2023 Extended Grace Period: Considerations for International Students
International doctoral students face immigration-related deadlines in making decisions about using the winter 2023 extended grace period. Programs should be aware that those who intend to use the extended grace period must consult with the International Center and their program about their plans to make sure they remain in immigration compliance. A student nearing degree completion who is interested in applying for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) should do so at the earliest possible time. Information about applying for OPT is available from the International Center.
As on-campus work authorization for international students completing their degrees is based not on degree conferral but on enrollment and the end dates on their I-20/DS-2019 forms, please note the following:
- Students with April 30, 2023, I-20 end dates who intend to use the extended Rackham grace period to defend, complete, and file their dissertation may apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) and remain in the United States while the OPT application is pending.
- Students who have applied for post-completion OPT do not have work authorization after April 30 and may not work as GSRAs during the extended grace period unless and until OPT is approved.
- Students who have applied for post-completion OPT may receive fellowship support during the extended grace period.
- Students approved for OPT may be supported with a GSRA appointment during the extended grace period; pre-completion use of OPT during the grace period will be counted as part of the period of OPT for which the student is eligible.
- Students wanting to use the extended grace period who are unable or ineligible to apply for OPT should consult with their program and the International Center about enrolling for the spring half-term to receive a later I-20/DS-2019 end date. The extension to the I-20 end date must be completed before the current I-20 end date. This will allow use of the full extended grace period before the student must leave the United States. As tuition will be charged, graduate coordinators should contact Adam Lucier at the Rackham Finance and Fellowships office (RackhamFF@umich.edu) for information about support from Rackham.
- Students who need more time to complete than allowed under the winter 2023 extended grace period may enroll for the full spring/summer term or the summer half-term. The grace period for the spring-summer term ends September 19. Candidacy tuition will be charged. The student must consult with their program at the earliest possible moment to arrange this.
- Students with I-20 end dates further into the future (e.g., 08/31/23 or later) who wish to defend early and use the 2023 extended Rackham winter grace period should understand that their current I-20 end date will be shortened to April 30, 2023. They will need to evaluate their situation in light of the considerations above and work accordingly with the International Center and their program.
FAQ for International Doctoral Students and the 2023 Extended Grace Period
- A student with an April 30, 2023, I-20 end date who intends to use the extended winter grace period has applied for post-completion OPT but has not yet been approved. Can the student be appointed as a GSRA or supported with a fellowship after May 1, 2023?
- A student with an expired I-20 end date who has not received OPT does not have work eligibility and may not be employed as a GSRA until the OPT application has been approved and the start date of OPT has been reached. However, the student may receive fellowship support while they complete and file their dissertation during the extended grace period.
- A student has been approved for OPT. May the student be supported by a GSRA appointment during the extended winter grace period?
- Yes, provided the student is within the start and end dates of the OPT authorization. Employment during OPT is based on the OPT approval and reaching the start date of the OPT authorization. The student may start employment as a GSRA while on OPT before completion and final filing of the dissertation. The time that a student who begins OPT uses to complete and file the dissertation will be counted as part of the period of OPT eligibility. Graduate coordinators should contact Adam Lucier at the Rackham Finance and Fellowships office (RackhamFF@umich.edu) for information about support from Rackham.
- A student has been approved for OPT but does not want to use a portion of it for finishing and filing during the extended winter grace period. How can this student be supported?
- If the OPT start date has passed, the student likely would have to either use the OPT and work as a GSRA or would need to be supported with a fellowship. Students should be in contact with the International Center, and graduate coordinators should contact Adam Lucier at the Rackham Finance and Fellowships office (RackhamFF@umich.edu) for information about support from Rackham.