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Students who drop classes at Orange Coast College because of COVID-19 can receive full refunds and a transcript designation of EW in the class.

In an effort to respond to instructional changes brought about by COVID-19, Orange Coast College is allowing students to drop classes and receive both an excused withdrawal and a full tuition refund for the class.

The college’s Enrollment Services department changed the policy to allow for an EW — excused withdrawal — instead of a W, and a full refund. An EW is not considered a negative action on a transcript.

“If somebody has an excused withdrawal it’s identified as something that was authorized for a valid reason. An EW will not count negatively toward academic standing at the college. It does not impact GPA,” said Madjid Niroumand, vice president of Student Services.

Niroumand confirmed the refund policy as well. He added that other fees in addition to the tuition will also be refunded if students choose to drop all of their classes.

“We hope that students are able to continue and successfully complete the semester, but if they choose to drop we will issue them a refund for the class — for the tuition. If they drop all their classes then we will also give them a refund for the health fee and the college service charge,” Niroumand said.

The new policy applies to any student who has dropped a class from March 16 until the published deadline to receive a W, which for 16-week classes is April 25. For classes of different durations, students should refer to their Student Program (Web Schedule Bill) for the specific deadlines.

“Any student who dropped prior to March 16 or dropped after the W deadline, will need to email Registration and we will review those on a case-by-case basis,” Niroumand said.

As students navigate the process of transitioning to an online learning platform for the remainder of the semester, some are discovering that the platform is not conducive to their program of study and the types of projects they were working on before the full impact of COVID-19 was felt.

“It’s changing the way that I’m going to actually learn the class,” said Jaime Muguertegui, a 31-year-old film major. “The instructor won’t be there while I’m shooting. I won’t have a group to bounce ideas off of. I’ll still get it done. I’ll do my own thing. I’ve worked alone before so I’m not like, intimidated by it or anything. It will still work out but it’s just kind-of a bummer — not ideal.”

Some students are torn as to whether to continue in their more hands-on type courses and are weighing their options.

One student said his instructor is considering having students continue to work on projects through the summer so they can have more time.

“That’s actually something I would like. If he does that, saying, you know, ‘we’ll just kind-of take it easy for now and then once we can actually get back on campus, maybe continue on and finish it during summer.’ If he does that then I will keep the class,” said Mayhar Mahboub, a 49-year-old film major.

If students need any assistance transitioning to the online learning platform, they can send an email to occassistance@occ.cccd.edu.

“All of us — in particular the Student Services team and myself — we want to hear from students. I really want to know what is happening, get closer to the pulse of the situation, what students are going through. I think that would be critically important for us so we can better plan to do whatever we can, do as much as we can, with the resources we have available,”  Niroumand said.

For a detailed list of the changes to the drop policy, click here.

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