Global Engagement

The University of Mississippi – Office of Global Engagement

Information for Current Students

Posted on: July 14th, 2020 by blair

Below is a summary of the SEVP Guidance for Fall 2020 as it applies to international students studying at the University of Mississippi:

  1. All F-1 and J-1 international students must be physically present in the U.S. and must register full time to maintain F-1 or J-1 status:
    • Students can enroll full time in a combination of in-person (section), hybrid, remote, and online classes.
    • Students will be able to enroll in more than 1 online class but must enroll in at least 1 in-person course to be considered in-status.
    • 100% online only study inside the U.S. will not be allowed.
  2. The University of Mississippi is considered to be operating under a hybrid model according to SEVP’s guidance, and our plan is to remain a hybrid model for the fall semester, as long as we are able to mitigate virus spread with our protocols and the status of our state, system, and community allow it.  Our goal would be to make changes to the delivery format of courses on an individual basis, and we have worked to create a course or course schedule for international students that will enable international students to be certified as having a hybrid schedule for the fall semester.

Please note: Fall 2020 guidance is fluid, as there are several challenges to the July 6 Guidance from SEVP.  OGE will continue to monitor information for updates and share it in a timely manner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take some courses online, or must all my courses be in person?

  • Based on the recent SEVP fall 2020 guidance, students who will study at a university that is offering a hybrid model of courses (mix of in-person and remote/online) will be allowed to take more than the standard limit of online courses (e.g. no more than one course or three credit hours).

I am outside of the US right now and my schedule in shows all remote or online courses.  Can I stay in my home country and take these classes online?

  • The answer to this question depends on where you are located.  Every country has rules about universities offering classes online.  As we determine if this is possible for you, we will update our website with country information.  Final guidance should be available by July 31, 2020.

Do I need to live in Oxford, or can I be in another US city?

  • All students will be in hybrid schedules and should plan to be present in Oxford for the in-person components of their courses.
  • If you are in thesis or dissertation hours and are conducting research outside of Oxford, please check with your department, the Graduate School, and OGE about this situation.

This is my last term and I only need one course. Can that course be online?

  • SEVP has not addressed this directly in their fall 2020 guidance, however pre-existing guidance establishes that if a student has only one course remaining, that course cannot be taken online.

I am in the thesis or dissertation phase of my program. All of my coursework is done, and I will be full-time engaged in research this semester. Does this qualify for in person study?

  • Thesis and dissertation hours count as in-person hours, so a schedule of thesis or dissertation hours is compliant with the guidance.

Can I remain in the US after the campus closes at Thanksgiving?

  • OGE is exploring the impact of ending in-person attendance with the Thanksgiving break.

If campus closes mid-semester due to COVID-19 developments, can I remain in the US and finish the semester remotely?

  • The current SEVP guidance states that in this scenario, students will need to make a departure from the US or transfer to another school inside the US that is hosting in-person courses.  However, the University of Mississippi has arranged for international students to take a course (at both the undergraduate and graduate levels) that will comply with the guidance.  In addition, UM will operate under a hybrid model and plans to remain a hybrid model for the semester.

Some of the classes I need are not offered this semester. Can I take less than a full time load of courses?

  • Students will need to be full time enrolled to maintain their F-1 or J-1 status. A student must qualify for a Reduced Course Load authorization (RCL) to be enrolled less than full-time. Students who are in their last term and need less than a full-time load to complete their program should submit a Reduced Course Load application. If a student is not in their last term, options for being approved for an RCL are limited. Students should contact OIP directly for questions about specific situations by emailing

Will I need a new I-20?

  • The recent SEVP fall 2020 guidance directs schools to issue an updated I-20 to all students. OIP will be in touch with students who need an updated I-20 with additional information.

The announcement from SEVP said that schools will need to issue new I-20s for students. I am outside of the US right now. Do I need the new I-20 to enter the US?

  • Based on the current fall 2020 guidance, it is best for students to have an updated I-20 when entering the US to attend the fall semester. If your arrival date is prior to July 24, please contact OIP directly for more information.

When will OIP provide new I-20s for current students?

  • OIP is currently confirming which students will need an updated document and will communicate directly with those students by July 17.

I have an unexpired visa stamp in my passport, but I am still trying to make travel arrangements. Can I arrive after the start of classes?

  • There are limits to how late a student can arrive after the start of classes. Students who might be delayed in their arrival to campus should contact OIP directly with the details of their situation.