Frequently asked questions for students

Information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak is changing rapidly, and we don’t have every answer right now. And some of our answers may become obsolete within hours, but Great Falls College MSU is trying to keep the most up-to-date information as we can available to students, faculty and staff.

These FAQs will be updated regularly.

No, we are gradually reopening, although the vast majority of classes will finish spring semester online.

However, campus is open to faculty, staff, students and prospective students so long as they have a reason to be on campus.

Great Falls College is encouraging everyone on campus to wear masks

WiFi access is available on campus. The Weaver Library has more than 50 computer workstations (PC and Mac) as well as printers. It is open regular operating hours. Computers with webcams are available. A limited number of webcams are available for check out from the Weaver Library.

The computer terminals in the Weaver Library and computer labs (B127 and B128) on campus will remain open and will be monitored to ensure s byocial distancing takes place and that the equipment is disinfected after each use.  

There are also several companies that are stepping up to help in this time. Here are some links:

  • Charter/Spectrum Free Internet offer for 2 months
  • FCC agreement stating that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots.
  • Comcast COVID-19 response: offers free WiFi for 2 months to low income families plus all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time.
  • AT&T COVID-19 response: offers open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low income families.
  • Verizon COVID-19 response: no special offers, but following the FCC agreement.
  • Sprint COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, provides unlimited data to existing customers, and, starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge (I expect others will follow).
  • T-Mobile COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge (I expect others will follow).
If the building is open, the computer labs (B127 & B18) are open, but they will not be monitored and equipment will be cleaned each evening.
Please start by reaching out to your instructor to address questions specific to your unique situation. Division directors are working with instructors to be as flexible as possible while maintaining consistent and fair policies that guarantee the best educational outcomes we can offer.
We recognize that not all programs and classes can be switched to an online format. In instances where course material cannot be effectively completed online, instructors will make arrangements for small groups to meet and practice social distancing to ensure that student learning still occurs while also limiting the health risk to students and the public. Additionally, some classes will live stream lectures during the regularly scheduled class time. Be sure to log in to D2L Brightspace on March 23 for more information on how your specific course will be adjusted.
Great Falls College is making every effort to support student success regardless of how a course is offered. At this time, campus is remaining open. This means that you will continue to have access to the resources on campus such as the Academic Success Center, library, disability services, Veterans’ Center, testing center, Native American Enrichment Center and your instructors.  Some classes will live stream lectures during the regularly scheduled class time so you will be able to interact with your instructor and classmates in real-time. We also encourage students to use their regularly scheduled class time to work on their coursework.
Yes.  Great Falls College MSU Testing Center is available to students who need to take any college exam not offered by Great Falls College MSU.  At this time, GFC MSU is waiving the $15.00 fee associated with non-campus exams.  Please visit our website students.gfcmsu.edu/testing/guidelines.html  or call 406-268-3711 for additional information or to schedule your exams.  Your campus will most likely require a proctor agreement with our campus to receive any exam password or paper exam. 

The vital work of the Academic Success Center, which provides free tutoring for students, will continue normal operations for those seeking help with classes, but Director Charla Merja is exploring ways for some of that to move online and ensuring students are spread out when on campus and that spaces are disinfected after each use. Anatomical models still will be available and disinfected thoroughly after each use.

Yes, dual-credit students are welcome to use the Academic Success Center at any time.

 

K-12 School Closures

In coordination with Montana University System colleges and universities, the MUS is working to respond to the Governor's decision for K-12 school closures. If you are a student and are affected by K-12 closures, please work with your faculty members to make arrangements for missing any in-person classes you are taking.  Faculty have been advised of disruptions for students caused by COVID-19 such as K-12 school closures. Faculty have been asked to work with students by offering makeup exams, alternate assignments, or alternate weighting of missed work. Faculty have been asked to be as flexible as possible with attendance policies.

 

Veterans Benefits

No. Based on recently passed legislation (Senate Bill 3503, signed into law March 21, 2020), Post-9/11 GI Bill ® students who pursue resident courses converted to an online modality solely due to COVID-19 will continue to receive the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) rate for resident training during the Spring 2020 semester.

Financial Aid

Students who have been attending since the beginning of the term already have received aid disbursements and refunds. Students who were not enrolled during the first block and are just beginning enrollment during the second block will receive their financial aid disbursements and refunds according to the same schedule as before.  No disbursement adjustments will occur in light of the extended spring break.  Please refer to “Dates to Remember” on the Paying for College section of the website.http://finaid.gfcmsu.edu/dates.html

No, because financial aid disbursements are not being adjusted, the bookstore charging for students starting in the second block will remain the same.  Students will need to purchase all required books before classes begin if they are planning to charge the books to their financial aid.  Please note, only students who are starting their first courses of the spring semester in the second block are allowed to charge books at this time.  Please refer to “Dates to Remember” on the Paying for College section of the website. http://finaid.gfcmsu.edu/dates.html

No.  As of March 23, students working under federal or state work-study are not to return to their work-study jobs.  Because work-study is student financial aid, these students will continue to be paid wages based on scheduled hours for the duration of the spring semester, as long as the student is enrolled at least half-time and otherwise eligible.  Students can contact their supervisor or the financial aid office with questions.

Testing Center

No. As of 2 p.m. Friday, March 27, the Testing Center on campus will be closed.  The online proctoring will be up and available by no later than April 3. If we can get everything in place, it may be sooner.  The Testing Center hours will not change once we are online.   

We will begin using MonitorEDU to live proctor all student exams proctored by the Testing Center.  This platform allows the proctors to view the room, work area and monitor of the students testing.  The environment will be very similar to what we have now, but virtually. The students will check in - verifying their identity, acknowledge the testing center rules, and showing the proctor their testing area. Once the proctor is comfortable with the area, the student will be provided the password and allowed to begin their test.  At any time, if the proctor feels something is amiss, they will address the individual and have the student correct the issue before continuing.  Any issues will be noted and the faculty will be notified. 

For those of you who collect scratch paper, we will ask the students to take pictures and email to the Testing Center.  The proctors will forward any scratch paper received to the instructors. 

As soon as we have the website up, I will send you information to provide to your students on how the online system will work. 

Contact Charla Merja at 406-771-4301 or charla.merja@gfcmsu.edu with questions.  

The college is working on implementing a virtual proctoring system for those who live at a distance or who are not able to come to campus. Students will need a webcam and photo ID. However, the Testing Center on campus is open, and students who can come to campus will be using it for their proctored tests. Students will need a photo ID. Students will not be charged for proctored tests related to their classes.

Veterans Center

The Veterans Center will be closed physically, but Director Kevin Lyons will explore ways to make sure that the camaraderie, teamwork and family atmosphere created in that spaces continues. He can be reached kevin.lyons@gfcmsu.edu and 406-771-4434.

Advising

We have been reaching out to students using their preferred choice. You can check and edit your preferred email in your Banner Web/MyInfo. If you are still not receiving this communication, make sure you change your personal email settings to receive emails from Great Falls College.

At this time, any adjustments made to course delivery will continue through the rest of the semester.

 

Dual Enrollment

The calendar for dual enrollment students has shifted just like our regular students. Your classes will begin on Monday, March 23. If you were in an online class, you will stay in that online class. If you were in a face-to-face (on-campus) class, we will provide more information about how that will change. For questions about your dual enrollment classes, please contact dual@gfcmsu.edu

Disability Services

Please call Kathy at 406-771-4311 or email at katherine.meier@gfcmsu.eduand to notify her. She will send your accommodation requests electronically to your faculty members.

Accommodated lab exams and quiz times will be held on campus at the regularly scheduled times set by the Biology Department.

Disability Services office will remain open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Please call Kathy at 406-771-4311 or email at katherine.meier@gfcmsu.eduto set up an appointment.

Yes, the Disability Services office will remain open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Please call Kathy at 406-771-4311 or email at katherine.meier@gfcmsu.eduto set up an appointment.

Native American Enrichment Center

The Native American Enrichment Center will be closed physically, but Director Kathy Meier will explore ways to make sure that the camaraderie, teamwork and family atmosphere created in that spaces continues. She can be reached at katherine.meier@gfcmsu.edu and 406-771-4311.

No. The Blackfeet Language classes have been canceled.

Student Central

Student Central still will be available through Friday, March 27, for in-person student assistance. Beginning March 30, operations in Student Central will be limited to phone calls and email.

Reach Admissions via e-mail at admissions@gfcmsu.edu or phone at 406-268-3700 or 800-446-2698 and fax at 406-771-2267.

Reach Advising via e-mail at advising@gfcmsu.edu or 406-771-5100. Students also can continue to contact their advisors using the advisors’ direct phone number and e-mail.

Reach Financial Aid via e-mail at finaid@gfcmsu.edu or via phone at 406-771-4334 and via fax at 406-771-4410.


edit