge you to make the most of this semester. Learn for learning's sake. Be sure to pay attention to the lessons which are not a part of the curriculum, the life lessons you are sure to learn as we manage this global crisis as a global society.

It is simply a fact that change is inevitable. It does not make it any less difficult by stating it. This fact, however, is one of the driving forces behind our Institute's goal to imbue each Rensselaer student with an ability to be intellectually agile, to possess a sense of multicultural sophistication, and to operate through a global lens. We strongly urge you to call on those particular skills and viewpoints as we face this challenge together.

With great care and respect for each of you.

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