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Commencement 2021


Flex Term Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Flex Term?

Flex Terms are an opportunity for undergraduates to participate in Stanford activities, such as student organizations, research, or Cardinal Service, without requiring full-time enrollment. Flex Term is similar to a Summer quarter in a traditional academic year. Undergraduate students are limited to one Flex Term during the 2020-21 academic year and are expected to enroll full time in the three remaining quarters. Students that are unable to or do not want to enroll full time in all three quarters may apply for a LOA. Students are not required to take a Flex Term and may instead enroll full time for all four quarters (though students should contact the Financial Aid Office regarding funding for the fourth quarter, as students are generally only eligible to receive financial aid for three quarters, the standard length of Stanford’s academic year). Alternately, if students do not wish to enroll full time in all three quarters, they may apply for a LOA.


How do I declare my Flex Term?

Undergraduate students will have the ability to designate their Flex Term as part of the quarterly check-in. A Flex Term will be assumed for those who do not complete the quarterly check-in and have not already used their Flex Term previously. Note: students must be active to declare a Flex Term. A Flex Term cannot be declared for students on a leave or after degree conferral. 


I’m an international student on a F1/J1 visa - what is my Flex Term?

International undergraduates  are expected to enroll in three consecutive quarters during the 2020-21 academic year, with Summer considered their Flex Term. For more information please refer to the Bechtel International Center website.


How many Flex Terms can I take?

Undergraduates may take one Flex Term in the 2020-21 academic year. The Flex Term is equivalent to the ‘Summer’ term in a standard academic year.


Is enrollment mandatory in a Flex Term?

No. Enrollment is not required in a student’s Flex Term. The student can take the quarter away from Stanford or choose to engage by enrolling in up to 5 free units.


How many units can a student enroll in during the Flex Term?

Undergraduates and coterm students in the undergraduate tuition group can enroll in up to 5 units for the quarter. All 5 of the units are free and do not carry a tuition charge. Students may see other charges on their bill for the flex quarter, such as the Campus Service Health Services Fee or ASSU fees, etc.


Can I live in Stanford Housing while on a Flex Term?

Students on a Flex Term may live in Stanford Housing only if they meet both of the following conditions:

  1. Their cohort has been approved to return to campus (Ex. Juniors/Seniors for spring quarter)
  2. They are pursuing an approved full-time Experiential Learning Opportunity (ELO). 

Additional information can be found here.


What other opportunities are available in the Flex Term?

During a Flex Term, you can participate in Stanford activities and organizations, pursue part-time opportunities funded by Stanford, and use Stanford resources. You can also participate in full-time Stanford programs (e.g. Cardinal Quarter, research programs) in Spring or Summer after completing two quarters of full time enrollment in the current academic year.


Can I save my Flex Term and carry it over to the next academic year (academic year 2021-22)?

No, if taking a Flex Term, it must be done in one of the four terms (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer) of the current 2020-21 academic year.


I only have a few units left to graduate. Can I take a Flex Term and use my free units to complete my requirements and graduate?

Yes, you can enroll in the free units in your Flex Term to complete your degree requirements and apply to graduate.


Can I apply to graduate in my Flex Term?

Students can apply to graduate in their Flex Term only if they are enrolled in the free units (1-5 units) or apply for a Special Registration Status. Please note that students may not declare a Flex Term after degree conferral.


Am I eligible for financial aid during my Flex Term?

No.  Stanford’s financial aid program is not available to provide support for your living expenses during your Flex Term.  If the financial aid program supports your living expenses during enrolled quarters you will need to find alternative resources during your Flex Term, just as you normally would during a summer term.  More detailed information is available from the Financial Aid Office.


Can I receive Federal Work Study during my Flex Term?

Federal Work Study (FWS) and Community Service Work Study (CSWS - through Haas) may be available for students eligible for federal student aid if you are enrolled in up to 5 units or are not enrolled but intend to enroll in the following quarter.  If you are not enrolled, you may earn up to $7,000.  Enrollment will limit your eligibility for FWS or CSWS based on your living situation.


What fees will I be assessed during my flex term?

  • Cardinal Care (if you did not waive coverage prior to the deadline)
  • Campus Health Service Fee, if living on campus
  • PO Box fee (annual fee charged in Autumn quarter, if you did not waive prior to the deadline)
  • Applicable course fees (course fee information can be found on ExploreCourses)


I am a coterminal student, am I eligible for a Flex term and free units?

Coterm students in the undergraduate tuition group are eligible for a Flex Term and up to 5 free units in the flex quarter. For more information on coterm tuition groups, see Coterm Tuition Assessment.


I am a coterm who has decided to take a Flex Term.  Why can I not add my 5 free units?

Coterms are only eligible to add free units to their undergraduate career.  You will not be able to add these free units to your graduate career.


I am a coterm. Are the units I take during my Flex Term eligible for transfer to my graduate career?

Yes. Courses taken during a coterminal student's Flex Term are eligible to be transferred via the Coterminal Course Transfer process, as long as all other conditions for transfer are met.


If I am a student-athlete, am I eligible for a Flex Term?

Yes, student athletes are permitted to take a Flex Term at their discretion. However, the ability to practice, compete, and receive athletics aid may be contingent on full-time enrollment, so it is in your best interest to contact the Compliance Services Office at with any questions prior to enrolling in a Flex Term.


For further questions regarding the Flex Term, please submit a ServiceNow ticket.