Changes in international student program causes concern at UTPB

Local News

ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/ Fox 24) – The Student and Exchange Visitor Program regulated by ICE has implemented new regulations for their F-1 and M-1 students.

International students will not be allowed to take a full online course load to remain in the U.S. International students who attend schools who are only offering online courses, will either have to transfer to another school that is offering all in-person classes or leave the country.

Dr. Rebecca Spurlock, Vice President of Student Affairs at UTPB said after the annoucment was made on Monday, international students became worried about their future.

“We started hearing form international students almost immediately after the announcement came out, Spurlock said. ” They had many questions about what this will mean for them.”

But students attending schools who are offering hybrid courses like UTPB will be allowed to take classes online. However, the school will have to inform S-V-E-P that the student is not completing all their courses virtually.

Spurlock said UTPB will continue to support their international students during this change.

” We’re working with the UT System and our representatives with SVEP,” Spurlock said. ” We can make sure that if something changes we can have the best guidance possible to help our students who would of course like to stay in the United States and continue on their course of study towards graduation.”

But after Thanksgiving break, all classes will resume online. Spurlock said that’s something that can be negotiated in this new regulation

“That is one of many pieces that we will be looking for guidance on to understand, Spurlock said. “You know different people have an different definitions on what is a hybrid, what percent of the instruction has to be in person…you know there are different group regulations.”

Spurlock said that over one hundred international students at UTPB will be will be affected by this regulation this coming school year. Spurlock wants to make sure they all have comfort while this regulation takes goes into effect.

“Know that we have a commitment to you and to do what we can to make this situation work for you.”

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