National University offers free online classes to California students impacted by coronavirus

Nick R. studying on laptop at library
To help California address disruption of school and college caused by coronavirus, National University will offer three months of free online classes to California students

Students can take up to three classes in April, May, and June 2020 to continue on their path to graduation; National University’s Virtual High School will also enroll high school students from across the state

SAN DIEGO—March 16, 2020— As colleges and schools across California suspend classes to help contain the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), National University (NU) is offering three months of free online classes to all California college and high school students who have been affected by COVID-19.

California college students may take up to three classes for all NU online programs in April, May, and June 2020. The University will begin enrolling students on March 16 to start their first course on April 6, which is after Spring Break for many colleges. Eligible students must be currently enrolled at a university that has seen disruption in classes because of the virus.

“The situation we are facing with COVID-19 affects all of us, so we’re taking this step as part of our commitment to the state and to its students, and as part of our community responsibility to support other institutions through a difficult, rapid transition to online education,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, chancellor of the National University System.

The private, nonprofit National University has more than 20 years of experience teaching and advising students online. The University offers a flexible one-class-per-month format and nearly 2,000 online courses, many of which are asynchronous courses that can be taken anywhere, at any time. The courses align with those at other institutions statewide, including California’s community colleges and state college and university system. Through articulation agreements and the same regional accreditation, the majority of course credits are transferable between the universities, enabling students to stay on track for graduation.

“Our mission as a nonprofit institution is to serve the public good and make quality education accessible to all students who want to continue their academic journey,” said Dr. David Andrews, president of National University. “Through the expertise of our faculty and staff, we are in a unique position to act as good community partners and help mitigate the disruption of students’ academic pursuits caused by this global crisis.”

As more colleges and universities attempt a rapid shift to an online modality, there is growing concern regarding the impact this may have on instruction. National University’s decades of experience in this space, enable the University to be nimble and provide academic continuity for its students among the changing recommendations of public health agencies. Last week, the University successfully transitioned 500 campus-based courses to an online modality for the remainder of the March term in less than 24 hours.

The offer to California college students builds on the relationship the University already has in place with these students. About half of all of NU’s graduate students come from the University of California or the California State University systems. The University is also one of the top transfer schools for California community college students. Last year, about 6,000 students transferred to NU from community colleges.

To participate in the three-month offer, students must be enrolled at an impacted university currently. NU will have additional advisors to work with students but aims to collaborate with other universities’ counselors and academic departments to make the transition as seamless as possible for students.

In addition to offering courses to college students affected by school closures, National University Virtual High School also will make its courses, teachers, and support available to help thousands of high school students keep on track for graduation.

Eligible California college and high school students can participate in this offer by visiting


About National University

Founded in 1971, National University is among the largest, private, nonprofit universities in California. With more than 180,000 alumni, National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students through its three Colleges: Sanford College of Education; College of Professional Studies; and College of Letters and Sciences. Programs are offered both online and at campuses throughout California and Nevada. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California. Learn more at

About the National University System

The National University System is a network of accredited nonprofit education institutions serving a diverse population of students including Pre-K-12 students and working professionals. NUS higher-education institutions serve more than 45,000 students through National University, Northcentral University, City University of Seattle, and John F. Kennedy University. NUS education-focused initiatives include Workforce Education Solutions and the Sanford Programs.

About National University Virtual High School

National University Virtual High School (NUVHS) is a comprehensive, private, independent online high school serving both full-time and part-time students. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS-WASC) and AdvancedEd.