Coronavirus Update from the President

Hello Ravens!

As we near the end of our first virtual week at AU, I wanted to let you know there are many people praying for you every day all around the world. You are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses!

It is my hope that you’re starting to adjust to our new normal. Please know that you are dearly missed. You all are what makes this place so special. Although I do not know the day that we will be able to reunite, I think of that day often.

I wanted to update you on some concerns that have been raised since we made the announcement to suspend all in-person classes. The university has been working diligently to answer all questions during this confusing time. The sections below address the most frequently asked questions. Another update will be provided next week.

Questions about Refunds & Billing

Understandably, we have received several questions about what we will do regarding spring semester room and board charges. Since we work diligently with each student and family to create a path to an AU education, there is a large variety of financial plans and accounts that still must be reviewed against federal guidelines so that we can come up with the best solution for our students and families. For now, know that specific answers are coming for each of you. We have a team of individuals sorting through the data and regulations and they hope to have something more definitive by next week.

You may have recently received an update to your student account. This was because summer charges for summer school were processed yesterday in the normal course of business. The intent was to allow students and families the needed time to make arrangements for payment plans. For those of you on existing payment plans, Nelnet does produce a monthly statement to show the ongoing balance.

If your questions have not yet been answered, please know that we are working to review everything as quickly as possible to unearth answers for you in this unprecedented situation. We apologize for the wait while we take the time to do this important work for you. We look forward to providing you with the updates that you need very soon.

Online Testing

Our switch to online classes due to COVID-19 has allowed us to introduce a new tool in Canvas called Respondus Lockdown Browser. If you’re not familiar with Lockdown Browser, it is a customized browser that increases the security of tests in Canvas. This short video provides a simple explanation of how tests work with Lockdown Browser. (Please note, AU will only use the webcam option in a small number of situations). We are introducing this tool in an effort to strengthen the academic integrity of online testing. Your instructors will be giving you more information in Canvas if they plan on using it.


Many of you have asked about our decision to cancel the 2020 Commencement. It grieved me to do so, even though it is no longer safe or socially responsible to continue forward with our original plan during the pandemic for May 9, 2020.

We do want to find another way to celebrate the dedication and relationships that our 2020 graduates have poured into the AU community. We have sent a survey to our 2020 graduates to get their input on an alternative Commencment celebration. While we will need to be creative, we do want to find a way to properly launch our graduating Ravens. All orders for caps and gowns have been canceled for the original May 9, 2020 Commencement. Refunds will be made to your original form of payment in the next 30-60 days. If you’re still interested in ordering a cap and gown, information to re-order will be communicated by email in the next week or so.

I’m grateful for your patience as we strive to meet the changing demands of the day. Our daily routines have been disrupted, the landscape seems to shift minute by minute, but be assured we Ravens will stick together (even virtually for now).

We’re in this together and we are #StillAU.

President Pistole