July 15, 2020
With the start of USC’s fall semester less than five weeks away, I am writing to share our current and best advice for new international students.
Things are changing quickly, and we know there is a lot of confusion out there. We’re doing our very best to stay on top of policy changes at the federal level, and to advocate for your best interests every step of the way. We’re also following evolving public health guidelines, and keeping your safety and well-being as our absolute top priorities.
Please know we’re in this together, and we’re truly sorry for the stress many of you are experiencing.
You’ve undoubtedly heard news about the U.S. government’s restrictions on international students, the outcry against these policy changes, and USC’s strong denunciation of these changes. You also saw yesterday’s government reversal.
Today we have an update. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security stated that newly admitted F-1 international students, who are currently outside the U.S., should not enter the U.S. on a student visa, unless they are able to enroll in a full in-person academic program.
We strongly disagree with this statement and will continue to press this on Capitol Hill and with the Administration. However, if you have not already begun your journey to the United States, we recommend that you stay home and take your fall coursework online.
According to today’s statement by the government, new student visa holders who make it to the U.S. will still be required to take a certain minimum number of courses in-person to maintain their legal status. Unfortunately at this time, USC cannot guarantee that enough in-person classes will be available, given the current challenges brought on by the pandemic and potential changes in public health guidance.
We encourage you to work with your academic advisor to find a suitable schedule of courses you can complete online so that you may continue to make progress toward your educational goals. New undergraduates are also welcome to contact their academic advisor or admission counselor with questions. New graduate students should contact their school or department for answers to any questions.
Please note that admitted students who are already in status in the United States (undergraduate transfer students or new graduate students coming directly from another degree program) may be able to remain in the country and maintain F-1 status while completing coursework online this fall. The USC Office of Admission I-20 Processing will assist these students and can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most USC students will be taking all of their coursework online this fall. As such, the university is developing a robust online experience for every student – not only for coursework, but also for other elements of the student experience as well. We cannot predict how things will progress in the coming months, although we of course hope that normal operations will resume in January and that all USC students will be able to return to campus at that time.
Thank you for your flexibility, patience, and understanding. We will continue to advocate for you, and to support the goals you have for your education.
Timothy E. Brunold, Dean of Admission