Resources for Instructors, University staff and administrators
The Kearney Center staff continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and strives to provide the most accurate and updated information for international students. Updates may be frequent, so please check back often for new information.
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On July 6, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced proposed guidance on online course limits for international students on F-1 visas for Fall 2020. We know and feel how this announcement has caused stress and frustration for many in our campus community. At the Kearney Center, our priorities are responding to individual student questions, updating the campus community, and advocating against these new guidelines.
The Kearney Center and campus partners are working diligently to review the rules and to determine what they mean within the context of the University’s plans for Fall 2020. Here is some initial guidance:
- Minnesota State Mankato has chosen a hybrid model (HyFlex) for fall instruction, which offers flexibility for international students. The University is committed to ensuring international students will have in-person options and allowed to stay in the U.S.
- Continuing students who will be outside of the United States for the fall semester are allowed to take online coursework. Follow-up information published to clarify and expand on the initial guidelines state that students taking courses online outside of the U.S. will be able to maintain their F-1 status.
- New international students will be able to take all their courses online from outside the United States.
- Graduate students who are conducting research and/or taking thesis-only credits will have sufficient in-person contact hours to meet the requirements.
- The Kearney Center is working on plans for the required reissuing of I-20 documents.
There are many other outstanding factors to address, and we are working with administrators, faculty, and staff from across campus to address these concerns. We are working on solutions and will provide updates as information is clarified. Feel free to contact us with questions related to immediate travel or other urgent concerns.
We stand with those who are speaking out against these new regulations. NAFSA: Association of International Educators declared that this guidance from ICE is harmful to international students, and the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration also condemn the new guidelines, stating “we call on ICE to reverse course and provide greater flexibility.”
The University community cares about our international students and their experience, on and off-campus. We are working to limit the disruption of this new guidance for new and current students. Upon announcement of the rules, many faculty and staff reached out to inquire as to the impact of the changes and how the campus could respond. We are very proud that the University stands in solidarity with our international students, and values their perspectives and involvement.
News travels quickly and I’m certain most of you heard that SEVP (Student & Exchange Visitor Program) updated their guidance for fall 2020 yesterday. You’re likely wondering what this means for you considering the University’s Return to Learn plan. The Kearney Center is working to understand the new guidance and apply it to our current and prospective students. Unfortunately, the guidance leaves a lot of questions unanswered and we are working with our SEVP Field Representative to clarify these.
Here is what we know:
- This new guidance DOES NOT mean all international students cannot be in the U.S. for fall 2020.
- This new guidance DOES allow degree-seeking students at MSU, Mankato to take more than one class or three credits online for fall 2020 if they are in the U.S.
- This new guidance DOES NOT affect students currently on OPT.
- This new guidance DOES NOT allow current MSU, Mankato F-1 students who are outside the U.S. to continue studying from abroad and keep their SEVIS records active.
There are blogs, articles, social media groups/chats circulating that can lead to rumors. The media likes to create a hype often not covering the full picture. You may have friends at other schools in the U.S. whose situations will be different from yours. The Kearney Center will keep you informed. Please continue to check your email, read the weekly newsletter, and follow us on social media so you don’t miss any updates.
We have our weekly Open Info Session with the Kearney Center staff tomorrow, Wednesday, July 8th at 12:00pm CST. Please join us! We will do our best to answer your questions.
https://minnstate.zoom.us/j/9773474322 - password: kearney
Hang in there! I know you are receiving a lot of information at a stressful time. We are so happy you are part of the Maverick family and will support you through this. Don’t forget the goals you set when deciding to be a Maverick…we want to help you achieve those so you can move on and do great things!
All the best,
I have international students in my classes, won’t moving all classes online affect their status?
As long as the students are able to continue to make normal progress in a full course of study, the University may make accommodations to the delivery method of courses to minimize the potential impact of COVID-1 on the school. The University is required to provide SEVP notice which programs/classes will be affected.