UPR begins another atypical academic semester
By John McPhaul
University of Puerto Rico (UPR) is beginning the 2020-2021 academic year with 12,724 new students admitted to undergraduate and graduate programs on its 11 campuses and units.
According to statistics from the island’s main public university, 56 percent of undergraduate students this fall are female and 44 percent are male. Fifty-one percent are graduates of public schools and 18 percent have an academic grade point average of 4.0.
As UPR President Jorge Haddock had anticipated, classes at all campuses are mainly being offered remotely. The university has more than 11,500 courses adapted to online technologies. In the case of administrative tasks, the campuses and units have communicated the activities that they will carry out in person, following the established health and safety protocols.
“As the main educational and research center on the island, we began a new semester focused on promoting research and creative work, and expanding academic opportunities in partnership with other institutions inside and outside of Puerto Rico,” Haddock said in a letter to the university community. “We are focused on continuing to develop new alternatives and expanding our academic offerings to attract the local and international community, fulfilling our main mission of educating.”
Director of Admissions Ivonne Calderón said those interested in studying at UPR can visit the website upr.edu/admisiones to learn about the academic offerings and request admission to the programs that are available.
“A very special welcome for the students who accepted the challenge of starting studies in August 2020. Fight for your goals and trust that we will be your allies to achieve them,” Calderón said “Success to you in your university life. The University of Puerto Rico has the best offering for those who want to achieve academic excellence and stand out locally and globally.”
As part of the efforts to continue supporting students at the beginning of the new academic year and in the face of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Haddock announced that he has made the processes for granting tuition payment plans more flexible and has canceled the collection of surcharges for late payment at all campuses and units.
“Given that we are still facing the effects of the pandemic, we have implemented this measure again to alleviate the economic burden on our university community,” he said. “Our interest is that they can concentrate on their academic goals, complete their studies and live the great experience that the institution offers.”
That relief is coupled with the technological support that each campus and unit will offer to students and teachers, through the distribution of the second installment of funds allocated under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act legislation, as well as other student support services that are already available, as announced by UPR’s vice president of student affairs, José Perdomo.
“Each campus and unit reviewed the protocols for services to our students. In these unusual times, we will provide additional resources to improve the service and experience for students,” Perdomo said. “We have created immediate response centers through the units to attend to situations that may arise.”
The UPR began the new academic semester on Aug. 5 at the Medical Sciences Campus, while the Aguadilla, Ponce, and Utuado units began classes on Aug. 10. At the UPR campuses in Arecibo and Cayey, classes began on Aug. 11. The UPR campuses in Río Piedras and Mayagüez began classes Monday, and classes begin at UPR-Carolina on Sept. 1.
The Humacao and Bayamón campuses have not announced dates for the opening of classes.