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International Student Resources: Maintaining Status

This is a libguide with resources for international students at Eastern Nazarene College

Maintaining F-1 Student Status

As an F-1 Student ENC, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are maintaining your F-1 student status. This impacts your ability to continue to study at ENC. Please make sure you are familiar with the regulations related to your F-1 status and that you are meeting those regulations each semester. 

Please click on the tabs below for more information related to each area related to your students status. 

Maintaining Status as an F-1 Student

Your SEVIS Record

SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. SEVIS is an online system used to maintain the records for F-1 students at ENC. Every F-1 student at ENC has a unique SEVIS record that was created prior to you recieving your I-20. You can find your SEVIS number on the top right corner of the I-20. 

SEVIS allows ENC to provide up-to-date information to government agencies regarding your rpgoram at ENC as required by government regulations. Any time we submit updates about your program of student or issue you a new I-20 it is done through SEVIS.

What we Report in SEVIS

You might be wondering what does ENC report to the government? We only provide informatoin that is required by federal law. This includes all infromation on your I-20, including personal infromation, information about your program of study at ENC, and financial information. 

ENC is also required to report any informaiton on academic, disciplinary, or other events that affect the nonimmigrant status of a student visitor. 

For F-1 Students, these reportable events include, but are not limited to:

  • Registration and Check-In each semester
  • Leaves of Absence, Withdrawals or suspensions
  • Authorized or unauthorized drops below "full course of study" as defined by USCIS regulations
  • Employment off campus
  • US residential address changes
  • Changes in major, program of study, or expected completion date
  • Transfer to a new college
  • Periods of authorized or unauthorized employment
  • Termination of F-1 Status due to degree completion, change of status, failure to maintain status, or other reason. 

Full-Time Enrollment Requirement

Immigration regulations require that F-1 students register for and complete a full course of study each Fall and Spring semester. 

Definition

For immigration purposes, full-time enrollment at ENC is defined as being enrolled in at least 12 credit hours. 

Exceptions:

Immigration rules permit exceptions to the full-time enrollment required in very limited circumstances. you must request and obtain permission for a reduced course load from a ENC DSO before dropping below full-time enrollment. The ENC DSO cannot retroactively authorize a drop below full-time enrollment, so please contact an ENC DSO before dropping or withdrawing from classes. 

Students may be considered for an exception for the following reasons:

1. Academic Reasons

  • Improper course placement
  • Initial difficulties with the English language or reading requirements
  • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods

2. Final Semester

  • Degree seeking students may be authorized to drop below full-time status in their final semester if they will complete all program requirements by the end of that semester. Proof of expected graduations is required in order for this to be authorized. You will also need a letter from the Registrar's office verifying that you only need a part-time course load to complete your program in that semester. 

3. Medical Reasons

  • Physical or Mental Health Reasons (complete withdrawal is also permitted, if necessary). Documentation from a Medical Doctor or a licensed psychologist recommending a reduced course load due to illness or medical conditions must be provided. The letter must also specify the time period recommended for the reduced course load. 
  • Authorization for reduced course load for medical reasons cannot exceed a cumulative period of more than 12 months during your degree program. 
  • Authorization for reduced course load for medical reasons can only be given one semester at a time, therefor continuing health issues may require more than one authorization. 

Requesting Authorization for a Reduced Course Load

To request authorization for a reduced course load for any of the above permitted circumstances, please bring your supporting documentation, I-20, passport, and I-94 record to the ENC DSO. Upon approval, your SEVIS record will be updated to reflect the reduced course load authorization and you will receive a new I-20 documenting the authorization. 

 

Overview:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires that you finish your program of study by the completion date on your I-20. The end date on the I-20 (Item #5) is established by the admissions office to reflect the average length of time it should take a student to complete the degree requirements. If, during the course of your studies it becomes necessary to extend your I-20, the ENC DSO can provide I-20 extensions to those who are eligible and apply in a timely fashion.

Eligibility Criteria:

In order to obtain a program extension, you must show that you have continually maintained status and that the extension is needed for compelling academic or medical reasons, such as a change of major or research topic, unexpected research problems, or a documented illness. Delays in completing your program caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extension approval.

Extension of stay can be granted only for documented academic or medical reasons. You may be eligible for an I-20 extension if the following criteria are met:

  1. The delay was caused by documented academic or medical circumstances,
  2. You have sufficient financial resources to fund your studies and living expenses, and
  3. The extension is requested in a timely manner, with sufficient time for processing before the current expiration

If your program end date (I-20, section #5) has expired or you do not meet the eligibility requirements to apply for a program extension, it will be necessary to file for reinstatement to F-1 status with USCIS, for which you will have to pay a substantial fee. In addition, failure to apply for an extension of stay in a timely manner is a violation of F-1 regulations, which can carry heavy penalties.

The following are not valid reasons for I-20 extensions:

  • To enroll in extra courses or repeat the same course for personal interest or to improve one’s GPA
  • To engage in research on or off-campus
  • To finish pending coursework for an incomplete grade
  • To engage in non-required Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • To enroll in course work delayed by participation in non-required CPT
  • An I-20 which has already passed the program end date cannot be extended.

Applying for a Program Extension:

To apply for a program extension you will need to provide proof of eligibility for the extension. This includes providing a valid reason for the extension and providing funding for the remaining time requested. 

  1. Download and complete the Program Extension Application: Section 1 will be filled out by you, Section 2 will be filled out by your advisor or the registrar.
  2. Provide Proof of Funding: In order to be granted a program extension, you need to provide proof of funding for the additional time you request. You will need to get approved by the Financial Aid office for any institutional aid and get a breakdown of all costs minus any aid ENC will provide. You will then need to provide proof of funding for all additional costs. This process is identical to the process you completed when applying to ENC. 
  3. Submit Documentation to DSO: Once everything is complete, you should submit your Program Extension Application and Proof of Funding to the DSO for review. 

Overview:

US Immigration law requires F-1 students to notify the ENC DSO immediately about any changes to their academic program. These changes must reported in SEVIS. Failure to report academic program changes including a change of major can put a student's immigrations status at risk. 

Requesting a Change of Major:

  • In order to change your major, you must complete  a change of major form available through the Registrar's Office: http://www.enc.edu/subpage.aspx?id=6960
  • When the change of major has been approved, submit a copy of the change of major form to the ENC DSO.
  • Pick up your updated I-20 from the ENC DSO with your new program, then date and sign the I-20.

Overview:

US Immigration law requires F-1 students to notify the ENC DSO immediately about any changes to their home address, US address and contact information. This information must be updated in your SEVIS record. The ENC DSO requires all international students to report this information at the semester check-in and is updated each semester as needed. 

Updating Address Information:

  • To update your address and contact information, please contact the ENC DSO (David Restrick) with your new address, phone number, or email address so that it can be updated.
  • Please email dso(at)enc.edu to update your contact information. 

Health Insurance

Massachusetts law requires that all students enrolled in any institution of higher learning must be covered by a comprehensive health insurance plan.  Therefore all students are automatically enrolled in the College-sponsored student health insurance plan. The cost of the student health insurance plan is included in a mandatory health insurance charge. 

International students are required to enroll in the ENC sponsored Student Health Insurance Plan and do not have an option to waive it.

Please visit University Health Plans, Inc. for information about the Eastern Nazarene College Student Health Insurance Plan. This includes the Student Health Insurance, Voluntary DeltaCare Dental Plan, and Voluntary VSP Vision Care Plan.

Withdrawing from ENC

If you are planning to withdraw from ENC and return to your home country, you will need to request an authorized Early Withdrawal. Please complete the Authorized Early Withdrawal form available below and email it to dso@enc.edu

Transferring to another College

If you are planning to transfer to another college, you will need to request your SEVIS record be transferred to the new college. 

Before we can transfer your SEVIS record, you will need to complete the ENC SEVIS Transfer Out Request Form and include a copy of your acceptance letter to the new institution.

Please Note, that once ENC releases your SEVIS record, we are no longer able to review or make changes to your record and you will need to work with the DSO at your new college on any immigration of I-20 issues.

Please email the Transfer Out Request Form and copy of your acceptance letter to dso@enc.edu 

Semester Check-In Information

Spring 2021 TRAD International Student Check In

WHEN: February 1 - February 15

Form will be available starting February 1st. 

Spring 2021 AGS International Student Check In

WHEN: January 1 - January 30

Form is available online here

As an F-1 Student at ENC, you must complete your Check In at the beginning of each semester. Federal regulations require ENC to notify the Department of Homeland Security that every F-1 Student is physically present on campus and registered for a full-time load of courses each and Fall and Spring semester. 

Completing Semester Check-In

ENC holds a check-in event at the beginning of each semester. All international students are required to attend and complete the following:

You will need to complete the ENC International Student Check-In Form. This form requires:

  • Personal information, including name, age, and citizenship information
  • Academic Information, including major and Minor (let us know if you have changed this!)
  • Address and Contact information
  • Emergency Contact Information

When you come to check-in please bring the following:

  • Passport with your VISA
  • I-20
  • I-94 (you can retrieve it online by going to: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94)
  • Copy of your ENC course schedule