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Guidelines for Planning 2020 Fall Term Enrollment of International Students Newly Admitted to Rackham Graduate Programs

The COVID pandemic has led to the closure of U.S. consulates and disrupted international travel, raising concern that newly admitted international graduate students may not be able to arrive on campus for the fall term. As of this date, no announcement has been made about when U.S. consulates around the world will reopen. Consulates are expected to have a backlog of visa appointments which may cause additional delays. We believe that a student is unlikely to get a visa in time for the fall term if consulates have not announced a reopen date by July 15, or have not reopened by July 31. For authoritative information and updates, see the International Center Updates Regarding COVID-19.

Rackham’s doctoral and master’s programs are asked to keep in mind the following principles as they make decisions about their fall term academic plans and communicate these to newly-admitted international students.

Maximize the Potential for All Admitted Students to Participate in the Fall 2020 Term

As far as possible, programs should assure equitable treatment of all students, both domestic and international. In the interest of equity, programs should not extend an offer of online enrollment to some but not to others. Such equity will be promoted if programs prepare instructional plans to accommodate simultaneous remote, hybrid, and in-person participation throughout the fall term. At their discretion, programs may choose to defer all incoming international students who have not received visas in time for the fall and allow them to start in the 2021 Winter or Fall terms. Alternatively, programs may offer students the option of starting the fall term remotely in their home countries. Students also may ask for a deferral because of limited online access or other reasons, and Rackham asks that programs accommodate these requests.

Maintain Funding Commitments

Students who enroll remotely from their home country for the fall term should receive the full level of any support outlined in their admission offer, including appointments as GSIs, GSSAs, GSRAs, or fellowships.

Full-Time Doctoral Student Enrollment

Remotely enrolled doctoral students accepting appointments or fellowships must be enrolled full-time in their studies and maintain good academic standing.

Supplemental Support for Student Success

Programs that decide to matriculate students remotely for the fall term should commit to providing additional supplemental orientation, mentoring, and advising resources that are responsive to the unique conditions that these students will face as they study and work from their home countries. This commitment will help students start their program successfully with a sense of belonging in their academic community, and allow them to move quickly onto an equal footing with others in their cohort when they arrive on campus. Programs that are unable to commit this focused support should defer admission.

Key Dates

Early to mid-July

Programs communicate with all admitted international students to explain fall term enrollment options and more general information about the University’s instructional plans for the 2020-21 academic year.

Monday, July 20

Deadline for programs to notify students whether the program will be offering an option for remote enrollment or will be deferring students unable to arrive on campus for the fall term.

Friday, July 31

Deadline for programs to notify Rackham Admissions if a decision has been made to defer international students who are unable to arrive on campus for the fall term.

Friday, August 14

Deadline for programs to determine which international students will enroll remotely for the fall term.

Friday, August 28

Deadline for programs to notify Rackham Admissions of individual international students who have asked to defer enrollment.

If You Have Questions

Students who have questions about plans for fall term enrollment should contact their graduate program for more information. Graduate programs seeking further detail about these guidelines should contact Assistant Dean John Godfrey.