HCC's statement on new SEVP rule for international students

Jul 8, 2020

Dear HCC Family,

On July 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced modifications to temporary exemptions for non-immigrant students in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) for the Fall 2020 semester. Previously, ICE instituted a temporary exemption for SEVP regarding online courses for the Spring and Summer semesters. This temporary exemption allowed international students to complete their classes online while still maintaining their non-immigrant visa status during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Houston Community College (HCC) is particularly proud to be the leading community college in the nation for international student enrollment. We are disappointed in the decision to modify exemptions that provide much-needed flexibility for our international students during a period when the COVID-19 pandemic imposes so much uncertainty. Nonetheless, we are committed to supporting these students by providing the instructional modalities needed to comply with SEVP requirements.

As we closely examine the new SEVP rule change, we believe our plans for the Fall 2020 semester – which include hybrid/face-to-face options through FlexCampus and Lab-based courses – will allow us to meet the requirements of the new rule and ensure our international students can continue their coursework at HCC without disruption. Representatives from our International Services & Programs (ISP) office, along with our academic advisors, will work closely with our international students to do everything we can to ensure their course load aligns with the new rule so their F-1 status can be maintained.

As we navigate this challenge together, I encourage any students anxious about the recently announced rule change to discuss their concerns with the ISP office to receive the most up-to-date guidance. Also, all international students should expect to hear from the ISP office in the coming days to begin discussions about this important matter.



Cesar Maldonado, Ph.D., P.E.

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