S3E4: International Students and Online Learning

Doug McKenna |
July 30, 2020
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • International
  • Records and Academic Services

International Students and Online Learning

The past several weeks have been tumultuous for international students registered to study at American higher education institutions this fall, as SEVP released much more restrictive guidance than had been issued in the spring. We talk with Steve Springer from NAFSA about the regular requirements for international students, and how the recently released (then subsequently rescinded) guidance affects those. We also hear from Jay Ligon, Director of International Student Scholar Services at Louisiana Tech and Rob Berwick, AVP and Registrar at Jacksonville University about their institutions’ responses. The saga continues! Part of this episode was recorded between July 6 and July 14 when the restrictive guidance was rescinded. Steve and I spoke after the rescission, but we both anticipated additional guidance being released, and as of Friday afternoon, July 24, there is updated guidance for fall.

Steve Springer - Director, Regulatory Practice Liaison
NAFSA - Association of International Educators

Jay Ligon, Director of International Student and Scholar Services
Louisiana Tech University
f: WhatsApp: 318-243-8593

Robert Berwick, Asst Vice President, Registrar

Key Takeaways:
There’s a significant amount of uncertainty relating to fall 2020, especially for international students, as multiple rounds of sometimes conflicting guidance has been issued by SEVP. Registrars should be sure to check in with their ISSS offices to partner in any way they can. The role of the registrar is always expanded in a crisis, and the double-whammy of COVID-19 and restrictive guidance from SEVP relating to international students is no exception. Take a students-first perspective: reach out to your international students and listen to their concerns and their needs and see what you can do to provide some certainty for that population especially during these very uncertain times.

References and Additional Reading:
Student and Exchange Visitor Program: https://www.ice.gov/sevis

Most recent guidance for International Students:
AACRAO International
International Professional Proficiency
NAFSA Timeline of SEVP Guidance