UVA Maintains Hybrid Model For International Students

UPDATE (14 July, 3:39PM): The Trump Administration announced they will rescind rule regarding foreign students studying in the United States. More here.

A day after US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced new rules for international students this fall, Jim Ryan and Liz Magill issued a statement to international students at UVA:

The President and Provost assured students that UVA is collaborating with other universities to seek changes in the current guidelines, which require international students to leave the US if they are not attending at least one in-person class this fall. Wednesday morning, Harvard and MIT sued the Trump administration over these guidelines. 

“The order came down without notice—its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness. It appears that it was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms for in-person instruction this fall, without regard to concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors, and others,” said Harvard University President Larry Bacow.

The F-1 visa, which most international students at UVA are on, has always prohibited students from taking online-only classes in the US. This prohibition is maintained in the new guidelines, although students in schools offering both online and in-person classes (a “hybrid model”) have some flexibility.

The guidelines also suggested that students transfer to schools with in-person instruction if their fall classes are online-only. Otherwise, they risk deportation if they stay in the US.

While Harvard has announced that its fall semester will be fully remote, UVA is committing to its original “Return to Grounds” plan, a hybrid model with some in-person instruction. This ensures that international students can “remain in the US without jeopardizing their immigration status”, said Ryan and Magill in their message.

The International Studies Office at UVA is currently examining the new FAQ issued by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and will hold a Town Hall this Friday to clarify students’ concerns.


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