To: The Stevens Community
From: President Nariman Farvardin
Date: July 8, 2020
Subject: Message from President Farvardin Regarding New DHS Ruling on International Students

To the Stevens Community,

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new temporary final rule prohibiting international students from remaining in the United States if they are enrolled in an American college or university that offers only fully online instruction in the 2020-21 academic year. This guidance applies to students attending any U.S. institution that either plans to offer only online instruction or that transitions to exclusively online mid-semester in response to COVID-19 developments.

Stevens values our international students and the individual and collective contributions they make to our rich and diverse community of scholars. We are fully committed to supporting our international students to the greatest extent possible and ensuring that they are able to continue to pursue their educational goals in a safe and welcoming environment.

Earlier today, Stevens Institute of Technology began announcing its plans to return to campus for the Fall 2020 semester, including a hybrid instructional mode known as StevensFlex. StevensFlex will offer students the opportunity to take many of their classes on campus in a socially-distanced classroom environment while simultaneously enabling students who cannot or do not wish to come to campus to participate in classes online. Stevens will offer as many classes as possible, in fact, most classes, in this hybrid format; StevensFlex classes will meet in a physical location on campus at a scheduled time, with some students attending class in-person while others join virtually from a remote location, on an alternating schedule.

When a revised draft of our Fall 2020 semester schedule is available later this month, we urge all international students to carefully review course options to ensure that you are enrolled in courses that have a sufficient classroom component as part of StevensFlex. Also, please note that international students will be allowed, per the usual DHS rule, to enroll in no more than one fully online course in the Fall 2020 semester. We believe that students will meet the requirements of DHS’ new temporary final rule if they enroll in StevensFlex courses and attend their on-campus components and take no more than one fully online course.

As you may know, the higher education community is working on an action plan to reverse this ruling, including petitioning Congress, litigation, and exerting pressure through the collective efforts of national and regional education associations. Stevens is in touch with our elected representatives in Washington on this issue and is advising them of the severe detrimental impact this ruling may have on our international students and on institutions of higher education.

Specific questions should be addressed to the Office of Graduate Education or the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). Updates and additional information will be provided through these offices as it becomes available.

I wish our international students good health, perseverance, and patience as we work through yet another challenge presented in this most unusual time. I look forward to seeing each of you on campus in the fall.