Ball State responds to new ICE directive for international students

<p>A new directive from United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced international students holding F-1 and M-1 visas attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. Ball State's Rinker Center for International Programs is communicating with international students about what they need to do. <strong>Jordan Huffer, DN File</strong></p>

A new directive from United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced international students holding F-1 and M-1 visas attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. Ball State's Rinker Center for International Programs is communicating with international students about what they need to do. Jordan Huffer, DN File

On July 6, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced modifications to temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester.

The directive states nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the country. Additionally, it restricts F-1 students to a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.

F-1 nonimmigrant students pursue academic coursework and M-1 nonimmigrant students pursue vocational coursework while studying in the United States.

It states nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools adopting a hybrid model — a mixture of online and in person classes — will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. These exemptions, however, will not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs or M-1 students pursing vocational degrees.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SEVP previously instituted a temporary exemption regarding online courses for the spring and summer semesters. This policy permitted nonimmigrant students to take more online courses than normally permitted by federal regulation to maintain their nonimmigrant status during the COVID-19 emergency.

Ball State put out a press release Wednesday stating it is closely monitoring the situation and assessing the impact these changes may have on our students.

Following the ICE directive, Ball State's Rinker Center for International Programs is communicating with international students about what they need to do, the press release states.

The center is advising academic F-1 students to enroll in face-to-face or hybrid classes as much as possible, although more than one online/distance class can make up part of a full course load.

The center is also checking with the federal government whether the change to all online instruction for the last three weeks of the fall semester will affect students. For the fall 2020 semester.

Ball State previously announced classes would be moving to remote learning for the remaining three weeks of the semester after Thanksgiving break.

The press release state Rinker Center will update students about this as information becomes available.

On-campus classes at Ball State will start Aug. 24 as scheduled and is modifying how it conducts classes. Through all majors and programs, the press release states Ball State will deliver courses through different modalities — including on-campus interactions with modified seating, hybrid personalized instruction with alternate activities and attendance rotations and online courses.

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