Spring 2021: COVID-19 & Immigration FAQs for International Students
Updated October 27, 2020
The following items relate to Colorado College’s announced plans for the Spring semester. As of yet, no new spring immigration guidelines from the U.S. government have been released. As soon as any updates to immigration guidelines are published, we will communicate with all international students and update this page accordingly.
STUDENTS ALREADY STUDYING AT CC (IN COLORADO)
Can I remain either on campus or in Colorado Springs for the Spring Semester?
Yes. If you have been either living on campus or in Colorado Springs for the Fall semester, you are welcome to remain for the spring semester as well.
Can I take online courses from other locations within the United States?
No. If you are within the United States, current immigration policy requires that you are present at/around campus and enrolled in a mixture of online and in-person courses (flex, hybrid, etc.) It is not possible to study online from another location in the USA.
Am I required to take a J-Block course?
Yes (Maybe). Students who are in the USA are required to be enrolled in every block of the Fall and Spring semester. This includes the J-Block, which is the final block of the fall semester. If you have not taken another fall block as a “block off”, you may petition for permission to take the J-Block as your one allowed “block off” per semester. You should contact Marlene or Donna to begin the petition process if you wish to do this. If you have had a block off between blocks 1-4, you must be enrolled in the J-Block.
When should I return to campus from Winter Break?
If you are enrolled in a J-Block, classes begin on January 4 and you should return prior to that date. If you have been granted a “block off” for J-Block, you must be back at CC in time to begin Block 5 on February 1.
If I travel home during Winter Break, am I guaranteed re-entry to the USA?
No. Travel and entry restrictions vary greatly, depending on your home country or the country you will travel from. You should research the entry allowances and restrictions for these locations prior to departing the USA, so that you are aware if re-entry to the USA will be possible. We suggest checking the CDC’s U.S. Entry page.
What format will Spring courses have?
There will be the same 4 formats available as in the Fall Semester: In-Person, Hybrid, Flex, and Remote. You should be planning on taking as many from the first three categories as possible. Due to immigration policies in place for the Fall Semester, CC required a minimum of 1 course with an in-person element (In person, Hybrid or Flex formats). We cannot currently guarantee that the requirement will be the same in Spring. As soon as the government releases spring guidelines we will update you on requirements, however, we do not expect that the requirements will be more flexible than for the Fall, so for now we recommend that you enroll in a class with in-person instruction for each block of the semester.
Can I enroll in online courses exclusively while in Colorado?
No. While we do not have Spring guidance from SEVP (Immigration), we know that the best advice is to ask students to select as many courses in the “in person”, “hybrid” and “flex” formats as possible this spring. When we receive new SEVP guidelines, we will notify you if there is added flexibility which might allow you to take more online/remote courses, but until we get new advising, you should maximize the number of courses in Spring which are in-person, hybrid, or flex.
How do I know if a course will have an in-person element?
All courses with “In Person” or “Hybrid” designations on Banner have a required in-person component, though they may have some virtual elements too. Courses marked “Flex” may be predominantly online but an in-person feature is also available and students in these courses should communicate with the faculty their need for an in-person component. Only courses listed as “Remote” on Banner have no in-person element and students should not ask faculty to create one. They should instead seek out courses in the other three formats.
Students considering coming to Colorado to study this Spring Semester
When should I arrive to begin the Spring semester?
If you are a new student, you should arrive on January 19 so that you can participate in International Student Orientation from January 20-22. If you are a continuing student, you should arrive in time to begin your Block 5 course on February 1.
Where can I find out about any possible entry restrictions to the United States?
While the United States Embassy or Consular Office in your home country, as well as your home country’s Embassy or Consular Offices in the United States are perhaps the best sources of accurate information, there are also several websites which are tracking global entry and travel restrictions due to COVID-19. Some of these include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the NAFSA International Student Information Page.
The U.S. has issued travel restrictions for my country. Can I return to the U.S. by traveling through another country?
Yes that may be possible. However, if you are in a country where the U.S. has restricted travel, you will need to spend 14 days in a 3rd country (a country that does not have travel restrictions) before entering the U.S. Please check with that country to make sure you meet their travel and visa requirements before making travel arrangements.
Am I guaranteed entry to the United States if I am a registered student at CC?
No. Travel and entry restrictions vary greatly, depending on your home country or the country you will travel from. You should research the entry allowances and restrictions for these locations prior to departing the USA, so that you are aware if entry to the USA will be possible. You may wish to print out a copy of your spring schedule from Banner SSB or you can get a “Verification of Enrollment” from the Registrar’s Office to prove your enrollment in Spring classes, but we cannot guarantee that this will be approved by Customs & Border Protection (CBP)l when you arrive.
Can I take an in-person/on-campus course in J-Block?
No. For immigration reasons, students who have been out of the country for the Fall semester cannot come to campus for J-Block. All students who have been overseas for the Fall semester must begin their spring studies with Block 5. You may take a J-Block course online from home, but an on-campus option for J-Block is not possible.
Who should I notify that I am planning to arrive on campus for Block 5?
Please notify either Marlene or Donna from our ISSS Team so that they can track who is on campus, coming to campus, living off campus, and staying overseas for the Spring. They can also provide you with arrival information and other points of contact. If you are planning to live on campus for the Spring we also recommend that you reach out to the Housing Office (Residential Experience) to confirm that a housing placement is waiting for you.
What arrival requirements should I expect when I get to Colorado College?
You should expect to check in with either Housing or Student Life upon arrival on campus to obtain entry to your housing. You should also anticipate taking part in COVID-19 testing on your arrival date. There will also be pre-arrival online requirements to complete, including a spring student survey and an online course on campus safety and health guidelines. Students who will be living off-campus must also complete the online and arrival requirements (including COVID testing) in order to be granted access to campus.
There is no mandatory quarantine upon arrival, however, students will be expected to follow a set of enhanced social distancing requirements until their COVID test results are available. Students who test negative will be cleared for campus access. Students who test positive upon arrival at CC will be placed into a 14 day isolation either on campus or in their off-campus housing. More information on testing and quarantine procedures is available on the CC Covid Information Page.
What types of courses are offered, and what should I enroll for?
There will be the same 4 formats available as in the Fall Semester: In-Person, Hybrid, Flex, and Remote. You should be planning on taking as many from the first three categories as possible. Due to immigration policies in place for the Fall Semester, CC required a minimum of 1 course with an in-person element (In person, Hybrid or Flex formats). We cannot currently guarantee that the requirement will be the same in Spring. As soon as the government releases spring guidelines we will update you on requirements. New students should also be pre-registered in CC100 for Block 5 and CC120 for Block 6.
I am on a leave of absence for fall semester. How do I get a new I-20 in order to return to CC for Spring semester?
If you are on a leave of absence and would like to return to CC for Spring semester, please email ISSS to request a new I-20. ISSS will then advise you if your SEVIS record can be re-activated or if you need to submit financial documentation to obtain a new SEVIS record and a new I-20. We recommend that you contact ISSS at least two months before you would like to return (you may contact ISSS earlier if you are certain you will be returning for the Spring semester).
Can you send me an electronic copy of my I-20?
International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) currently has permission from SEVP to email electronic I-20s when needed. However, we are waiting for SEVP’s guidance for spring semester to determine if this allowance will remain in effect.
I can't get a visa appointment. What can I do and how can CC help me?
Unfortunately ISSS and Colorado College are not able to impact the visa appointments. We suggest continuing to try to make an appointment as it is possible that things may change between now and Spring semester. We also recommend that you consider the various options for study from outside of the United States in the event that it is not possible to either obtain a visa or enter the United States in time to begin the Spring Semester (Block 5) in February.
Do I need to update ISSS if my plans change regarding studying inside the U.S. or outside the U.S.?
Yes. For immigration reporting, your SEVIS record needs to accurately reflect your address and location. Please contact ISSS if your plans change and you leave the U.S. or return to the U.S..
I have questions about living on campus. Who should I contact?
Please contact the Office of Housing with questions about on-campus housing.
I have questions about COVID testing. Who should I contact?
We first recommend that you review the information on Colorado College’s COVID-19 Updates page. If you have questions which are unanswered by the website, you can contact our COVID team at firstname.lastname@example.org?
What are the plans for the Global Scholars Program?
Alternative plans for the Global Scholars Program will be announced in the near future. This year’s Global Scholars Program will not be occurring apart from the regular academic calendar, so there is no expectation that students in the Global Scholars Programs have a different arrival date or academic schedule than other students.
Students planning on remaining abroad for the Spring Semester.
What are my options if I do not plan to come to Colorado for Spring Semester?
You have three basic options: CC online courses, CET study programs, or a gap/leave semester.
The first is to enroll in CC courses which are listed as either “Flex” or “Remote” on banner. These are the only courses which do not require a physical presence on campus. The CET programs are modified “study abroad” semester programs offered in partnership between CC and CET. There will be 5 options this spring (details are below). Finally, a gap semester or leave of absence means that you will not be enrolled at CC for the Spring semester and will complete no coursework this spring.
When do I need to decide between the three options.
While there is some flexibility with all three options, we recommend making a decision in time for class registration for Spring. If you plan to take CC courses, it is essential that you register for classes. If you plan to take a leave, it is wise to petition in time to register for courses if your leave is denied. The final deadline for the CET programs is December 1, but all of these programs are first-come, first-served, so an early application is recommended.
If I want to take a gap semester or leave of absence for Spring (no classes), who should I contact?
If you are a new student who has not enrolled in classes for CC and you are interested in a gap semester, please contact the Office of Admission. If you are a continuing student interested in a leave of absence, please contact the Advising Hub. You will also need to contact the team in ISSS.
How might a gap semester affect my F-1 student status for the future?
A gap semester is for students who have not yet started coursework with CC. You will not be in F-1 status until you come to the U.S. and enroll in classes at CC. Therefore a gap semester will not impact your F-1 status.
If I want to enroll in online courses from home for the Spring semester, who should I contact?
You should be in contact with your academic advisor to ensure that you register for the correct format courses (Flex or Remote) this Spring. You could also work with the Advising Hub to verify that your spring course schedule is appropriate for study from overseas.
How do I know if I need a new travel signature on my I-20, and how do I get a new travel signature if mine has expired?
Please check page 2 of your I-20 to see when the I-20 was last signed by an advisor in ISSS. The travel signature is valid for one year. If the signature will expire before the date you will be entering the U.S., you need to contact ISSS for a new travel signature before you travel. During this time of COVID-19, ISSS has permission to issue and sign a new I-20, and send the scanned copy to you via email. Please contact ISSS for a travel signature at least two weeks before you travel to the U.S.
I am studying online from my home country in Spring 2021. How do I ensure that I am not being charged for CC's Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)?
Please be sure the Student Insurance Coordinator is aware that you will be outside the U.S. during the Spring semester so you will not be charged for the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).
How many courses am I required to take if I enroll in online classes from home?
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has not yet released immigration guidance for the Spring semester so ISSS is not certain if online classes can count towards your F-1 status. In case the Fall immigration guidance is continued into Spring, you should register for a minimum of 3 online courses for the Spring semester in order to maintain your F-1 status. ISSS will send an update after SEVP announced its Spring guidance. You should also consult with your academic advisor as to whether 3 or 4 courses is best for your progress towards a degree.
I am interested in the CET programs. Could you describe them further?
Each CET program allows you to study a variety of courses in English which are then transferable to CC as CC credit. You would retain your enrollment at CC, pay CC tuition, and receive any applicable CC financial aid. CC will cover the CET charges for the program. There are five locations available for Spring study at CET. The programs in Florence, Italy and Sao Paolo, Brazil are open to students from any nation who can legally travel to and enter either country, while the Beijing, Shanghai, and Ho Chi Minh City programs are only open to local nationals (China or Vietnam citizens). Students in China will live at local universities, while students in Vietnam, Italy and Brazil will be living in apartments exclusive to CET students. You can get information on course offerings and program structures by contacting Heather Powell Browne.
If I am interested in one of the CET programs for Spring Semester, who should I talk to?
You should reach out to Heather Powell Browne for more information and application instructions for any of the CET programs.
If I am studying CET courses outside the USA, does that impact my F-1 student status?
You will not be in F-1 status until you come to the U.S. and enroll in classes at CC. Therefore taking CET classes will not impact your F-1 status. However, taking CET courses will enable you to make progress towards your degree.
Can I mix CET courses with online CC courses during the Spring Semester?
Yes, it is possible to enroll in both CET and CC courses adding up to a total of 5 CC units, however, with CET courses being a semester format and CC courses on a block format, it will be a challenge to complete both at the same time and we do not recommend it. You should speak with both Heather Powell Browne and your academic advisor before attempting to register for both CC and CET courses in the same semester.
If I am already enrolled in a CET semester for Fall, can I do another in Spring?
Yes, it is possible to enroll in a second semester at CET, either at the same location or a different location. However, a full year of transfer credit can bring you close to the limit allowed by CC for transfer courses. If you have other coursework transferred or credited by CC, you may not be able to transfer all credits back to CC. For this reason, we ask that you again speak with Heather Powell Browne, who can link you with offices that will help you determine if a second CET program will conflict with any transfer credit limits.
I have reported that I am staying in my home country, but my student account still shows a balance. What are my next steps?
Is it possible for me to have a job as an international student and work outside the U.S.?
There are considerable obstacles to working for Colorado College while remaining overseas. As you can imagine, tax issues, both in the United States and for your home country, are a factor, as are labor requirements. If you are seeking to work for Colorado College this spring but are uncertain if you will be able to study and live in Colorado for the semester, we recommend you inquire with the Office of Student Employment and the Tax & Compliance Manager.
FAQs About Proposed Changes to F-1 Duration of Stay
Frequently Asked Questions for Proposed Rule of the Elimination of Duration of Status (D/S)
Updated October 27, 2020
Recently the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a proposed rule to eliminate the duration of status of F-1 visa holders and other visa holders. This rule is currently proposed and not yet approved so no changes are in effect yet. However, we would like to make you aware of the possible changes in case the rule is approved and moves forward.
What does the elimination of Duration of Status (D/S) mean?
Instead of being admitted for "duration of status" (D/S) as they currently are individuals applying for admission in either F or J status would be admitted only until the program end date noted in their Form I-20 or DS-2019, not to exceed 4 years, unless they are subject to a more limited 2-year admission, plus a period of 30 days following their program end date. Individuals who need time beyond their period of admission would have to timely file a complete Extension of Stay (EOS) application with USCIS before their prior admission expires.
This means that International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) at Colorado College would no longer be able to provide program extensions because the extension of stay would need to be approved by USCIS. F and J nonimmigrants seeking a program extension would continue to first request such an extension through the P/DSO or A/RO (located in ISSS), as provided for under current regulations. If such a program extension is recommended by the P/DSO or A/RO, the F-1 or J-1 must timely apply for an extension of stay (EOS) on Form I-539 with USCIS to remain in the U.S. beyond the status expiration date on their I-94.
Please see the Study in the States page “What is my Duration of Status?” to have more of an understanding of what Duration of Status means to F-1 students.
Who would be subject to a limited 2-year admission instead of a 4-year admission?
Groups subject to a limited 2-year admission instead of a 4-year admission:
- State Sponsor of Terrorism List: Individuals who were born in or are citizens of countries on the State Sponsor of Terrorism List. Currently: North Korea, Iran, Sudan, and Syria.
- Countries with greater than 10 percent overstay rate: Citizens of countries with a student and exchange visitor total overstay rate of greater than 10 percent according to the most recent DHS Entry/Exit Overstay report (See Table 4, Column 6). For now, this appear to be: Afghanistan, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen and Zambia. DHS proposes to issue Federal Register Notices (FRNs) listing countries with overstay rates triggering the 2-year admission period. The first such FRN would also list countries that have been designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism.
- U.S. national interest: "For example, the Secretary of Homeland Security could determine that it is appropriate to limit the length of admission of students who are enrolled in specific courses of study, such as nuclear science... If the DHS Secretary determines that U.S. national interests warrant limiting admission to a 2-year maximum period in certain circumstances, then it would publish an FRN to give the public advance notice of such circumstance."
- School or exchange program not participating in E-Verify: Only 2-year admission for students at schools and exchange visitor programs who do not fully participate in E-Verify. (Note that Colorado College does participate in E-Verify).
How would the "grace period" for F-1 students change?
This proposed rule would reduce the F-1 "grace period" from 60 days to 30 days.
Can you explain how this could impact me if I’m currently in the U.S.?
If you are inside the U.S. in duration of status (D/S) on the final rule effective date, F or J nonimmigrants previously admitted for D/S would be transitioned to a fixed date of admission, which would be:
- the program end date of the Form I-20 (or OPT EAD) or DS-2019 that is valid on the final rule's effective date,
- plus an additional period of 60 days for F nonimmigrants and 30 days for J nonimmigrants, but
- not to exceed a period of 4 years from the final rule's effective date (even if in a “2-year” category)
What does this mean for me if I travel outside the U.S. over winter break?
This rule is a proposed rule and is not guaranteed to go into effect. However, if the rule does go into effect, the timeline for it to be effective is not known. Therefore you need to be aware of the risk if you travel outside the U.S. during winter break. If you travel before the final rule effective date and re-enter the U.S. after the final rule effective date:
- An F or J nonimmigrant who departs the United States and seeks admission after the final rule's effective date becomes subject to the fixed date framework that would be imposed by this rule (e.g., admission for 2 year maximum if in a “2-year category”)
Would this affect me if I’m currently outside the U.S. and returning to CC?
If you are outside the U.S. and this proposed rule goes into effect:
- An F or J nonimmigrant who is outside the United States and seeks admission after the final rule's effective date becomes subject to the fixed date framework that would be imposed by this rule (e.g., admission for 2 year maximum if in a “2-year category”)
How would Optional Practical Training (OPT) and STEM Optional Practical Training (STEM OPT) be impacted?
- F-1 applicants for OPT or STEM OPT whose I-765 is pending with USCIS on the final rule effective date could remain in the U.S. while the application is pending. They would not have to file an I-539 or re-file an I-765.
- If USCIS approves the OPT, the F-1 could remain in F status until the expiration date of the OPT EAD, plus 60 days.
- If USCIS denies the OPT: If the student’s program end date has not yet passed, could remain in the United States until the program end date listed on their Form I-20, plus 60 days. If the program end date and 60-day grace period has passed by the time USCIS denies the I-765, student must immediately depart the United States with no grace period.
How would the filing dates of Optional Practical Training (OPT) be impacted?
The Post-Completion OPT filing window would change if this rule is approved. "DHS proposes to increase the number of days applicants have to file prior to the program end date from 90 days to 120 days and shorten the number of days students have to file an application for post-completion OPT after the program end date from 60 days to 30 days."
Would the cost of applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) and STEM Optional Practical Training (STEM OPT) change?
Students applying for F-1 post-completion OPT and STEM OPT would also have to file an application to extend their stay. Under the proposal an F-1 student whose I-94 will expire before the end date of the post-completion OPT he or she is requesting on Form I-765 must also file an I-539 Extension of Status (EOS) application to cover the period of requested post-completion OPT. The current fee for the EOS application is $370. The current fee for the OPT application is $410. There could also be a biometrics fee of $85.
- A student applying for standard post-completion OPT "may not continue or begin engaging in practical training ... until the extension request is approved and, as applicable, an employment authorization document is issued.”
- A student who has timely applied to USCIS for a STEM OPT extension, however, would still be able work for up to 180 days beyond the expiration date of the standard post-completion OPT while the STEM OPT I-765 and I-539 are pending.
How would the H-1B cap-gap would be affected?
The H-1B cap-gap would be retained, and the October 1st end date would be extended to April 1st.
What impact could this have on my ability to pursue future degrees?
If this rule is goes into effect, there will be a limit on pursuing new F-1 programs at the same educational level. The preamble states that: "DHS ... proposes to limit the number of times a student can change to another program within an educational level, such as to pursue another bachelor's or master's degree. Specifically, any student who has completed a program at one educational level would be allowed to change to another program at the same educational level no more than two additional times while in F-1 status, for a total of three programs for the lifetime of the student." The proposed regulatory wording at 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(ii)(B) makes clear that: "This two-time limit on beginning additional programs after completion of a program in the United States at the same educational level is a lifetime limit and does not reset with a new admission as an F-1."1
NOTE: The source of the information in these FAQs is NAFSA’s Proposal to Replace Duration of Status page.
Fall 2020: COVID-19 & Immigration FAQs for International Students
Updated September 2, 2020
Please note that these FAQs are for the Fall 2020 semester only. International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) will update these FAQs after Colorado College and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) make their announcements about the Spring 2021 semester.
What are Colorado College’s current Fall Semester guidelines after the recent update?
On Tuesday, Sept. 2, Colorado College released new guidelines for its Fall Semester. They have asked that most students who are already on campus return home by September 20 and that those who have not yet arrived on campus for Block 2 remain at home and do not travel to campus. There will be exceptions made for students who are enrolled in a small list of in-person courses, for international students already on campus or in transit, and for students with significant financial hardship regarding housing. Nearly all courses for Blocks 2, 3 and 4 will be conducted via remote learning, with only a few science courses with labs and senior studio seminars offered in-person.
Will there be a return to campus and in-person courses for the new J-Block?
This has yet to be determined and will depend upon trends in the COVID-19 pandemic between now and January. Expect an announcement about J-Block and the Spring Semester in October.
Are there financial resources to assist with the expenses I have incurred due to the change of college plans for the Fall?
Yes. The Emergency Resource Fund is a resource you can contact regarding assistance for expenses incurred due to the change in college policies for the fall. Potential funding is available for expenses such as airline ticket change or cancellation fees, airport transfers, overnight hotel during transit, food during transit, or extension of summer storage through fall, and support for internet coverage to complete online courses. The fund cannot cover any quarantine costs incurred due to government policies of your home country, lost wages from on-campus employment, or family expenses due to lost employment. The fund is also unable to finance the purchase of any durable goods, such as laptops or cellphones. It is designed to support students with financial need due specifically to the change in college policy and the shifting from on-campus attendance to home remote attendance.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS ALREADY AT CC
Do the new college policies require that I return home?
No. As an international student already located either on campus or in Colorado Springs, you are not required to return home. Those on campus are eligible to remain on campus and complete your courses at CC. Those living off-campus but in Colorado Springs may also stay in their current housing and continue your Fall Semester, following immigration guidelines for mixed in-person and remote coursework.
If I want to, can I live somewhere else in the United States and take online CC courses?
No. Because CC will continue to offer some courses with in-person elements (including flex courses), all international students with F-1 visas are required to be in Colorado Springs, either in on-campus housing or off-campus housing. It is expected that, as a hybrid model school, CC will offer some in-person options, and international students must complete at least one in-person course during the Fall Semester (this includes flex courses), and must have residency on or near campus for the entire Fall Semester.
If I choose to return home, what should I do?
If I choose to remain on campus, what should I do?
You should notify Housing of your decision to remain on campus. You should also consult with your major advisor or the Student Opportunities and Advising Hub to review your fall schedule of classes. It will be imperative that at least one of your classes is a course listed as “flex” to provide at least one course with an in-person element. This may include your J-Block course, or any courses in blocks 1-4.
If I live off-campus and plan to remain in Colorado Springs, what should I do?
You should consult with your major advisor or the Student Opportunities and Advising Hub to review your fall schedule of classes. It will be imperative that at least one of your classes is a course listed as “flex” to provide at least one course with an in-person element. This may include your J-Block course, or any courses in blocks 1-4.
If I live off campus, can I come to campus?
In order to come to campus and attend your on-campus (in-person format) course, you will need permission from the vice provost. Please email the vice provost at: email@example.com to request permission. You will need to explain that you are required by immigration guidelines to participate in a class with a flex, hybrid, or In-person component, and that you have enrolled in a class which requires your presence on campus.
If I am at CC this fall, I am required to take a flex (or in-person) course, but what is a flex course?
There will be very few “in-person” or “hybrid” courses available this fall, but there will be “flex” courses. These are courses which will be taught remotely, but which will offer weekly opportunities for in-person academic sessions. If your course is designated as “flex” it is your responsibility to inform the professor that you require a flex in-person component in order to maintain your immigration status. You should not make this request if your course is listed as “remote,” so it is important to ensure that at least one course this semester is a “flex” course if not “hybrid” or “in-person”.
What services will be provided to me if I stay on campus?
There will be regular food service on campus for those students who are staying. Campus offices will remain available to you. Student Life and other offices on campus will also be scheduling virtual activities, events and other opportunities.
How is my immigration status affected if I return home and take online courses?
You can maintain your F-1 status if you enroll in online classes full-time from outside the United States. Full time status for students who are outside the United States is a minimum of 3 units of coursework per semester.
What is required of me to maintain my immigration status if I remain in Colorado (on or off campus)?
If you stay at CC, you must enroll in a course each of the five blocks of Fall Semester (1-4 + J). One of your fall blocks must be either in-person, hybrid, or flex format. Students have the option to request one block off, but should notify ISSS of their intent to take a block off before making the request to the Student Opportunities and Advising Hub.
Why is the requirement for full-time status different if I am at CC or out of the country?
Students studying in the United States have different legal requirements to maintain their F-1 status than those who are taking online courses from overseas, due to the “physical presence” requirement.
Am I allowed to move off campus in Colorado Springs?
Yes. The college is waiving (for this year) its residency requirement. Students who wish to move from on-campus housing to alternative off-campus housing within Colorado Springs may appeal to do so. Those appeals can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your alternative housing must be within Colorado Springs, as immigration guidelines do not allow you to study exclusively online or from a location other than the campus and its environs.
If my courses are switched from “In Person” or “Hybrid” to “Flex” or “Remote” what do I need to do?
While some courses will be offered in hybrid or in-person formats, this list will be very short. Many courses will be moving to either a flex or remote format. Due to immigration requirements, it is very important that you confirm that at least one of your courses between Block 1 and J-Block will be a designated “flex” course, with in-person elements available to international students. We recommend that you review your course schedule for the Fall, and that you speak with either your major advisor, Student Opportunities and Advising Hub, or an ISSS team member to confirm your fall schedule and immigration compliance.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS CURRENTLY OUTSIDE THE United States
If I was planning to come to campus for Block 2, what should I do now?
Most students who are currently abroad should plan to remain abroad for the Fall Semester. You should contact the airline you were using to cancel your flights to Colorado and to seek credit with the airline so that you are able to use the ticket at a later date. Only students in the following two situations should plan to fly to Colorado for Block 2:
- Students who are en route to Colorado and/or cannot cancel their travel arrangements.
- Students who are approved to study on campus because they are enrolled in one of the lab science or senior studio courses which will be taught in person during blocks 2, 3, or 4.
If I qualify to travel to campus for Block 2, will I be quarantined?
No. You will be required to participate in COVID-19 testing upon arrival on campus, and you are expected to follow the Enhanced Social Distancing Guidelines until your test result indicates that you are negative for the virus. Only students who test positive will be isolated and those who have had close contact with a student who has tested positive will be quarantined.
Can I continue to take online/remote courses from Colorado College from home?
Yes. Nearly all courses will be shifted to remote or flex designation, meaning they can be taken from any location on the globe. You have the option of maintaining the same courses which you are now registered to take. You may also opt to reduce your course load to three courses and still maintain your immigration status. If you are enrolled for a course which will remain “in person” (lab sciences and senior studios) you are within the group permitted to travel to campus, and should consider either doing so, or altering your schedule to a fully online/remote schedule for the fall.
Will taking online/remote courses from Colorado College from home affect my immigration status?
No. For students located outside of the United States, as long as you are enrolled in a minimum of three courses between blocks 1-4 and J-Block, your F-1 status is secure.
How many courses must I take this Fall in order to maintain my immigration status?
The minimum for students who are overseas is three courses between blocks 1, 2, 3, 4, and J-Block.
If I am able to rebook my flights to Colorado, when should I rebook for?
At this timetime, the college cannot advise any dates for travel to Colorado. We recommend that you delay rebooking flights until after the October announcements about spring classes are made. It is possible that we will be reopening the campus for J-Block, or for Block 5, or that we will further delay re-opening. This will be decided and announced in October. We recommend that at this time you seek credit for your current flights, and that you rebook flights only after the October announcements define when students will be able to return to campus. Students who are abroad during the Fall semester will not be able to return for J-Block (part of Fall). We expect that the earliest you can return is Block 5, but we are asking you to delay any rebooking until after the October announcements confirm this.
If I do not want to take online courses this fall, can I still request a leave/gap semester?
If you are interested in taking a leave of absence for the Fall Semester, you should contact the Student Opportunities and Advising Hub. If you want to drop your Block 1 class, you need to complete the leave form before September 8.
How do the new changes in CC guidelines impact me if I am currently not maintaining F-1 student status?
None of the new policies regarding campus residency or online learning impact you. However, you should plan to follow the Spring Semester guidance which will be announced in October. Please contact ISSS in November to regain your F-1 status and confirm plans to return to campus for the spring.