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My master degree program was canceled. I really need help now…


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I am an international student. I graduated from USC this summer. I received an admission offer from a graduate program at UPenn in August. The program suppose to starts in Jan 2018, but I received a phone call yesterday informed me that the program was cancelled because they only admitted 3 students and it’s too few to operate the program. I asked them what solution do they provide, they simply said that “we would probably start a similar program in Fall 2018, if we can run the program, we can admit you directly”. No guarantee, no compensation and no options.

They also told me that they would refund my application fee. But to me, the money is not the issue, it’s the time, efforts and opportunity I wasted. I rejected offers from other universities such as WashU and Rice because of this program.

Actually before I applied to this program, considering this is a new program, I’ve asked them whether the program will be cancelled if there are too few students enroll. They emailed me that there is no required minimum enrollment. (The deadline of the program was in mid August, then the deadline has been defer to Oct 1st, then Nov 1st…)

I received my I20 two weeks ago, now I am in my country. I don’t even know if I can enter the US again by using this I20 and my visa. My car and my stuffs are still in the US (I shipped them from LA to PA this summer)

My whole family are frustrated. I really don’t know what to do now. I am trying to talk to them to ask if I can be transferred to another similar program. This just happened suddenly. I could never imagine that an Ivy league, a world well known university would do this.

Is there anyone who knows about similar issue? Please give me some suggestions if you or your friend met this situation before or know anything else Please

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I have no advice for you because I've never been in this situation, but I'm so sorry to hear this! I would be so frustrated as well! I hope they can do something for you. 

Good luck with everything! Write back and let us know what happens. 


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I'm sorry to hear about this OP, but unfortunately it's not clear that there is anything that you can do. I don't think there's going to be an easy way for you to "transfer to another similar program" because the funding sources are going to be different, and I would assume that the other program (and I'm assuming here that you have a particular one in mind) has probably committed its funding for next semester. Spring semester start dates are rarer, which doesn't help you either. Not everyone will take a new student mid-year. In any event, while the original program may feel bad for you, they have their own administrative processes and there are limitations on what they can do. I would suggest writing one of the other programs that offered you admissions to see if there is any way to change your mind and take their offer. That would leave you 6 weeks to deal with immigration and other bureaucracies, which is tight but possible. 

As for your I-20, you should consult with the school's international students office, but since the program is canceled, most likely you won't be able to use the I-20 and visa for this program. (Which is to say, you may or may not technically get away with it if you try to enter the US on an I-20 for a canceled program -- I don't know -- but you could get yourself into trouble doing that if you ever want another I-20 and visa for another program.) I'd be very careful here. You may need to get some help from someone local in PA putting your things in long-term storage (where I assume they might be anyway since you're away) or selling them. This really really sucks, I'm sorry.  

(And moderator note: I removed your other two identical posts. Please don't cross-post the same post multiple times.)

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