We hope that this email finds you well.
Yesterday the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued its Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) operational guidance for the Fall 2020 semester. While it does not extend the waiver issued last Spring, the University of Houston believes the guidance does allow the flexibility for our international students to legally continue their studies in the United States in the hybrid (HyFlex) format the university is offering, which incorporates both face-to-face and online learning.
Under the University of Houston’s interpretation of the SEVP guidance as originally issued July 6th, 2020, we believe the following academic instruction scenarios to be accurate as they apply to our F-1 international students:
- F-1 students may not be enrolled in an online-only degree program or take all of their courses in an online-only setting and remain in the United States.
- F-1 students may take more than one course, or three credit hours online and remain in the United States as long as the student is making normal progress toward their degree program and they take at least one course that includes a face-to-face component.
- The University may determine the minimum number of online classes required for an international student to make “normal progress” in their degree program.
- If the University makes a mid-semester shift to fully online course delivery, and as a result an international student ends up taking an entirely online course load, that student will be required to return to their home country.
- The current SEVP Guidance is subject to change.
At this time, the University has temporarily paused enrollment while we reengineer our original course schedule to offer Hyflex and online modes of delivery in the fall. During this time, we will determine the scope of face-to-face course demands by our international students and make adjustments.
In the coming days you can expect the following:
- ISSSO will issue a new I-20 to reflect your enrollment status for the fall 2020.
- ISSSO will request information from you to assist us to process the new I-20.
- We will provide guidance by email on how you can obtain this new I-20 or report that you are unable to enter the United States for the fall semester.
- In addition, we will continue to communicate any new information that becomes available.
I want to assure you that UH is committed to the successful completion of your academic endeavors and that you remain in compliance for the fall 2020 semester.
International Student and Scholar Services