Greetings from the Office of Global Engagement at the University of Mississippi. Below please find information on the most recent immigration news related to international students.
On Monday, July 6, the Student Exchange Visitor Program (or SEVP, a unit under U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) issued a broadcast message that caused anxiety and fear among international students across the United States. On Wednesday, July 8, UM sent a message to international students with our support and plan for keeping their schedules hybrid, involving a hybrid class for international students and individual accommodations that would protect them from deportation in the fall.
Yesterday, SEVP rescinded the widely criticized July 6 guidance. Unfortunately the rescission has left us with questions that need answers quickly so that you all can continue to plan course delivery for the fall and properly advise international students. SEVP has not yet stated whether continuing students must only take 3 online hours per semester or if there is flexibility in online course enrollment for fall. We are also unsure if new students will be subject to different rules. The March guidance that yesterday’s rescission made valid once again says that new students should not come to the U.S. if schools are not back to "standard operations," so we anxiously await clarification on what flexibility, if any, may be allowed or if regular semester online course limitations will be enforced.
Many students and departments have also asked about enrollment in classes from overseas. Please note that there exist location-specific requirements for compliance, based on the location where a student, regardless of nationality, accesses a course. Issues that must be reviewed include tax liability for UM, export controls, whether the course constitutes a physical presence in another country, etc. While we appreciate that many courses are being offered online this fall, it does not automatically mean that students can take online classes from outside the United States. Country analyses are in the works, and we hope that most, if not all, countries of origin for fall international students will be analyzed by the end of this month.
We, and other universities across the U.S., are hoping for clarification this week so we will know the impact of these changes on our international students. As soon as we have information on how to advise new and continuing students, we will communicate that to you.
Senior International Officer
Director of Study Abroad