On February 15, 2003, the U.S. government implemented a new system for gathering information on international students and exchange visitors. The “Student and Exchange Visitor Information System”, or SEVIS, became required of all institutions which welcome international students to their campuses.
The following information is relevant to international students enrolled at Mineral Area College.
What is SEVIS?
“SEVIS is an internet-based application for electronically tracking and reporting on foreign students and exchange visitors in the U. S. SEVIS enables schools and program sponsors to transmit electronic information to the Immigration and Naturalization Service”. This is the description of SEVIS from the U. S. Department of Justice. Previously, schools that hosed international students and scholars were required to maintain information on international students and visitors. Under SEVIS, schools re required to report electronically on those students and visitors.
Other Immigration Changes:
As of March 1, 2003, the Immigration and Naturalization Service ceased to exist. The functions formerly performed by the Service have been divided by several organizations, under the Department of Homeland Security:
BCIS: The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services is responsible for most of the petitions and applications that were processed by the INS. For the moment, all INS forms, fees, office addresses, and procedures will remain the same. Please note that any fees should now be made payable to BCIS.
BICE: The Bureau of Immigration and Customs enforcement is responsible for INS investigations, detention, removal, intelligence, and SEVIS, the new reporting system MAC is using.
BCBP: The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection is responsible for INS inspections of U.S. ports of entry, for the Border Patrol, and for the Customs Service.
Information for Advisors and Students:
All international students must maintain a full-time course load. If an International student withdraws from MAC, he/she has 15 days to depart the U.S. Also, any international student must have prior authorization from the Registrar’s Office before dropping below full time. International students may only drop below full time for academic reasons ONCE, and only for the following reasons:
- Difficulties with the English language
- Difficulties with American teaching methods
- Enrollment in an improper course level
A student may be less than full-time in the last semester of study if the student does not need a full-time course load to complete the program. The Registrar’s Office must be informed at the beginning of the semester. A student may be permitted to drop below full time for a medical reason, but we are required to have documentation from a doctor before a decision can be made.
Additionally, a student may not change his/her major without completing a “Change of Major” with the Registrar’s Office. A student’s visa documents indicate a specific major.
On Line/Distance Education
International students are permitted to count only one on-line course (three credits) per semester towards the required number of credits to be enrolled as a full time student. A student may be enrolled in more than one on-line course as long as only one course counts towards the full-time course load requirement.
Changes to Curriculum and New Programs
New majors or programs must be reported to SEVIS. We are required to report via SEVIS on any additions or changes to MAC’s curriculum or programs. Please keep the Registrar’s office informed of any new majors created, new programs added or programs deleted.
Employment of International Students
International students are permitted to work on campus, up to 20 hours per week when school is in session. Students cannot receive college work-study funds. SEVIS requires us to have a letter of employment from your academic department before we can authorize the student to obtain a Social Security number.
INFORMATION FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS ON F VISAS
Issuing forms I-20 and DS-2019
SEVIS changes the way the Registrar’s Office forms I-20 and DS-2019 (previously called IP-66) and reports on international students.
- New forms I-20 and DS-2019. Under SEVIS there will are new forms I-20 and DS-2019. They look much like the old forms, but have bar codes to facilitate processing at the port of entry. Also, the Registrar’s office will no longer issue forms I-20 and DS-2019. We must request these documents from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (formerly known as the INS), through SEVIS.
SEVIS also requires the College to report electronically on international students. Although the Registrar’s Office always has maintained information on international student, we have not been required to report that information, except as required by the INS. The new requirements are that we report the following:
- Failure to enroll
- Dropping below full time without prior authorization
- Failure to complete a program
- Change in name or address
- Graduation prior to completion date
- Start date of next session
- Program extensions
- Off campus employment authorization
- Changes to a students program
- Disciplinary action related to a criminal conviction
As a result of the reporting and related changes, there will be modifications to some of our office procedures.
- Full-Time Enrollment: International students are still required to be enrolled full time, which means 12 semester hours. As before SEVIS, international students are required to obtain authorization from the Registrar’s office prior to dropping below full time enrollment. Under SEVIS, this may be authorized ONCE during your studies and ONLY for the following reasons:
- Difficulties with the English Language
- Difficulties with American teaching method
- Enrollment in an improper level course
- Last semester before completing a degree program
International students may be permitted to drop below full time for medical reasons, but MACis required to have documentation from a doctor.
If you have any questions, please contact the Registrar’s Office at 573-518-2204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Withdrawal from the College: In the case of withdrawing completely from the College, you are required to depart the U.S. within 15 days.
- Change of Name or Address: We are required to have your current local address at all times. If you move, you must report this to us within 10 days.
- Change of Program: Please come to the Registrar’s office to request a change of major or program.
- Transfer: Please contact us to discuss your plans to transfer.
- On-line/Distance Education: International students are permitted to count only one on-line course (three credits) per semester towards the required number of credits to be enrolled as a full time student. A student may be enrolled in more than one on-line course as long as only one course counts toward the full-time load requirement.
- Reinstatement: The consequences for violating status have become much more severe. In the past, students were allowed to file for reinstatement, which was granted in most cases. Now, an F-1 student is permitted to file for reinstatement for violations of status that were due to “circumstances beyond the student’s control”. It is the student’s responsibility to be familiar with F-1 and J-1 visa regulations.
- Dependents: Under the new rules, F-2 dependents are not able to pursue full or part time studies. They are only permitted study which is a vocational or recreational. F-2 and J-2 dependents must also have a separate I-20 or DS-2019 form.