New directions from the US federal government reinstate temporary enrollment requirements designed to help international students through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Missouri State University expects further instruction from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and will post official announcements as they become available. We will begin the fall semester in the hybrid status described below.
Missouri State University students will be eligible to register for online courses and will not face visa restrictions for enrollment.
Missouri State international students enrolled in fall 2020 semester courses are not at risk of losing their current visa status.
The below information was posted July 9 in response to the Broadcast Message posted July 6 by SEVP.
As you are likely aware, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has released new guidance regarding international students with F-1 visas.
Following the Broadcast Message posted July 6 by SEVP, Missouri State’s International Services Office has worked to coordinate the university’s interpretation of the expected ruling and plan for an appropriate response to fully support international students as they deal with the uncertainty and anxiety created by the announcement.
According to SEVP guidance, international students attending universities that are offering only online instruction during the fall 2020 semester will not be permitted to remain in the U.S. while completing their studies.
Missouri State offers hybrid model of instruction
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Missouri State University plans to offer a hybrid model of instruction for the fall 2020 semester. This is defined as a mixture of online and in-person classes. We will confirm those plans with SEVP and provide international students with updated I-20s
to reflect Missouri State’s hybrid course model.
For the purposes of providing accurate information and individualized support to all international Bears, we have segmented the international student population into four categories – as each will be affected differently by the expected ruling.
- Continuing international students who plan to be on-campus for the fall 2020 semester
- New international students who plan to be on-campus for the fall 2020 semester
- New international students (without a student visa) who plan to defer admission to spring 2021 or enroll in online courses during fall 2020, but defer their travel to the U.S. until spring 2021
- Continuing international students who are currently abroad and plan to remain abroad while taking online classes for the fall 2020 semester
International students on campus
Using the hybrid model, international students on campus will be allowed to take more than one course online. Students in categories 1 and 2 are recommended will be required to register for at least one in-person or blended course in the fall 2020 semester. These on-campus Missouri State international students will maintain their visa status because they are not in a program that is exclusively online.
New international students currently abroad
Students in category 3 will receive confirmation of their online start or deferral. These students do not yet have an active SEVIS record but are holding an initial I-20 from Missouri State and are waiting on their visa interviews to begin in-person classes in January 2021. The SEVP guidance will not affect these students and they are able to continue with plans to take online courses in the fall 2020 semester.
Continuing international students currently abroad
Students in category 4 will be able to take online courses abroad without affecting their current visa status. International Services will maintain active immigration records as long as students maintain enrollment for the fall 2020 semester.
Students in category 4 will be most negatively impacted by the expected ruling because they are at risk for having their SEVIS record terminated if they are not able to return to the US for the fall 2020 semester. International Services is working to find options for these students to consider in order to maintain their visa status.
Next steps: ongoing international student support
International Services is contacting each new and continuing international student to make sure they are aware of how the expected ruling may affect their plans for the fall. Individual email messages will include updated I-20s and instructions for the fall 2020 semester, including arrival procedures and support services offered by Missouri State to ease the transition back-to-campus.
As always, we encourage students to check their Missouri State email account frequently for communications and updates from International Services.
Information has been updated in the above paragraphs to reflect updated guidance for international student F-1 status on 7/16/20. Text from previous announcements has been struck through to indicate information that is no longer relevant.