July 2020 Updates

Dear SMU students and families,

SMU is here for you! As we work to keep learning during this evolving COVID-19 situation, many of SMU's academic services and resources are available online to ensure your continued academic success.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact our office:

Student Academic Engagement and Success


Fall 2020 Fully Remote Learning Request

Deadline to submit: August 14, 2020  

Please note that the survey is now closed. Students seeking a fully remote learning experience after August 14 should submit a request in writing to academicsuccess@smu.edu All information below is maintained only for reference.

Students with an on-campus housing assignment should notify RLSH of their intent to request a fully remote academic experience and to live off campus immediately after completing the survey below.

PLEASE NOTE: STUDENTS WHO PLAN TO LIVE ON CAMPUS SHOULD NOT APPLY FOR A FULLY REMOTE REQUEST. Participating in all virtual classes is not synonymous with being a fully remote student; to be fully remote, you must also live away from the campus. Students taking even one class on-campus also should not request to be fully remote.

During the Fall of 2020, SMU will offer courses in two formats to increase student success in the classroom.  Many classes will follow a hybrid model (SMUFlex) in which faculty will teach an in-person group of students at the same time as a remote group. Some courses will be offered online only (Virtual).

The SMU Flex approach will allow:

  • Students and faculty to adapt to changing situations and accommodate short-term absences from the face-to face experience desired by both students and faculty
  • Remote students to engage in meaningful ways with their course-work. Ideally, this is conducted in a synchronous manner, but when necessary, asynchronously

Some students may feel that their greatest chance for academic and personal success is to be fully remote in Fall 2020. If you feel that your success will be enhanced by being fully remote, please complete the request process below for a letter of approval.  By notifying SMU of your intention, we will be better able to meet your academic needs and help provide opportunities for campus engagement.

The following processes and timeline need to be adhered to so that SMU can prepare classroom space, living space and other important arrangements to prepare for Fall 2020.


  • Students with a Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS) approved reason currently on file
  • Students requesting a new Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS) approved reason
  • Students unable to return due to travel restrictions
  • Students unable to attend courses due to significant personal or economic hardship concerns  
  • Any student at SMU may request to be exclusively remote. That said, the Office of Student Academic Engagement and Success would like to know more about why you feel your academic success is dependent upon being remote.  Our hope is to find a solution to help you feel comfortable returning to in person classes, particularly given the extra efforts the campus is making to reopen safely this Fall.  

Students approved for a fully remote academic experience will also engage in their co-curricular activities remotely (e.g. student organizations, Greek life, and Student Senate). Students will have full access to all University services such as Fondren Library, Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center, Academic Advisors and the Health Center. A student will continue to utilize services such as the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports through remote offerings. SMU will provide remote students with regular opportunities for campus engagement and offer feedback if additional support or services are needed.

  • Submit the initial request by August 14, 2020.
  • Approval timeline
  • We will confirm your request for a letter of approval within one week of completing the survey.
  • Students making this request after June 30, 2020 who also have a housing contract must also notify Resident Life and Student Housing of their intention to cancel their fall housing contract.

SMU would like to know if you decide to be fully remote in order to fully assist each of you.  Students who want a letter of approval to be fully remote will receive additional communications from this office and will have an opportunity to share concerns as they emerge over the course of the summer and the semester.  We will also notify your faculty so that they too are prepared to support you and to make sure you have access to the books and technology necessary to be successful in your courses.  SMU faculty have been working closely with the Office of Information Technology, the Center for Teaching Excellence, and the SMU Libraries throughout the summer to prepare for the start of the Fall semester.

Decisions for fully remote learning will be made by a committee of representatives from:

  • Associate Provost for Student Academic Engagement and Success
  • Office of Student Support
  • Financial Aid & Scholarships
  • Disability Accommodation and Student Success
  • International Student & Scholar Services
  • Office of Student Success and Retention
  • Stay in touch with the Associate Provost’s Office to provide any follow up documentation (if needed)
  • The Associate Provost’s Office will provide students with a letter to share with their faculty, indicating that they are approved to be fully remote for the entire semester
  • Students who are fully remote will receive additional communications from the Associate Provost to ensure necessary access to technology and software to support academic success

We want to make sure everyone understands that any student who requests a letter of support to be fully remote can change their mind and return to on-campus instruction assuming you are enrolled in SMUFlex courses and not virtual (fully online) courses.  To cancel your request to be fully remote, email remote@smu.edu

Students who requested and were granted an on-campus fall housing exemption on the basis of being remote may not cancel their status as a remote student unless they are ready to move back on-campus.

If your international travel status changes and you would like to return to campus during the Fall 2020 semester, you will work with International Student & Scholar Services and the Associate Provost for Student Academic Engagement and Success to discuss changing your status.

SMU will make every effort to support remote coursework, but challenges will remain. Tuition costs will be the same for those attending courses on-campus and for those who choose to engage remotely.

For financial questions or concerns, contact the SMU Bursar’s Office for detailed information.