Fall 2020: How US universities are tackling new student visa rules
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Fall 2020: How US universities are tackling new student visa rules

Fall 2020: How US universities are tackling new student visa rules

US universities are working around the latest government restriction so that first-year international students, whose fall classes are fully online, can get their US F1 visa.

A report released last month by the Institute of International Education (IIE), based on surveys sent to US universities on their plans for summer and fall 2020, found that 87% of colleges and universities are planning to offer hybrid instruction in fall 2020.

When asked to describe how they will be doing so, universities said they are exploring the options:

  • limiting in-person instruction to a certain percentage
  • restricting in-person instruction to class size
  • offering in-person instruction until a specific date, such as Thanksgiving, after which instruction will be online
  • only allowing in-person instruction for certain types of classes, such as labs or practicums

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which has been tracking over 1,000 institutions since April, approximately 65% of schools are preparing for in-person classes this fall. Nearly 5% have yet to decide.

US universities offering in-person classes for fall 2020

us universities fall 2020

US universities are planning to offer some form of in-person classes in fall 2020 so that new international students can get their US F1 visa. Source: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images/AFP

At Princeton University, certain “course components” for first-year students will be in person this fall.

Dean of the College Jill Dolan has informed them that while the university doesn’t know exactly which classes will be offered in-person as enrolment is still ongoing.

The Davis International Center, which offers specialised support for international students at Princeton, released a “Fall 2020 First Year Hybrid Statement” that outlines how first-year students can expect the option of in-person instruction.

According to the statement, these courses will include freshman seminars, writing seminars, and “designated precepts in courses that satisfy Princeton’s general education requirements.”

A statement by the University of Texas, Austin reads, “The fall semester will begin as scheduled on August 26, and classes will run until Thanksgiving.

“Students will not return after Thanksgiving and, instead, will participate in reading days and final exams remotely. With COVID-19 still expected to be active this fall, we hope to avoid the possibility of students becoming infected during the Thanksgiving break and then spreading the virus to classmates upon their return after Thanksgiving.”

Tulane University President Michael Fitts recently announced that the university’s fall 2020 semester will start on Aug. 12, 2020, with the return of in-person classes.

Classrooms will be adjusted to reduce density, and remote teaching and learning options will also be offered.

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