July 15 International Student Reopening Information Session FAQ

Information from the information session for new and returning international students.

To watch the video recording of the session, click here.

Q: What are housing options for students in wheelchairs who need to extend/qualify for housing in the case campus shuts down again. Last semester after the shut down, the option for off-campus housing were non accessible housing units — how have things changed?

Accessible units will be available for anyone who needs to stay on campus and receives an exemption. It will be important to communicate as actively as is possible with the Learning Resource Center (LRC) and Residence Life, in particular if housing options are consolidated as the result of operational changes at MICA.

Q: Will RA’s lose their position if they take the semester fully online?  Will they retain the job in the Spring Semester? 

For a student to be an RA they must be physically present to fulfill their duties. This should be discussed directly with Sharnelle Henry, Assistant Director of Residential Living, who supervises the RA team.

Q: If travel plans change in August, will housing and meal plan fees be waived?

Students will only be charged for housing and the meal plan if they are here. Students who elect to study fully online or defer / take a leave of absence will not be charged for housing.

Q: If someone is on campus and takes Hybrid classes, will they have a  single room?

Yes. All bedrooms on campus will be single occupancy this semester, but students must be enrolled in at least one in-person or hybrid class to be eligible for on campus housing. Students taking a fully online semester may not live on campus.

Q: When we leave after Thanksgiving, and want to return to study on campus for the Spring 2021 semester, can we store possessions in our apartments for the Winter Break? 

No. All students will need to fully vacate their apartments when they depart for Thanksgiving Break. At this point it is impossible for us to know what housing demand for the Spring semester will be, and it is likely that we will have significantly more demand in which case we will need to reassign some or all students so there is a chance you will not return to your same assignment.

Q: Until what date can we stay in the residence halls?
 What about for international students unable to return home?  Is there a fee involved for an extension?

Extension applications will be available mid fall semester, with details to come at a later date. Housing will be charged on a week-by-week basis for those who are approved to stay beyond December 1.

Q: For online students, is there a specific procedure for all of the fees (student life, health insurance etc.) to be removed from our bills or will it be done automatically on the portal?

Students can email the Student Accounts Office at studentaccounts@mica.edu to ensure their bills are updated.

Q: If a student lives close to Baltimore, are they still able to take one or two in person classes while keeping their other classes online, but without living on campus or paying the housing fee? Should they still get health insurance?

If you are a first or second year student, the on campus residential requirement would still apply unless you have asked for and received an exemption from this requirement. The exemption request form can be found on the MICA website on the Residence Life page. There is a new exemption criteria this year for COVID related concerns, in addition to the traditional criteria. Any student who is taking in-person or hybrid classes will still need to meet MICA’s insurance requirements, which either means keeping MICA’s insurance program or demonstrating suitable other insurance. 

Q: What would a typical day of First Year International (FYI) classes look like? How long will the classes be?

There is an example schedule on the video provided for the FYI program. Part of our work as faculty is to support the development of your time management and organizational skills. The coursework is spread out over the week from Monday to Friday, generally one class per day. Our online meetings as groups will be about an hour and then we have estimated independent work time and additional student activity meetings.

Q: When do we return to campus after Winter Break?

 Spring semester classes begin January 19.

Q: Does the new semester calendar confirm the move-in dates for Seniors? If not, how do I find out the move in dates?  

 Currently the move-in dates are listed between Aug 17 and 26. More information about specific move-in dates/times is coming soon once MICA completely understands the demand. We have been able to narrow down the move-in windows for each community. Returning students will move in between August 17-20 and all new students will move in between August 20-24. Specific time slots within that window will depend on the assignment information. We understand the many complications that arranging travel entails. The move in process is complicated by the multiple layers of safety and social distancing protocols we have put into place. We can only accommodate a specific amount of people/hour/day and it varies from building to building.

Q: What if we want to return but there’s still no flight connecting from my country to the US due to COVID-19? 

If there are no flights from your country because of the travel ban, you may go to another country and take a flight from there to the US if one is available. You would just need to stay in that country for 14 days before leaving for the US.  This approach is not necessarily easy or cheap, but it does appear to be possible. 

The travel ban is not there to keep out citizens of certain countries from coming to the US. The argument that the US government gives is that the travel ban is in place to stop people coming to the US from countries that at the time the travel ban was put in place had high COVID-19 numbers. Arguably that may not be the case anymore, but for the moment the travel bans against travel from several countries are still in place. 

If you are not from a country that has a travel ban and there are still no connecting flights from your country, again, you could determine if it would be possible to go to another country and take a flight to the US from there. But again, you would have to stay in that country for 2 weeks before flying to the US.  

Q: Can Brazilian students, despite what the president said about Brazil in general, enter the US? 

The travel ban is in place not to stop people coming to the US from Brazil. It is in place to stop people flying to the US from Brazil. If it is possible for a Brazilian student to travel to a different country that is not subject to the travel ban — and that student has a valid visa — stay in that other country for 14 days and fly to the US from that country, the student should be able to enter the US. 

Q: Can a student take fully online classes in Korea without terminating their I-20? 

Yes, it is possible under the Spring COVID guidance from Homeland Security — that we are once again working with  — to take online courses from overseas and remain in valid F-1 status while doing so.

Q: If I choose to take the semester online and lose my F-1 status, are my future internships going to be impacted? 

Under the regulations from the US government that were overturned earlier this week, you would not have been able to be in status while studying overseas. But now, since we are dealing with the federal regulations from Spring 2020, anyone overseas studying at MICA can be in status and thus have that semester count as time toward being able to do Optional Practical Training at the end of the student’s academic program. And under the spring COVID guidance, it is possible to take a semester online and be in the US.

 Q: What will happen to  international students if MICA shuts down in the middle of the semester due to COVID-19 case at MICA? 

We are much better prepared for this case and so is the state of Maryland.  If we need to close for some reason, any student who has a need to stay past that date will have the chance to request an extension through the Office of Residence Life.  

Q: What are some of the social distancing rules and practices when it comes to working in the studios? 

In the studios and shops we are recommending 6 feet of distance between people.

Q: I’m interested in a class that will be fully online. Can I still take it? 

If you want to take an online class or a set of online classes, you can.  Know that most classes will meet at some point during the assigned EST time block.

Q: What do I need to do If I want to take a break for a year? 

Incoming first year students should pursue a deferral. Returning students should request a leave of absence.

Q: If the student takes a gap semester, would this affect their visa status under the new rules? 

No. This would be like the traditional way of dealing with taking a semester off. The student would need to complete the Leave of Absence form and then notify their academic advisor and the Office of International Education when the student is ready to return. Our office would then issue a new I-20 for the student. 

Q: Does this impact OPT applications? 

A student’s Optional Practical Training is not impacted by the Spring 2020 guidance we are working with except that the governmental agency that oversees OPT has not indicated that it is okay to apply for OPT from outside the US. So as of this moment, we would not recommend any F-1 student in their last semester who wants to apply for OPT to apply from abroad.

Q: Are we going to have longer item checkout hours for the Tech Centre? 

Tech checkout will be the same, but only on-campus students can check out equipment.

 Q: What is the plan for spring 2021? Will MICA continue online education as an option in spring 2021? 

MICA will be evaluating the pandemic situation, but know that likely the online choices will remain for spring 2021.


Q: Does MICA recommend that students study in-person at the school? 

You as students are empowered to make a choice based on how comfortable you are feeling about being on campus or studying remotely.

Q: What do the The FYI online classes look like?

We will offer some coursework that you will work on independently and there will be activities and discussions that will be completed in an online virtual group format, both in Canvas and in Zoom. Additionally, many of the teachers in the FYI program are trained English language learning specialists as well as practicing artists and designers, so that additional support is available as needed. There will be one 16 week course, Forum I that will last all semester. The other class offerings from First Year Experience are in Drawing, Color/Design and Space/Time. The Liberal Arts division will offer Art Matters and Frameworks which are the first year courses in Art History and Humanistic Studies. These sections of the FYI classes will be offered in an 8 week block schedule.  This means along with the full semester Forum class, you will take two classes for eight weeks. When those two classes end, you will begin two new classes for the last 8 weeks of the semester. Please note that your classes have been carefully selected; your schedule has been customized for you. First Year International is a rich curriculum, designed for online learning with the same course learning outcomes as in-person coursework.

Q: What will the pricing look like for the FYI online semester? 

If you enroll full time in FYI online, your tuition is the full tuition rate for the five classes you will take over the course of the fall semester.. You will not be charged student activity fees, but very importantly, you will be included and invited to all the activities that are offered at MICA in the fall. All student activities, including visiting artist lectures, student interest groups, departmental events will all be held virtually.  You also have the option of taking just one course, Forum I,  and you can receive a prorated scholarship award. Any student FYI considering part-time enrollment should contact Financial Aid and Advising for more detailed information.