Updates from the Graduate School – September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

Dear Graduate Students,

I hope that this note finds you well and that the fall semester is off to a productive start. We are all adjusting to the “new normal,” amidst unprecedented challenges this year.  Through it all, I remain inspired by the ways the graduate community has moved forward together and shows incredible support and empathy for one another.

Last week, we learned of a proposed change by the Department of Homeland Security that, if implemented, would eliminate duration status (or D/S) admission for international students, scholars, and dependents holding F and J visas. On Friday, the Davis International Center sent an email to all international students noting that a proposed rule does not impact your immigration status. If you are currently a F-or-J visa holder at Princeton, and were admitted for Duration of Status, that has not changed. You remain in D/S. Please visit the Davis International Center site for more information and know that all of us stand in solidarity with our international graduate student community.

While we are still navigating so much change together, I’d like to share a few updates regarding the ways the Graduate School is working to help you thrive personally, socially, and academically. 

Socially Distanced In-Person Events

I encourage you to find time for self-care, to take time to recharge, and to enjoy outdoor activities in a safe way. We have begun hosting small, in-person, socially-distanced, outdoor gatherings in addition to a variety of virtual events. All in-person events will be managed in accordance with current University health and safety policies. Upcoming events include autumn-themed campfire programs, croquet and lawn games, houseplant potting, pumpkin carving, paint-and-sips, and more.

 Registration information for these and other programs can be found in the Student Life “Upcoming Events | Some Requiring Sign-ups” email sent every Tuesday. You can also follow the Graduate School on Facebook and Instagram and check out our Events Calendar

Expanded Study Spaces

We know that many of you need study spaces outside of your housing units. Accordingly, we have been working with various campus partners to make additional study spaces available for graduate students to reserve. We are happy to announce that initial spaces in Chancellor Green will be available for reservation beginning today. For guidelines and reservations, please visit the EMS website. We will continue to add reservable spaces to this system as we identify locations that are suitable for this need.

The Library has also launched the Study-Browse Service, which allows graduate students to book a seat for an available time slot in a designated space within our on-campus libraries. Students can use the online reservation system to book a seat.

Temporary Expansion of Graduate Child Assistance Program

We recognize that those of you who are parents may be struggling to balance your academic studies while having children at home during the day due to partial or full school closures. The Graduate Child Assistance Program (GCAP) provides child care assistance funding to families with children under the age of 6.  We are pleased to announce a new temporary expansion of GCAP to expand funding to families with children up to and including age 13 as of September 1.

 For children between the ages of 6 and 13, who are not already covered by GCAP, the expanded program provides funding of up to $500 per month for GCAP eligible expenses for the four-month period from September 1 to December 31. For specific eligibility guidelines and more details, please visit the Graduate School website.  Applications are due no later than Thursday, October 15, 2020. You may also contact the Graduate School via the Princeton Service Portal.

 In closing, I’d like to express my sincere appreciation for the strong leadership of the Graduate Student Government and all graduate students who continue to build connections and community and to come together in socially responsible ways. Please know that the entire staff at the Graduate School are here to support you. Feel free to reach out to us with any suggestions, questions, or concerns.

Wishing you well,

Cole M. Crittenden
Deputy Dean and Acting Dean of the Graduate School