As college students across the country face an uncertain fall semester, international students face an even bigger challenge: they can either attend classes in-person during a pandemic or face possible deportation.
According to a new guideline released by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department (ICE), international students will not be issued new student visas or be allowed to remain in the country if their university courses are all online.
A statement from ICE clarified that “Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester.”
UVU has stated that the upcoming semester will be operating in a “mixed-modality model,” meaning that the school has not moved to a completely online mode of instruction.
“44% of classes [will be] face-to-face, 21% will be livestreamed, and 35% online,” said UVU. “[Our] international student community will need to take at least one in-person class to comply with this new mandate.”
In the past, students on F-1 and M-1 visas were not permitted to take more than one online course in a semester. In March, when universities suspended face-to-face classes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ICE announced that the rule was waived and would be reviewed at a later date.
The UVU International Student Services Department (ISS) reviewed ICE’s new guidelines and released their own statement on July 8. Steve Crook, director of the department, assured international students that they had options for face-to-face instruction.
“For Fall 2020, of the required 12 credits, you will be required to take at least one class designated as face-to-face,” said Crook in the statement. “UVU will have many classes that are face-to-face for Fall. Please contact your academic department advisors to find out more information on offerings in your major.”
In a clarification made days later, ISS let students know that there was no credit requirement for the face-to-face classes, as was previously stated. An in-person class of any credit allotment would count as their required in-person class.
The letter from Steve Crook and ISS, as well as any future updates, can be found on the Facebook page for the International Student Council.
Resources for International Students
List of face-to-face business classes (compiled by the Woodbury School of Business)
List of face-to-face classes (coming soon)
Olivia is a theater education major who stumbled into journalism. She’s a little too into movies, pop culture, and Oxford commas (against the desires of her editors). She is also very online. ([email protected])