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Advising international students   bridging the gap between immigration and academic advising
 

Advising international students bridging the gap between immigration and academic advising

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Advising international students bridging the gap between immigration and academic advising

Advising international students bridging the gap between immigration and academic advising

Nacada Region 4 Miami 2014

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    Advising international students   bridging the gap between immigration and academic advising Advising international students bridging the gap between immigration and academic advising Presentation Transcript

    • Office of International Student and Scholar ServicesFlorida International University, Miami, FL
    •  Immigration Advising and Academic Advising for international students: Is there a common goal? What is an “international student”? International Student Services: What is that and what do they do there? How do international students maintain legal status in the U.S.? What are the consequences of falling out of status? How can we work together to help international students?
    •  Most would agree that all members of a university community have at least one goal in common: student success. In the case of international students, academic success and maintaining legal immigration status usually go hand in hand. The best outcome for a student is often achieved by the willingness of many offices on campus to collaborate and provide a united effort to serve the needs and best interests of the student. So it is with international student services and academic advising offices…
    • A non-immigrant holding a student visa (or student status)  F-1 Student Visa  J-1 Student Visa  By far the most  More restrictions; common student visa higher reporting for degree-seeking requirements for school students and students  Exchange Students in intensive English (non-degree-seeking) language programs  Some degree-seeking  M-1 Vocational students funded by Student Visa home government and  Only at certain schools students sponsored by special programs (e.g. (e.g. flight training) Fulbright)
    •  F-1 and J-1 (and M-1) students are the only non- immigrant students that:  have a full-time enrollment requirement  have records maintained by an international student services office But there are other foreign students!  other visa categories: dependents of foreign workers, diplomats, investors, international organization employees, religious workers, etc. (these students abound in places like Washington, DC for example)  just be aware your school may have them and they are not subject to the same regulations Sometimes these students must change status to F-1
    •  723,277 Students Top Three Countries Nationally:  China  India  South Korea Top Three Institutions (largest number of international students):  University of Southern California: 8,615  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: 7,991  New York University: 7,988
    •  53,955 Students  Alabama: 6,340  Florida: 29,719  Georgia: 15,359  Mississippi: 2,537 Top Three Institutions (largest number of international students):  University of Florida: 5,393  Georgia Institute of Technology: 4,943  Florida International University: 2,677
    •  Most popular majors:  Business and Management, Engineering, Math, Computer Science Country with largest increase from previous year: China  23% overall / 43% at undergraduate level Women represent 45% of international students $21 Billion to U.S. economy 70% of funding from outside U.S.
    •  It may be dangerous to overgeneralize but some characteristics you will find quite commonplace:  From educated and wealthy or middle class families  From top of the class at schools in their home countries (often have identity as a “good student” that may come into question if they face language and/or cultural barriers in the U.S.)  From an educational system where students do not have much freedom to select their own classes, change their academic path, etc. – often they do not have to take much personal responsibility to plan out their program of study
    •  Many different models  No matter what the  May be integrated with structure, serves a academic advising vital compliance  May be part of an “international function for the school center” or institute, connected  Advisors are “DSO’s” – to study abroad office and other Designated School Officials programs, and very involved in (F-1) or “RO’s” – Responsible internationalization activities of Officers (J-1) the school  Must report information  May be stand alone office about international students  May provide significant social to Department of Homeland and cultural programming, may Security through a database not, depending on structure called SEVIS: and funding Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
    • DSO’s/RO’s must report the following in SEVIS for each international student: Enrollment status (beginning of each semester)  Full-time  Less than full-time, authorized  Less than full-time, not authorized (VIOLATION OF STATUS)  Not enrolled (VIOLATION OF STATUS) Dropped classes (resulting in less than full-time enrollment) (VIOLATION OF STATUS) Graduation Change of address or other biographical info Change in academic program (change of major, length of program)
    •  Advising (appointments / walk-in hours) Orientations for new international students Informational workshops:  Bring immigration attorneys to campus  Provide information sessions on Employment, Travel, Cultural Adjustment, etc. Maintenance of immigration records in SEVIS and issuance of updated immigration documents for international students (I-20 and DS-2019) Authorize - or assist with application for - Practical Training (employment authorization for internships, etc.)
    • What do international students need to do? Keep immigration documents up to date Do not engage in any unauthorized employment Maintain good academic standing and make “satisfactory progress” toward completion of degree AND Maintain full-time enrollment, when required** **This is the most essential component of maintaining student status and it is here that academic advisors can provide much needed assistance
    •  May depend how the institution defines “full-time”  Same load as for athletes, scholarship recipients etc. Usually 12 credit hours for undergraduate students (Usually 9 credit hours for graduate students) Student must enroll full-time in Fall and Spring  Summer optional Student must enroll full-time in Summer if it is student’s first semester at that school  International students transferring in summer from another school in the U.S. often get confused about this regulation
    • ONLINE CLASSES: Student may take only 3 credits of online coursework that will count toward full-time requirement That means: At least 9 credits must be in-person/on-campus Student may not take all online classes in final semester
    • CONCURRENT ENROLLMENT: Undergraduate students may take up to 6 credits (half- time) at another school as long as credits will transfer back to home institution to count toward degree requirements Full-time requirement and online rule still apply each fall and spring (and during the summer if the student’s first semester)
    • Students MUST obtain DSO/RO approval beforeenrolling less than full-time or before dropping aclass. Circumstances that may allow for thisauthorization are VERY LIMITED: • Academic Difficulties (first semester only) • Medical Conditions • Final Semester/Completion of Program
    • IMPORTANT: Students are eligible for employment ONLY if they are in valid F-1 or J-1 status. Students who fall out of status must interrupt any previously approved employment.MOST COMMON TYPES OF EMPLOYMENT On-Campus Employment – F-1 and J-1: 20 hours or less per week during Fall and Spring (may be more than 20 hours per week during Summer and school breaks) Curricular Practical Training (CPT) – F-1: Authorization for internships that are part of student’s academic program Optional Practical Training (OPT) – F-1: 12 months of general work authorization allowing student to work off-campus in their field of study either before or after graduation
    •  Curricular Practical Training (CPT): employment benefit available to F-1 students who will complete a required internship or an internship that is an “integral part” of their academic program There is little guidance in the regulations about specific procedures schools should use to authorize this type of employment Wide variation among schools in the policies and procedures used by ISS offices in relation to CPT – check with ISS at your school and always refer an international student planning to do an internship to that office It should be determined that the student is eligible for CPT before pursuing internship options (before application or placement in a position) NOTE: CPT employment authorization is required whether the position is paid or unpaid
    • ACADEMIC REASONS Less than full-time enrollment (no authorization) Dropped class(es) Too many online classes (equivalent to less than full-time) Academic dismissal Which do you think are moreNON-ACADEMIC REASONS common?! Employment (paid or unpaid) without authorization Failure to request program extension before expiration date on I-20 or DS-2019 Failure to properly complete immigration transfer from one U.S. school to another
    •  The violation is reported to DHS – it may not cause immediate consequence (likely the student will NOT be deported) but future problems with travel, visa renewal, etc.  May cause significant stress and personal issues If previously authorized to work, student must stop working immediately; student will not be eligible for employment benefits while out of status  May cause financial hardship  May cause academic interruption if unable to complete a required internship There are procedures to regain student status – an out-of-status student should visit the ISS office as soon as possible to initiate the process  Sometimes requires the student to travel – disruptive and financially burdensome  All procedures to regain status incur a cost
    •  Proactive advising model  Account for full-time enrollment requirement  Develop ways to identify international students Plan several semesters ahead  Lock-step programs or high level of sequencing  Programs with high number of online offerings  Balancing high- vs. low-availability courses Be resourceful – use all available options, be creative  Concurrent enrollment  Summer enrollment  Strategize with student to effectively allocate courses
    •  Always refer international students to your ISS office when they face decisions or experience circumstances that may affect their status, for example:  Failing a class: To drop or not to drop?  Problems at home: Need to take a semester off  Financial difficulties that may affect enrollment  Internship or job opportunity has come up  Poor grades have resulted in academic dismissal
    •  Building Relationships  Become familiar with the staff and services of other offices  establish a regular contact – know who to call when there is a problem or you have a question  ISS: regular outreach to academic advising offices  trainings or meetings to discuss international student issues  Academic Advising: invite ISS staff to your general or annual meetings or forums; disseminate relevant information
    •  Regular Communication and Assistance  Most formal approach: Designate liaisons between ISS and Academic Advising  Most simple/universal rule: When in doubt, call and ask  Reinforcing information: Make sure all advisors are on the same page so that the student receives ONE message When we work together we instill confidence in each other and in our students
    • We welcome your questions, your suggestionsand your feedback!Thank you!
    • Dr. Ana Sippin, Director International Student & Scholar Services Florida International University, Modesto Maidique CampusTed Randall, Associate Director International Student & Scholar Services Florida International University, Modesto Maidique CampusJessica Larsen, Coordinator International Student & Scholar Services Florida International University, Modesto Maidique Campus