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Supporting international students Heading link

The University is providing updated and revised guidance for academic units, faculty and staff regarding the awarding of assistantships and waivers to international students in fall 2020.  The key changes are as follows:

  1. Academic units may now award assistantships to new matriculating international students who remain abroad; and
  2. A new tuition and service fee waiver for fall has been created by the Graduate College.

In order to support our continuing and new international students and maintain UIC’s core teaching and research missions, UIC will be adopting the following strategies for this fall.

Guiding Principles
Because of our commitment to equitable treatment and support for all students, the University asks that all academic units provide the greatest possible flexibility for students. In the case of international students, we ask that the departments seek to provide online coursework to international students who enroll from their home country. Departments should seek to provide this online coursework either in an asynchronous modality or, if synchronous, at times of the day appropriate to the students’ time zone.

Academic units that matriculate students remotely for the fall semester must provide orientation (in coordination with the Office of International Services), mentoring, and advising appropriate to the student’s location and circumstances. Units should also seek means to ensure students are integrated into their academic program and student cohort so that they will be able to integrate fully upon arrival on campus.

Graduate Student Assistantships (NEW)
Except for students residing in countries under U.S. export control restrictions (these are Cuba, Crimean Region of Ukraine, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela), academic units may provide assistantships to newly matriculated and continuing international students who are authorized for campus employment and are able to perform the relevant duties. The restrictions of external grant sponsors may not allow extending appointments to some students working remotely, and programs may need to defer enrollment for these students if alternative funding support is not available.

The awarding of assistantships to international F-1 students who are working remotely (either in the U.S. or abroad) is allowable under the temporary SEVP guidance issued in March.  If and when the pre-COVID 19 regulations are restored, SEVP regulations would require that students receiving assistantships be employed on-campus or at an “educationally affiliated off-campus location.”  This would mean that all international students with assistantships would be required to return to on-campus employment.  If any of those students could not obtain an F-1 visa at that time, they might have to resign from their assistantship.

Stand-Alone Waivers & Fellowships (NEW)
For those students unable to accept assistantships or perform the duties remotely, academic units may provide stand-alone tuition and service fee waivers (TFWs) for incoming or continuing international students who have been offered assistantships but who cannot fulfill their duties while abroad. This is a temporary initiative for the fall 2020 semester only.

Within the next few days, the Graduate College will provide additional information to academic units and students concerning tuition and fee waivers and Graduate College fellowships for international students. The Office of International Services will announce the dates for a series of town hall meetings to update students, faculty and staff and address any questions that may arise.

It is important for the Office of International Services to be copied on the assistantship and waivers award letters in order for OIS to update the immigration documents as needed. This is a reportable field in SEVIS since it will be either new funding or change in funding.