July 7, 2020  |  News & Events, Timely Announcements

Dear Campus Community,

You have probably heard that yesterday a preview of a temporary new rule regarding Fall 2020 enrollment of international students was published. The preview can be found here:


It is important to note that the US Department of Homeland Security plans to publish a Temporary Final Rule in the near future. The Temporary Final Rule may be modified from the existing preview, and we will continue to monitor this evolving situation.

The guidance specifically addresses options for universities that are pursuing a Hybrid mode of instruction that includes in-person instruction. As you know, UWM is pursuing a Hybrid model, which would provide options for our international students. UWM is actively working to ensure that international students will be able to continue and, in some cases, commence their studies for the Fall 2020 term.

The following work is underway:

  1. Outreach to continuing students inside and outside of the US about how this rule impacts them.
  2. Outreach to newly admitted students.
  3. Compliance with guidance on updating student visa documents (Form I-20)
  4. Identifying opportunities for advocacy for regulatory changes to address the complexity of the current COVID-19 situation, both for institutions of higher education and international students.
  5. We expect more guidelines to come from UW System.

Programs should be actively reviewing their array of coursework to ensure that international students can enroll in at least one 3 credit course (Hybrid or F2F) that meets the objective of progress towards degree. Generally speaking, government guidance for enrollment in courses follows an undergraduate model: 1 course is 3 credits and full-time is 12 credits. For graduate students we may have some flexibility in the number of credits per course to meet the in-person requirement.

Students in the US will NOT be permitted to enroll exclusively in online coursework. The rule states that if an institution converts to online only instruction during the semester that international students must transfer to another school that has a Hybrid or F2F model, change to another non-immigrant visa status or return home. Additionally, returning home may not be an option for students because of international travel bans.

We will keep you posted and also provide updates on the UWM Re-opening website on this matter. Thank you for your care and commitment to our international student population.

Take care,


Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs