Dear MICA international students,
I am writing to express MICA’s unequivocal support for our international students and to provide useful information that will help you plan for the Fall 2020 semester.
On July 6, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued new guidance for the Fall 2020 semester that prohibits international students from taking an online-only program while they are in residence in the United States. This new guidance arrived after waves of earlier visa and travel restrictions that have negatively impacted international students. MICA finds these measures harsh, unfair, and harmful to international students and to our globally connected creative community.
First and foremost, I want to stress the significance of international students’ contribution to MICA and to our fields. Global connection, intercultural awareness, and sensitivity to equitable treatment are very important for a dynamic and inclusive educational community. We all benefit from your vibrancy and creative energy. In return, we will do our utmost to protect your rights, promote your safety, and use all our means within the law to make sure that you are able to successfully graduate with a degree from MICA and embark on a career anywhere in the world.
MICA and I belong to the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Together with peer institutions nationwide, we will advocate with legislators to reverse this new policy.
Up to now, MICA had been working diligently to prepare its Fall curriculum and reopening plan to support our international student population under the more lenient ICE Spring 2020 Guidance that permitted online coursework. The new ICE Fall 2020 Guidance specifies that international students may not study in the US if they only enroll in online courses.
The information below can help you plan for the Fall 2020 Semester.
International Students Able to Study in Residence at MICA:
You will need to take a mixture of online and hybrid courses to maintain your legal status. In accordance with the new ICE guidance, the Office of International Education (OIE) will be preparing new I-20s for each of you planning to be on campus in the fall. These I-20s will stipulate that MICA’s mode of instruction is hybrid and that you are taking a mixture of online and hybrid courses.
By mid-July, Enrollment Services will release the revised fall course schedule so that you can see which courses will be taught online, hybrid, or in person. It may be necessary for you to change your fall course schedule. To ensure that you are taking the right type of courses to support your immigration status, you will need to check in with OIE. Please contact OIE at email@example.com to schedule an appointment for this check in.
International Students Remaining Overseas Because of Travel or Visa Restrictions:
You will need to take advantage of MICA’s range of online courses. Unfortunately, the ICE guidance does not allow you to maintain your active F-1 status while taking online courses from overseas (as you did in the Spring 2020 semester). However, you can still take your MICA Fall semester online courses and not fall behind in your academic programs. You do not need to be in active F-1 status in order to earn your online course credits.
By mid-July, Enrollment Services will release the revised fall course schedule so that you can see which courses will be taught online, hybrid, or in person. It will be necessary for you to change your fall course schedule and you should complete the short Adjustments to Learning form and submit that to the Learning Resource Center (LRC). To ensure that you are taking the right type of courses to allow you to return to active F-1 status for Spring 2021, you will also need to check in with OIE. The LRC will connect you with OIE after you submit the form or you may contact OIE at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment for this check in.
As you may know, high-profile law suits are beginning to challenge the federal government on this new ICE guidance. MICA supports these efforts to overturn this guidance. There should be more humane and safe options for our international students. OIE will be monitoring such developments and is the focal point for providing accurate immigration and visa-related information. Students with questions about immigration status or other immigration-related questions should contact OIE as indicated above.
Again, to all international students: MICA will do its utmost to adapt to whatever changes are necessary to protect your educational rights and support your success at the College. We know that these are challenging times for you. All these changes will require some physical, mental, and academic adaptation. Please know the entire MICA community is with you, and that you belong with us.
In a matter of weeks, we will welcome you to campus—physically or virtually. We will reopen MICA and move forward to a dynamic new academic year together.