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Uncertainty thread - International students not in the US


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Hi all!

I'm a European student admitted to a political science degree on the East Coast. My university seems to be planning to hold in-person courses in the fall, but I don't yet know when the US borders will open. The uncertainty includes, but is not limited, to questions such as:

  • When if at all will the US let us fly in in the fall?
  • If I have to start remotely (from France), how difficult will it be considering the time difference, the fact that half of my cohort is studying together but I'm not, etc?
  • I won 't receive the PhD stipend until I set foot in the US. Which means that as long as I'm in France I'll have to live at my parents'. How difficult is it gonna be to study as intensely as is required for grad courses when my family and siblings are around?
  • My uni is subsidising housing for us, but it looks like if I choose student housing I'll have to pay for the whole term regardless of when I'm able to fly in, which may cost several k USD. Should I do it?

Are some of you facing the same situation? What are you planning to cope with the stress associated to it, or to mitigate the difficulties arising?

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Hi!

I'm also an international student from Argentina. My situation is a bit different from yours.

First, my university has decided to teach online/remote in the Fall, at least for the vast majority of courses. (It is almost confirmed that the political science department won't teach any F2F classes).

If I cannot get my Visa and arrive in the US by August, my university has offered me to study remotely during Fall 2020 (like the rest of my cohort that will be in the US). However, in that case my graduate assistant appointment will be rescinded due to inability to provide documentation of employability. BUT, they will waive the Fall semester tuition (except for a very low fee per credit). If I cannot be in the US by August, my university will process a Visa for the Spring 2021 semester.

As for your question on the subsidized student housing, I would recommend against paying for housing that you won't be using. If subsidized housing is not available when you arrive in the US, I'd suggest looking for off-campus housing. But I really don't know how cheaper is the university housing compared to the alternatives.

 

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5 hours ago, huevo1991 said:

Hi!

I'm also an international student from Argentina. My situation is a bit different from yours.

First, my university has decided to teach online/remote in the Fall, at least for the vast majority of courses. (It is almost confirmed that the political science department won't teach any F2F classes).

If I cannot get my Visa and arrive in the US by August, my university has offered me to study remotely during Fall 2020 (like the rest of my cohort that will be in the US). However, in that case my graduate assistant appointment will be rescinded due to inability to provide documentation of employability. BUT, they will waive the Fall semester tuition (except for a very low fee per credit). If I cannot be in the US by August, my university will process a Visa for the Spring 2021 semester.

As for your question on the subsidized student housing, I would recommend against paying for housing that you won't be using. If subsidized housing is not available when you arrive in the US, I'd suggest looking for off-campus housing. But I really don't know how cheaper is the university housing compared to the alternatives.

 

Hi I think we r In the same situation except for  our locations.  Tuition waived with no stipend.     One thing I really don’t know: will they resume visa service within 2020? I seriously doubt it 

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I don't think start on time this Fall as the embassy just cancelled July appointments until the end of the month.

I'll try asking my university if I can also have my tuition waived for Fall even if I study remotely. If not, I will defer to the Spring intake.

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My visa appointment on July 20 at Toronto US Consulate has got cancelled yesterday. I immediately booked another appointment on September 18 but unfortunately my class will start on August 17. I requested expedite processing but the emailed me back saying all the visa interview appointments are cancelled through the months of July. Seems to me, deferral to the spring semester is the only available option for me. Beside, my admission was not a central admission rather with a specific supervisor. I have to explain that to him also. Also, I am in doubt, US consulates in Canada may not issue non-immigrant visas at all through out 2020. If that happens joining my PhD program even at spring seems like a distant dream now. I am super stressed!

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15 minutes ago, niazche said:

Also, I am in doubt, US consulates in Canada may not issue non-immigrant visas at all through out 2020.

I am really sorry to hear that. I am in the same boat as well. May I know what makes you think that no new visa will be issued throughout 2020? Cuz i am thinking of deferment if I still cant get a visa before 2021 spring. thanks! 

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54 minutes ago, needanoffersobad said:

I am really sorry to hear that. I am in the same boat as well. May I know what makes you think that no new visa will be issued throughout 2020? Cuz i am thinking of deferment if I still cant get a visa before 2021 spring. thanks! 

There is no specific reason to be honest! Canada did great handling the covid issues, but our southern neighbor is still struggling and that struggle can linger longer then expectation. I really hope things will get better in coming days and we all get our visa before the spring semester. Are you also applying from Canada?

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37 minutes ago, niazche said:

There is no specific reason to be honest! Canada did great handling the covid issues, but our southern neighbor is still struggling and that struggle can linger longer then expectation. I really hope things will get better in coming days and we all get our visa before the spring semester. Are you also applying from Canada?

no. I am applying from Hong Kong, where no new cases for more than 2 weeks. I am not sure they will open country by country or all together

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15 minutes ago, needanoffersobad said:

no. I am applying from Hong Kong, where no new cases for more than 2 weeks. I am not sure they will open country by country or all together

I hope the embassy opens up soon!

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Posted (edited)

I have a visa appointment at the end of July, but I'm assuming it will be cancelled soon, considering what I hear from other countries.

13 hours ago, huevo1991 said:

my university has offered me to study remotely during Fall 2020

I have also been invited to start remotely. Do you know whether your university will make accommodations for students abroad in terms of coursework, grading, etc? A 'normal term' from abroad seems difficult, especially for students with a large time difference.

Edited by Clintarius
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Update: I have been in constant touch with Ottawa US embassy and I must say they have laudable communication skill. The summary of my correspondence is- Ottawa US embassy will only issue a visa if it is related to COVID-19, e.g. health care workers, COVID-19 researchers, and family of COVID-19 affected people. All other visa issuance are postponed until further notice. I am pretty sure, I will have to defer my admission to 2021 spring.

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18 hours ago, niazche said:

Update: I have been in constant touch with Ottawa US embassy and I must say they have laudable communication skill. The summary of my correspondence is- Ottawa US embassy will only issue a visa if it is related to COVID-19, e.g. health care workers, COVID-19 researchers, and family of COVID-19 affected people. All other visa issuance are postponed until further notice. I am pretty sure, I will have to defer my admission to 2021 spring.

Interesting that they said so. I haven't heard this from others working through other embassies or consulates elsewhere in the world.

 

After weeks and weeks of checking daily, I was actually able to book yesterday in Japan the first available day: Oct 7th. Obviously this doesn't help, but the 'emergency request' button has also appeared, so I/we are thinking about using that. The embassies/consulates here have a page that says that students within 30days of their start date are eligible for emergency requests.

Checking now it seems like their schedule is now fully booked here.

 

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6 hours ago, time_consume_me said:

Interesting that they said so. I haven't heard this from others working through other embassies or consulates elsewhere in the world.

 

After weeks and weeks of checking daily, I was actually able to book yesterday in Japan the first available day: Oct 7th. Obviously this doesn't help, but the 'emergency request' button has also appeared, so I/we are thinking about using that. The embassies/consulates here have a page that says that students within 30days of their start date are eligible for emergency requests.

Checking now it seems like their schedule is now fully booked here.

 

What is your US school planning in terms of coursework accommodations if you have to start remotely from Japan?

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On 6/30/2020 at 7:11 AM, Clintarius said:

I have a visa appointment at the end of July, but I'm assuming it will be cancelled soon, considering what I hear from other countries.

I have also been invited to start remotely. Do you know whether your university will make accommodations for students abroad in terms of coursework, grading, etc? A 'normal term' from abroad seems difficult, especially for students with a large time difference.

Hi!
They didn't specify that information in the offer, but I think it's a great question! I'll inquire about it and let you know what they say.
As for time zone issues, fortunately the time difference between Argentina with my university location is just one hour.

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9 hours ago, time_consume_me said:

The embassies/consulates here have a page that says that students within 30days of their start date are eligible for emergency requests.

 

US embassy in Canada also have similar provision regarding F-1 visa. When I e-mailed them to confirm, then they mentioned only COVID related cases will get priority. May be you can also send US embassy in Japan an e-mail!

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Hello, been following silently for a while and perhaps should weigh in. My school has given me the option of starting remotely or deferring to spring '21. The US embassy in the country I'm in is closed and I don't think I'll make it to the US by Aug. Also, the COVID-19 cases here are rising and things are getting worse, not to mention how bad it is in the US. I've chosen to start remotely because I don't want to travel and risk it and I think if anything goes wrong i.e Trump wins again and tightens the rules in regards to non-immigrant visas, I'll already be a registered student and perhaps that will help me get a visa faster I dunno lol. I just think it's better to start remotely if you have nothing but time on your hands like I do. A PhD is a long journey and we'll make it to in-person classes eventually. We'll see how online classes go; I'm excited to start but also nervous.

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2 minutes ago, WanYesOnly said:

Hello, been following silently for a while and perhaps should weigh in. My school has given me the option of starting remotely or deferring to spring '21. The US embassy in the country I'm in is closed and I don't think I'll make it to the US by Aug. Also, the COVID-19 cases here are rising and things are getting worse, not to mention how bad it is in the US. I've chosen to start remotely because I don't want to travel and risk it and I think if anything goes wrong i.e Trump wins again and tightens the rules in regards to non-immigrant visas, I'll already be a registered student and perhaps that will help me get a visa faster I dunno lol. I just think it's better to start remotely if you have nothing but time on your hands like I do. A PhD is a long journey and we'll make it to in-person classes eventually. We'll see how online classes go; I'm excited to start but also nervous.

I wish I had this option too - my school announced today that if we cannot make it to campus by September 30th, we'll need to defer. I'd also opt for a remote start if I could, but I guess it's time to wait and see for me!

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16 minutes ago, biochem899 said:

I wish I had this option too - my school announced today that if we cannot make it to campus by September 30th, we'll need to defer. I'd also opt for a remote start if I could, but I guess it's time to wait and see for me!

This seems harsh. Like a punishment. I'm so sorry, this is putting a lot of pressure on international students (and domestic as well) to risk their lives just to make it to campus. 

 

For those with the remote learning option, does anyone know if there are any fees associated with online learning. I know tuition is waived and stipends can't be paid due to the law. Is there any other fee? Kindly let me know if you have an idea, thanks.

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8 hours ago, Clintarius said:

What is your US school planning in terms of coursework accommodations if you have to start remotely from Japan?

The time difference makes that impossible. As long as I could get paid, I was thinking about living in Canada (where I can enter as a citizen, quarantine, then rent an apartment) -- HOWEVER, it remains unclear whether it is even possible to receive the funding from a distance, let alone another country. If I don't have funding I can't attend, no matter where in the world I might be.

5 hours ago, niazche said:

US embassy in Canada also have similar provision regarding F-1 visa. When I e-mailed them to confirm, then they mentioned only COVID related cases will get priority. May be you can also send US embassy in Japan an e-mail!

Wow ok this is important. I will be sure to reach out to the local consulate soon to confirm the instructions on their site. Thanks

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4 hours ago, WanYesOnly said:

For those with the remote learning option, does anyone know if there are any fees associated with online learning. I know tuition is waived and stipends can't be paid due to the law. Is there any other fee? Kindly let me know if you have an idea, thanks

In my case, I'd have to pay around $25 per credit (it would be around $300 for the semester).

 

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5 hours ago, WanYesOnly said:

This seems harsh. Like a punishment. I'm so sorry, this is putting a lot of pressure on international students (and domestic as well) to risk their lives just to make it to campus. 

 

For those with the remote learning option, does anyone know if there are any fees associated with online learning. I know tuition is waived and stipends can't be paid due to the law. Is there any other fee? Kindly let me know if you have an idea, thanks.

As far as I've heard (from my program), the September deadline isn't school-mandated, it's actually the law (I guess according to USCIS) that if the international student can't arrive by then, they can no longer come for that semester. The fact that a lot of these schools have been cool with us deferring to Spring, I think, is a big plus. Of course, this whole trainwreck of a year is unprecedented, but I was afraid that schools would force students to defer by an entire year since many PhD programs don't allow you to start on a Spring semester. I am glad that (at least for now), we can start in the Spring semester if we can't make it by the end of September. 

 

38 minutes ago, huevo1991 said:

In my case, I'd have to pay around $25 per credit (it would be around $300 for the semester).

 

To me, this is what actually seems harsh. Is there a reason you will be charged? Are they admin fees or straight up a percentage of tuition? This seems unfair to me. 

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7 hours ago, kestrel18 said:

Michigan State University granted its foreign Ph.D. students an opportunity to study and receive stipend remotely during the Fall 2020 semester. 

Hi! Do you know what the funding 'structure' will be? It seems that typical stipends cannot be paid until students have hold of the I94 arrival form, so I'm wondering what alternative arrangements school come up with (so I can suggest them to my department).

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8 hours ago, huevo1991 said:

In my case, I'd have to pay around $25 per credit (it would be around $300 for the semester).

 

What is this for? So your tuition is waived but you have to pay the $25 per credit? As an international student who won't be getting a stipend, I can't afford to pay for anything like this. Might just defer, seems easier. This sucks.

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3 hours ago, WanYesOnly said:

What is this for? So your tuition is waived but you have to pay the $25 per credit? As an international student who won't be getting a stipend, I can't afford to pay for anything like this. Might just defer, seems easier. This sucks.

 

11 hours ago, Cryss said:

To me, this is what actually seems harsh. Is there a reason you will be charged? Are they admin fees or straight up a percentage of tuition? This seems unfair to me. 

 

Some fees were not included even in the original tuition waiver offer (actually, I understand that every student in my program -american or international- pays those fees --or at least several students I've talked to do so). It might be because it's a state university, but I really don't know.

However, the fees they are requiring me now are much lower than I would pay if I study in the US this semester. Fortunately, the new offer upholds a scholarship/award they granted to me in the original letter, and the amount of the award covers all the fees for this semester. I asked them if I could use part of the award to pay the fees for this semester, and they answered yes. But I don't know how this will work; my guess is that my fees be deducted from the award.

 

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