SEVP Updates for All International Students
July 7, 2020
Greetings, Andrews University International Students:
I wanted to begin by letting you know how much all of us at Andrews University appreciate your passion and drive as you pursue your academic goals with us! You help bring true meaning to “World Changers Made Here.”
As we prepare for another school year, with questions surrounding the impact of COVID-19, I also wanted to let you know that we are here for you during these difficult times.
I’ve already talked to a great number of you who have questions and concerns about what will happen in the fall 2020 semester in this current environment, so this is the first of a series of messages over the next few weeks which will focus on the July 6, 2020, U.S. government announcement of guidelines for international students studying in the United States for fall semester 2020.
Specifically, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, released a “COVID-19 and Fall 2020” statement yesterday. In this message, SEVP explained their new guidelines for international students studying in U.S. colleges and universities during the fall 2020 semester. Many of you have already read about this change in media reports, and many of you have questions.
This letter is designed to let you know what these guidelines mean for you and other Andrews University international students.
The guidelines identify three specific scenarios for colleges and universities for fall 2020: schools that will be operating entirely online, schools that will be operating under normal in-person classes, and schools that will be adopting a hybrid model. Andrews University will be operating under that third option, a hybrid model, which means that Andrews will offer you and other students both in-person classes and remote learning via online classes during fall 2020.
In this Andrews hybrid model for fall 2020, international students will have new and different rules to follow based on the SEVP regulations for fall 2020 and depending on their location of study:
Degree-seeking students with active I-20s who will be on the Andrews campus during fall 2020: You can take more than one online class as you study this fall semester, but you must also take at least one in-person class. The online classes you take must be required to make normal progress toward your degree of study. You will not be able to take only online classes. You will now be issued a new I-20 by Andrews University that states you are attending a university during fall 2020 that offers a hybrid plan of in-person and remote classes.
Degree-seeking students with active I-20s who will not be on the Andrews campus during fall 2020: The new regulations state that you will not be able to take online classes and maintain active I-20 status if you are away from the Berrien Springs campus during fall 2020. You will need to work with our International Student Services office to postpone your I-20 to a semester when you plan to return to our Berrien Springs campus (e.g. spring 2021). You can still take a full load of remote classes online from Andrews University during fall 2020, but your I-20 needs to be postponed to a semester you will actually be on our campus.
Degree-seeking students who are in the process of obtaining an initial I-20 and student visa for fall 2020: If you receive an I-20 and student visa in time to arrive on the Andrews campus to take a hybrid plan of in-person and remote classes during fall 2020, you will qualify for the first category above. However, if you decide you will not be able to come to the Andrews campus for fall 2020, you will need to work with our International Student Services office to postpone your initial I-20 to the semester you plan to come for studies on our Berrien Springs campus (e.g. spring 2021). You can still take a full load of remote classes online during fall 2020, but your I-20 to study at Andrews University needs to be postponed to the semester you will actually be on our campus.
Center for Intensive English Programs (ESL) students planning to take classes during fall 2020: English as a Second Language (ESL) students with active I-20s must plan to take in-person ESL classes during fall 2020 to remain on the Andrews campus. CIEP will be offering at least 12 credits of in-person ESL classes during fall 2020.
ESL students who will not be on the Andrews campus during the fall 2020 semester can take remote ESL classes online through CIEP, but if you currently have an active I-20 and plan to take online ESL classes off campus, you must work with our International Student Services office to postpone your I-20 to the semester you plan to be back on our campus.
If you have questions about these new guidelines, or if there is any other way we can help, please email International Student Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those of you who will be studying with us here in Berrien Springs, we will contact you soon to reissue I-20s that meet the requirements outlined in the SEVP message from July 6.
For those of you who cannot make it to our campus this fall, we will continue to support you as you take remote classes and make plans for a return to campus, hopefully in January 2021 at the beginning of our spring semester!
Blessings to each one of you as you make your plans for your studies in the months ahead.
Center for On-Campus International Student Services
College of Education & International Services