Federal Rule Changes: Online Enrollment for International Students

New: One-Credit Course Planned for Fall, In-Person, No Tuition Cost

A summary of what we know and how it impacts international students. For more information, read the frequently asked questions (FAQs).

On July 6, 2020, the U.S. federal administration issued an announcement with near-final language for new rules on online enrollment for international students at U.S. universities this fall. This is another troubling step in an apparent effort to exclude international students from U.S. higher education.
The UO is steadfast in its commitment to welcoming international students and holds firm to the core belief that international students are vital to our success in research, teaching, and building diverse and inclusive communities. With our dedicated colleagues in UO Government Relations and other departments across campus, we are fighting this latest exclusionary move in coordination with many of the major higher-education associations.

Here’s what we know:

  • The main change is that international students who are in the U.S. in fall term cannot enroll solely in classes that are entirely taught online. 
  • Students may take more than one entirely online class, but may not take all their classes in that format. They need to take some classes that have an in-person instructional component. 
  • For next year, UO plans to offer many courses with an in-person component (e.g., lecture remote, but with lab or discussion section in person), making it possible for UO students to enroll in a manner allowed by these proposed rules.  
  • Universities must certify that students are taking the minimal necessary online classes for degree progression. We have a plan on how to certify this for the fall, and are currently seeking clarification from relevant authorities on this plan.
  • We are seeking clarification on how this impacts remote classes (live, synchronous instructional interaction via Zoom or another digital medium, not in-person). The proposed rules seem to use “online” and “remote” interchangeably. 
  • International Student & Scholar Services will review every student’s fall enrollment and contact students individually if there is any chance the student may not be in compliance with these rules. 
  • The rule does not prevent students who are out of the U.S. from enrolling entirely in online classes. UO is moving forward with our soon-to-be-announced #NoVisaNeeded alternate enrollment for international students who cannot enter the U.S.
  • This is an announcement of an upcoming rule change, to be finalized soon. The announcement includes the near-final language for the new rules. It still contains ambiguities that will likely be clarified in the coming days. 

Here’s how it impacts international students:

  • For F-1 international students IN the U.S., the following rule changes apply to fall term 2020:
    • Students must take at least one in-person or hybrid course (a mixture of in-person and online/remote).
    • Students cannot take all online courses.
    • Students should only take the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program.
    • Students will receive an updated I-20 certifying that 1) the UO is not operating entirely online, 2) the student is not taking an entirely online course load for the fall 2020 term, and 3) the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program.
    • Students in English language programs may not study in any online programs. The American English Institute (AEI) Intensive English Program is planning in-person and online programs to comply with all ICE/SEVP rules. Students in the AEI Intensive English Program will be notified of the program format prior to the start of classes.
  • For F-1 international students OUTSIDE the U.S., the following ICE/SEVP rule changes apply to fall term/semester 2020:
    • Students can enroll in online or remote classes, part-time or full-time.
    • While students are enrolled from outside the US, we now must temporarily deactivate your SEVIS record (this is a change in rules which used to let us keep SEVIS records active for students outside the U.S). When students can return to the U.S., SEVIS record will be reactivated or new initial I-20s will be issued, depending on guidance from SEVP.