Eligibility and Academic Considerations
What are the basic eligibility criteria to qualify for the PLUS Year?
- Must enroll as an undergraduate degree-seeking student at PLU by Fall 2020.
- Must remain continuously enrolled at full-time status (at least 12 credits as of 10th day of class) in fall and spring semesters starting in Fall 2020.
- For students who enter as first years, the PLUS Year begins immediately following their 8th semester of full-time enrollment. For students who enter as transfers or subsequent bachelor’s degree students, the PLUS Year begins immediately following their 6th semester of full-time enrollment. In addition to the required number of full-time semesters, Nursing students and Music Education students must also complete their program’s academic requirements (with the exception of MUSI 348, EDUC 468, and MUSI 469 for Music Education students). When considering the PLUS Year, Music Education students must verify timeline and degree requirements with their department.
What can I do with the PLUS Year?
Students are pursuing many options! Some are completing General Education elements, some are completing a minor, some are completing a second major, some are taking additional courses in the major (ensembles and private lessons or added language courses) that will better prepare them for life after graduation.
I am hoping to start as an undergraduate student at PLU in either Spring 2021 or Fall 2021. Am I eligible for the PLUS Year?
No, not at this time.
Will there be an application process for the PLUS Year?
Yes. Students who are eligible for the PLUS Year will be emailed a link to the application early in the semester prior to their eligibility. Students will need to complete the application by a certain date to be prioritized for the PLUS year. Knowing in advance who is pursuing the PLUS Year will allow staff and faculty to appropriately advise these students from an academic and financial perspective. Students eligible for the PLUS Year starting in Fall 2021 will receive an email in early February.
I am an incoming undergraduate student for Fall 2020. Can I defer my admission to the spring and still be eligible for the PLUS Year?
No. To be eligible, a student must matriculate (i.e., enroll as a degree-seeking student) at PLU by the beginning of Fall 2020.
I just graduated in Spring 2020 or Summer 2020. Am I eligible for a PLUS Year?
No. Students who graduated prior to Fall 2020 are not eligible for the PLUS Year.
Fall 2020 is my last term at PLU. Am I still eligible for the PLUS Year for two full semesters?
If you entered PLU as a first year student and Fall 2020 is your 8th semester, then you are eligible for the PLUS Year starting in Spring 2021 for up to two semesters. If you entered PLU as a transfer or subsequent degree student and Fall 2020 is your 6th semester, then you are eligible for the PLUS Year starting in Spring 2021 for up to two semesters.
I entered PLU with transfer credit. How does this impact my eligibility for the PLUS Year?
All students must enroll for the required number of semesters at full-time status in order to qualify for the PLUS Year, even if they enter PLU with transfer credit.
For instance, Running Start students who enter PLU with 60 credits must continuously enroll for 8 semesters at full-time status in order to qualify for the PLUS Year, even though they might be able to graduate after 4 semesters. In this case, it is more financially beneficial for a student to graduate after 4 semesters than enroll full-time for 8 semesters only for the purpose of qualifying for the PLUS Year.
The same is true for traditional transfer students who enter PLU with 60 credits. These students must continuously enroll for 6 semesters at full-time status to qualify for the PLUS Year, even though they might be able to graduate after only 4 semesters.
Due to transfer credit, I will graduate before becoming eligible for the PLUS Year. Am I still eligible for the PLUS Year in the future?
No. If you graduate before becoming eligible for the PLUS Year, then you are not eligible for the PLUS Year in the future. Like graduate students, you instead become eligible for a $1,000 voucher to be used for select PLU Continuing Education (CE) classes. The voucher cannot be used for PLU graduate classes or toward a graduate degree. A list of voucher eligible, in person and online, CE classes will be shared with students each Spring semester. The availability of these CE classes to PLUS Year students is contingent on the classes meeting minimum enrollment of other paying customers. For additional policies regarding the CE voucher for PLUS Year students, please see the “Graduate Students” section below. The policies listed in that section also apply to undergraduate students who become eligible for the CE voucher instead of the PLUS Year.
Can I take a year off after I graduate and then come back for a PLUS Year?
No. Eligibility for the PLUS Year requires continuous enrollment.
Is the PLUS Year limited to a certain number of semesters or credits?
Yes. During the PLUS Year, undergraduate students are allowed to enroll for up to two semesters tuition free and take no more than 39 undergraduate credits. Students will not be allowed to overload in any semester of their PLUS Year.
Do I have to be full-time during the PLUS Year?
No. While students must be continuously enrolled at full-time status until they reach their PLUS Year, they are not required to be full-time during their PLUS Year.
Can one of my tuition free semesters during the PLUS Year be either J-term or Summer?
For the purposes of the PLUS Year, semester refers to the fall, spring, and summer terms. J-term on its own is not considered a semester for the PLUS Year.
If I become eligible for the PLUS Year after Spring semester, do I have to then enroll in Summer to be considered continuously enrolled for my PLUS Year?
No. Students who become eligible for the PLUS Year after Spring semester can take the Summer off and then start their PLUS Year in Fall.
Can I use my PLUS Year for the first two semesters of a graduate degree at PLU?
No. The PLUS Year cannot be used to pay for coursework in a graduate program. For undergraduate students, the PLUS Year can be used to explore a topic of interest, finish a degree, delay graduation to add a major or minor, allow for a lighter course load during the pandemic, take prerequisite classes to apply for graduate school, and ultimately, to compensate for the disruption in the student experience that will continue into the 2020-21 academic year.
I am receiving tuition remission or tuition exchange to attend PLU. Am I eligible for the PLUS Year?
Yes. Students receiving tuition remission or tuition exchange are eligible for the PLUS Year.
What happens if I don’t graduate on time? Am I still eligible for the PLUS Year?
Yes. This is one of the PLUS Year’s intended purposes – to help students complete their degree who do not finish on time. Students who enter as first years are expected to graduate after their 8th semester, and transfer and subsequent bachelor’s degree students are expected to graduate after their 6th semester. In addition to the required number of full-time semesters, Nursing students and Music Education students must also complete their program’s academic requirements (with the exception of MUSI 348, EDUC 468, and MUSI 469 for Music Education students). When considering the PLUS Year, Music Education students must verify timeline and degree requirements with their department.
Can I use the PLUS Year to add another major or minor?
Yes, but only if you delay your graduation. If you intend to use your PLUS Year to add a major or minor, you should not apply for graduation until requirements for all majors and minors are met. If you apply for graduation and are awarded your degree prior to the start of your PLUS Year, you are still eligible for up to two semesters of tuition free coursework. Coursework taken after graduating cannot be used for additional majors and minors unless you apply and are accepted for a subsequent bachelor’s degree.
Can I study away during my PLUS Year?
Yes, but only during J-term. Students who participate in J-term Study Away are charged a program fee, not tuition. As such, students who participate in J-term Study Away over the course of their PLUS Year are responsible for paying the program fee as well as any other costs associated with the study away experience.
If I delay graduation, can I still participate in Commencement and then return to PLU for my PLUS Year?
Commencement participation is determined by the term you graduate. If you choose to delay graduation, your commencement participation will be delayed similarly.
What is the procedure to register for courses for my PLUS Year?
PLU staff and administrators are currently working to develop registration procedures for students in their PLUS Year. More details about PLUS Year registration will follow soon.
What if, after my PLUS Year, I still have not met all of my degree requirements?
Students who need to return after their PLUS Year to complete degree requirements will be responsible for all tuition and fees from that point forward.
Can all academic majors take advantage of the PLUS Year?
Yes. However, students in cohorted programs must make progress on their predetermined schedule of major courses. Students in these programs may choose to take additional courses during their PLUS Year outside of their schedule of courses for their cohorted program. Cohorted programs include:
- Social Work
- Music Education
I am in the 3/2 Engineering program. Can I take advantage of the PLUS Year?
Yes, but only immediately following your three years of PLU coursework. Students cannot return to PLU after their two years of engineering coursework and take advantage of the PLUS Year. Students in the 3/2 Engineering program who are interested in pursuing a PLUS Year should consult with PLU’s 3/2 Engineering Program Director.
Are international students eligible for the PLUS Year?
International students would be eligible for the PLUS Year under certain circumstances: 1) if they add a major and/or minor and use the PLUS Year to complete the additional program requirements; or 2) if they have been approved for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) and will be using the PLUS Year to take additional classes for enrichment as a non-matriculated student.
In the first scenario, students would complete a Program End Date Extension Request and get a supporting statement from their advisor confirming the changes to their degree plan and expected graduation date due to the addition of a major or minor.
In the second scenario, students would follow the usual process of applying for OPT in the final term before they graduate. Enrolling in classes for personal enrichment as a non-matriculated student would not impact their F-1 status or ability to participate in OPT.
Will academic standing continue to be calculated during my PLUS Year?
Yes. PLU will continue to calculate academic standing for degree-seeking students in their PLUS Year.
Will grades earned during the PLUS Year impact my cumulative GPA?
Yes. Grades earned during the PLUS Year will be transcripted and will have the same cumulative impact on GPA as courses taken in previous semesters.
I was recently notified about two data analytics classes being offered in PLU Summer Sessions 2021 - one in Excel and one in Tableau. Are these courses PLUS year eligible?
No. While the vast majority of PLU courses are covered by the PLUS Year, these two courses are not covered, and students should expect to pay tuition for them.
Campus and Student Life
Can I live in on-campus housing and participate in a meal plan during my PLUS Year?
Yes. Note that the program covers tuition. Additional expenses (including university or course fees and/or room and board costs) are not included.
I am a student athlete. Can I continue to participate in athletics during my PLUS Year?
Yes, but only if the PLUS Year is used prior to graduating. To confirm your eligibility, please double check with Athletics.
I am involved in various student clubs and organizations on campus. Can I continue to participate in these during my PLUS Year?
Financial Aid and Other Costs
The PLUS Year is tuition free. Am I responsible for other expenses, such as fees and room and meals?
Yes. While eligible students can receive up to two semesters tuition free during their PLUS Year, they are still responsible for any on-campus living expenses as well as all fees, including, but not limited to, the Wellness Fee, DJS Fee, Student Activity Fee, Technology Fee, J-Term fee, and course fees.
Can I receive financial aid for non-tuition expenses, such as fees and living expenses?
Students are not eligible for PLU gift aid during their PLUS Year to cover non-tuition expenses. For students who have not completed all of their degree requirements by the start of their PLUS Year, they are welcome to apply for federal and state financial aid as well as private student loans. Those who have completed all degree requirements for at least one major or degree are ineligible for federal and state grant assistance.
Do I have to submit a FAFSA or WASFA to be eligible for the PLUS Year?
No. Students who are eligible for the PLUS Year do not need to submit a FAFSA or WASFA to receive the benefit. PLUS Year students who remain degree-seeking are welcome to submit a FAFSA or WASFA if they wish to be considered for federal or state aid to help with costs such as fees and living expenses.
Will satisfactory academic progress continue to be monitored by Student Financial Services during my PLUS Year?
For students continuing with their degree in the PLUS Year, satisfactory academic progress will continue to be monitored per federal and state regulation.
Can I work at PLU as a student employee during the PLUS Year?
Yes. During the fall and spring semesters, undergraduate students – including non-degree students – must be enrolled in 6 or more credits in order to work on campus. Graduate students only need to be registered for 4 or more credits. We check to make sure that all students are actively enrolled in the minimum number of credits every pay period. Students may work during J-term and summer without taking classes as long as they are enrolled the term immediately following. If a student cannot register due to financial holds, they have until the first day of classes to register in order to be eligible for on-campus employment.
NOTE: If you are pursuing the PLUS Year as a non-degree student, you cannot be paid using federal or state work-study. Non-degree students will be fully paid with PLU funds.
What is the PLUS Year benefit for graduate students?
PLU is offering graduate students a $1,000 voucher that can be used for select PLU Continuing Education (CE) classes. The voucher cannot be used for PLU graduate classes or toward a graduate degree. A list of voucher eligible, in person and online, CE classes will be shared with students each Spring semester. The availability of these CE classes to PLUS Year graduate students is contingent on the classes meeting minimum enrollment of other paying customers.
Who is eligible for the voucher?
PLU graduate students enrolled full time in the 2020 Fall Term. The benefit does not apply to part time students, nor to students starting their graduate programs in 2021 and beyond.
When can I take the CE classes?
After completing your PLU graduate degree program.
How long is the voucher valid?
Two years from the student’s graduation date.
How do I register for the available CE classes?
Information about how to register for the available CE classes will be located on the PLU CE website starting Spring 2021.
How do I use the voucher when registering for CE classes?
Each voucher will have a number, which will be required at the time of registration for a CE class. The voucher number will be tied to the student’s name and PLU ID number for verification purposes.
What happens if the voucher amount does not cover the full cost of the CE class?
Students will be responsible for paying any remaining balance.
Can the voucher amount be applied toward more than one CE class?
Yes, depending on the cost of the CE class(es).
What happens to the voucher amount if I drop or do not attend the CE class after it starts?
In these cases, the student would forfeit the amount of voucher credit applied to the class.
What if I am not interested in any of the voucher eligible CE classes?
PLU’s CE team will consult with PLU’s graduate program directors on classes that add the most value to our graduate students’ post-graduation professional development. If you remain uninterested in the list of available classes, the CE team invites you to submit suggestions of alternative class topics to the main CE email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I do not use the full amount of the voucher within the two year period – what happens to the balance?
Once the two year period is over, the voucher becomes invalid, regardless of any remaining balance of unused credit.