The federal Student and Exchange Visitor Program guidelines for international students will remain hybrid for the Spring 2021 semester, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Tuesday.
Nonimmigrant F visa and M visa students actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, who subsequently took courses online while outside the country can re-enter the U.S., even if their school is engaged solely in remote instruction.
“Nonimmigrant students should continue to abide by SEVP guidance originally issued in March 2020,” SEVP spokesperson Carissa Cutrell told indica News. “The guidance enables schools and students to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the public health emergency generated by COVID-19.”
“The March 2020 guidance applies to nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020, and are otherwise complying with the terms of their nonimmigrant status, whether from inside the United States or abroad,” Cutrell said
According to March 2020 guidance, nonimmigrant F and M students in new or initial status after March 9, 2020, will not be able to enter the United States to enroll in a U.S. school as a nonimmigrant student for the spring term to pursue a full course of study that is 100 percent online, according to the department.
Nonimmigrant F or M students in new or initial status after March 9, 2020, can enter the U.S. to enroll in a U.S. school as a nonimmigrant student to pursue hybrid coursework for the spring term, which includes online classes in excess of federal regulations. Federal regulations limit nonimmigrant F and M students to one online course per school term.
Since the pandemic, international student enrollment in US colleges is down. said Cutrell.
New international student enrollment in the U.S. and online outside the country has decreased by 43 percent in Fall 2020, according to data from OpenDoors.com, based on the Fall 2020 International Student Enrollment Snapshot released jointly by IIE and nine partner higher education associations. Many international students studying at U.S. institutions took
advantage of opportunities to begin their studies remotely.
According to Open Doors, new student enrollment accounted for 25 percent of the
international student population for the 2020-21 academic year.
In addition, 90 percent of institutions reported international student deferrals in Fall 2020.
Schools responding to the survey of more than 2,900 institutions indicated that nearly 40,000 students have deferred enrollment to a future term.
The snapshot shows 82 percent of responding institutions report increasing virtual recruitment online, and one in five international students (20 percent) are studying online from abroad in
the Fall 2020.
The snapshot is designed to provide a comprehensive view of international student trends from the 2019-20 academic year to 2020-21.