We were pleased to learn this afternoon that the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has rescinded its recent changes to temporary exemptions for international students who hold F-1 and M-1 immigration status and plan to remain in the United States during the fall 2020 semester. As a result, the Government will return to the March 9, 2020 and March 13, 2020 policies, which permit international students to enroll in online courses during the coronavirus pandemic without compromising their immigration status. International students are a vital part of our UMBC community, and we are pleased that they will now be able to proceed with their plans for the fall 2020 semester.
The action to rescind the SEVP changes was announced today during a federal court hearing regarding lawsuits to block the proposed changes, including a multistate lawsuit that UMBC, as part of the University of System of Maryland (USM), had joined. More information about the lawsuit is included in this USM press release.
In addition to joining the lawsuit, UMBC had taken several other steps to support our international students in response to the initial SEVP policy changes.
- UMBC’s Office of International Education Services (IES) worked with academic leadership to develop a plan for course modifications that would have been implemented to enable international students to comply with the SEVP policy while still making normal progress in their academic programs.
- IES held a virtual town hall for international students last Friday to hear directly from them about the impact of the now-rescinded SEVP changes on temporary exemptions and to update them on UMBC’s response. Nearly 450 students, faculty, and staff participated in the town hall.
- The campus worked with the Maryland Congressional delegation to explain the impact of the rule change on UMBC and on the State of Maryland, and to request their support on this and related issues in Congress.
- UMBC also joined the national higher education community in signing a letter to the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security expressing opposition to the proposed changes.