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.