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July 15 Announcement from Vice Provost for International Affairs

Dear campus community,

Yesterday afternoon, SEVP (the Student and Exchange Visitor Program) rescinded the guidelines announced on July 6, limiting the number of online courses the international students can take to maintain legal status in the US in the fall 2020 semester. The US government has not clarified the current requirements for international students, and we are waiting for further communications from them.

This decision means that the government has reverted to the March guidance to allow the international students to take multiple classes online temporarily. Still, we highly encourage our international students to engage in as many face-to-face classes as they are able to take. We are monitoring the official announcements from the US government, and we will provide clarifying details as they emerge.

As we are moving forward with the planning of the return to campus in the fall, we want the international students to know that we understand the stress and confusion you must have felt in the past few weeks and even months due to the pandemic and government regulations. Many of you traveled far away from home, and we are thankful that you chose UT and joined our volunteer family.

Since the July 6 new guidance, our center received many communications from our faculty, staff, and administrators, indicating their willingness to work with the international students to ensure their academic journey is not interrupted due to the new guidance. To our colleagues, thank you for standing by our international students and for recognizing them as an essential part of our campus.

As mentioned in July 13 Tennessee Today, our international students are “scholars, contributors to campus life, and valued members of the Volunteer family. They are welcome here now and always.”

Gretchen Neisler
Vice Provost for International Affairs
Director, Center for Global Engagement