Students & Families FAQ

Answers to these questions will be updated as more information becomes available. Check Daily Messages for news of significant updates and changes. We will note when details are not yet known or when decisions are still being made. If you have a question that’s not answered on these pages, please submit it for consideration via our comment form.

Select a topic area below to view answers to frequently asked questions, and use keywords or terms in the search bar to narrow your search. To ensure that you can find what you need, FAQs are organized by audience and by general topics. As a result, you will see the same question and answer multiple times throughout the site.


  • Only students who have completed all degree requirements are able to participate in Commencement. This means that students who take a leave cannot participate in commencement with their original class. These students can, however, opt to participate in Senior Week, Ivy Exercises, and Baccalaureate with their original class if they so choose. Students who complete their degree requirements in December are invited to return to campus the following June to participate in Commencement exercises. Students who take a leave are able to choose which class they would like to affiliate with for reunion events post-graduation.

    NOTE: Williams was not able to host a commencement for students who graduated in the Class of 2020 due to COVID-19. We hope to offer these students the opportunity to participate in a commencement celebration when it is safe to do so. Any student from the Class of 2020 who has completed their degree requirements (including those who took a leave and completed their requirements off-cycle) will be included in this opportunity.

    Visit the Student Handbook website for more information on off-cycle enrollment.

    Added 7/9/2020
  • Students who wish to withdraw from the college after the semester is underway (rather than shifting modality from on-campus to remote) should understand the process and our tuition refund policy.

    Students who enroll and return to campus can later decide to transition to remote learning. If you are taking lab or performance-based classes with a prominent in-person component, you will be expected to talk to your faculty members about how you can effectively transition to remote learning.

    The college’s Refund Policy will apply to your board plan, only. There will not be a refund for tuition or room. Board will be refunded for the remainder of the term according to the formula at this link. (updated 7/10/2020)

    Housing and miscellaneous fees are not prorated after the start of classes. Coverage under the college’s student health insurance plan will continue for the length of the plan (Aug. 15, 2020-Aug. 14, 2021).

    Financial aid recipients who switch from on campus to remote after the start of classes will receive an updated financial aid package that will include a prorated personal allowance.

    Conversely, if you are enrolled as a remote student, you will not be allowed to change your mind and return to campus after the semester is underway. You will, however, be allowed to shift your status for the spring semester. We will ask students about their preferences for spring enrollment in October.

    Added 7/8/2020
  • We recognize that extenuating circumstances may make your initial enrollment decision problematic (e.g., travel/visa restrictions; illness in the family, etc). If this occurs, please contact the Dean’s Office to let us know so that we can help you develop a workable plan.

    Added 7/8/2020
  • We are requiring all students and families to make a decision by July 10 so that we can do the planning and operational work required to fully support all of our students in the fall. As you can imagine, if we don’t know how many people will be here, it will be hard to plan and staff the campus properly. Please make the best decision you can based on the information available to you now. If you are strongly considering living on campus, it is especially important to let us know this by the deadline so that you can be included in the housing lottery process and secure a room.

    Added 7/8/2020
  • While we look forward to seeing many of you, we know others will choose to take time off. Incoming first-year students and incoming transfer students may opt to take a gap year. Returning sophomores, juniors and seniors may opt to take a personal leave. All students will receive a letter from Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom with instructions for making such requests. You can also reach the form directly by going to to the PeopleSoft homepage. Choose Student Records —> Self Service Forms —> Intent to Enroll Fall 2020. Please email [email protected] or call 413-597-3088 for any access problems.

    The deadline to declare your choice is 5 p.m. EST on Friday, July 10. Incoming first-year students and incoming transfer students with questions about taking a gap year should contact Liz Creighton, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, at [email protected]. Returning sophomores, juniors and seniors who would like to speak to a dean about taking a personal leave should fill out this form; the Dean’s Office will be in touch with you to schedule a meeting.

  • Only those students who enroll for the fall and choose the on-campus option, along with those students who have been pre-approved to live off campus, will be allowed on campus. All other students will require permission in advance from the Dean of the College to come to campus and use college facilities.

  • Yes. The total cost of attendance, which was announced in December, has been reduced by 15%. This reduction recognizes the extraordinary circumstances of this academic year, as well as the uncertainty we all face in the year ahead, including the economic and societal uncertainty facing our students and families. Tuition, room and board for the 2020-2021 academic year will be $63,200. Parent contributions for students receiving financial aid will also be reduced by 15%.

  • Yes. Your decision to enroll remotely for the fall can be switched to an in-person enrollment for the spring. We will provide more information about the deadline for those requests once the fall semester is underway.

    Updated 7/1/2020
  • No. Enrolled students who are studying remotely will only be required to pay tuition, which has been reduced by 15%.

  • Your bill for the fall semester will be posted in your Williams Student Record on July 22. Balances for the fall semester must be paid or have a payment plan in place by Aug. 24. In mid-July, you will receive an email from the Office of Student Accounts with details about payment plan options and FlyWire, the college’s new payment system.

  • Yes, you will be as eligible as an applicant in your new graduation year.

  • Updated July 27, 2020: Students enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan for the 2019-2020 academic year and who choose to take a personal leave from the college will be able to buy a continuation plan for health insurance coverage. The continuation plan will extend coverage through Jan. 31, 2021, and at a cost of $1,145.

    Please note that the premiums will be the student’s responsibility, and payment should be made directly to the broker, AJG Inc. The payment can be made through the portal when selecting coverage.

    Find more information about student health insurance for the 2020-2021 academic year on the Health and Wellness Services website.

    Updated 7/6/2020
  • Yes, although access will be restricted to current faculty, students and staff. Hours may be modified. And users will be expected to follow campus social-distancing and hygiene guidelines. Visit Williams Libraries for updated hours.

    Updated 7/1/2020