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Changes to Spring Academic Calendar Fordham is modifying its academic calendar in anticipation of a national resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic this winter. Full Details

GSAS Fall 2020 International Students FAQ

New International Students
Continuing International Students


New International Students

1. How do current Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regulations affect new international students at Fordham?

According to the most recent guidance from ICE, new international students who are entering the United States and studying on campus at Fordham/GSAS cannot be enrolled in an online-only program. New F-1 students must register for at least one hybrid course and be enrolled full time in Fall 2020 to ensure they can maintain their valid F1 status. Enrollment in a hybrid course indicates to the university and ICE that you are attending this course in hybrid format, which includes in-person instruction.

2. As a new incoming international student, I am concerned that I will not be able to obtain an F-1 visa to travel to the United States in time for the start of Fordham’s fall semester on August 26, 2020. What options do I have?

There are currently three possible options for new international students, although all options may not be available for all graduate programs. Please contact GSAS Admissions to determine which option(s) is/are available to you:

  1. On Campus Start:
  1. Remote Start:
  1.  Request a Delay of Matriculation:
  • As per 4.3 Deferral or Change of Program and/or Degree of the GSAS Academic Policies and Procedures Guidebook, it is GSAS policy not to permit a deferral of admission. However, admitted students may seek permission to delay matriculation by no more than one semester. Contact GSAS Admissions at fuga@fordham.edu to request a delay of your matriculation.
  • If you are granted permission to defer matriculation you must complete the Intent to Enroll process and pay the required, non-refundable enrollment deposit to confirm acceptance of the offer of admission. Deposits will be rolled over to the next entry term. 
  • If you wish to reapply for admission the following academic year, you must do so by submitting a new online application, but admission cannot be guaranteed for the new entry term. Any exceptions must be approved in writing by the dean. Application materials (e.g. letters of recommendation, Graduate Record Examination [GRE] scores) typically remain on file for up to 18 months after their initial submission.
  • Any change of program and/or degree requires a new application, the recommendation of the department or program, and the approval of the dean. 
  • NOTE ABOUT FINANCIAL AID: GSAS merit-based financial aid awards are not automatically deferred to another academic term. Financial aid is awarded for the entry term to which an applicant applies and is admitted. If you were admitted to GSAS with a merit-based financial aid award and your request to delay matriculation is approved, GSAS will reconsider your application for financial aid, subject to availability, but financial aid cannot be guaranteed. Fordham/GSAS are not permitted to allow stipends to accrue during any academic term during which a new admitted international student requests and is granted delayed matriculation. 

3. I am a new international student receiving financial aid, but I am unable to arrive to campus in the fall. How will this affect my financial aid?

  1. Non-Compensatory Awards (Tuition Scholarships):
  • If you have been awarded a tuition scholarship, the GSAS Office of Academic Programs and Support will apply the scholarship to your tuition bill as stipulated in your original admission offer.
  • If you have been awarded a full or partial tuition scholarship, federal regulations require you to enroll full-time (full-time status is a condition of all tuition scholarships) for the duration of that award, and to complete your courses remotely during the fall academic term.
  • Please note, if you take more classes than your tuition scholarship covers, you will be responsible for, and will be billed for those additional credits.
  1. Compensatory Stipends and Health Insurance:
  • Fordham/GSAS will not pay compensatory stipends (e.g., graduate assistantships, teaching fellowships, teaching associateships, research assistantships, distinguished fellowships) or defray the costs of student health insurance for any newly admitted international student until s/he enters the country on a valid U.S. non-immigrant, student visa and obtains a federal tax ID.
  • Incoming students who are not able to travel to the United States will not be eligible to receive compensatory stipends or Fordham-sponsored health insurance until they have obtained a U.S. visa, arrive at Fordham, and complete the necessary paperwork. 
  1. Stipends Will Not Accrue:
  • Fordham/GSAS will not allow stipends to accrue during any academic term during which a newly admitted international student requests and is granted delayed matriculation.
  • Once the student obtains her/his F-1 or M-1 visa and completes the necessary paperwork, the stipend will be processed.
  • Under no circumstances will stipends be processed retroactively or be adjusted to “make up” for the loss, in whole or in part, of a stipend during a previous academic term(s).
  • If you are unable to arrive until the spring semester owing to Covid-19 related delays in obtaining your F1 student visa, GSAS may choose (but is not obligated) to extend your stipend into the summer months (with appropriate duties being assigned). This would require you to continue performing the duties associated with your stipend, for up to 18 hours per week through the summer months. As per above, the stipend amount must be consistent with GSAS’ normal summer stipends, and will not be adjusted (increased) during summer 2020 to “make up” for the loss of stipend in fall 2020. 

4. Can new international students enroll in online classes this fall?

Please see the answer to question 1.

5. Do new international students have to enroll in all in-person classes?

No, please see the answer to questions 1.

6. What if Fordham and GSAS must move to an online-only model during the semester? Will international students have to leave the U.S. immediately?

Registering for a hybrid course indicates to the university and immigration that you are attending this course in hybrid format which includes in-person instruction. Unless you withdraw from a course as per GSAS policy (see 5.3.4 Registration Changes), you are considered enrolled in the course for the entire academic semester. Thus, if you enroll in a hybrid course at the start of the semester and remain enrolled, you should not have to leave the US immediately.

7. I am a new incoming international student experiencing difficulty obtaining my visa. Can I still enroll in online courses?

International students are not required to hold visas to take courses online from outside of the United States. Students not entering the United States this fall can register for online courses. Consult your Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or program director about potential online coursework.

8. I am an incoming international student admitted to a GSAS Master’s program that will take two years of full-time study to complete. I am thinking of starting the program remotely during fall 2020. I plan to arrive in the United States and Fordham/GSAS in Spring 2021 to complete my courses during that term under the flexible hybrid model. I very much want to apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or pre-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) in summer 2021. Will this be possible?

Practical training (CPT or pre or post completion OPT) is typically only authorized for F-1 students who have been enrolled in a U.S. institution on a full time basis for one full academic year.  So, if you begin your studies abroad in the fall 2020 and you enter the US as an F1 in spring 2021, you will be eligible for CPT and/or OPT at the end of fall 2021 term.

9. What if I am an international student with health concerns and cannot attend class?

Please report your illness to your academic advisor and the Office of International Services (OIS). They can address your questions and keep your SEVIS file active.

10. What becomes of my SEVIS record if I take a personal leave of absence for the semester?

Your SEVIS record will become inactive.


Continuing International Students

1. How do current Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regulations affect continuing international students at Fordham?

According to the most recent guidance from ICE, continuing international students may enroll entirely in online courses, regardless of whether they are in the United States or abroad. However, international students who are in the United States and studying on campus at Fordham/GSAS should enroll in at least one in person or hybrid course in Fall 2020 and be enrolled full time to ensure they can maintain their valid F1 status. In the event that guidance from ICE should change, enrollment in a hybrid course indicates to the university and ICE that you are attending this course in hybrid format, which includes in-person instruction.

2. Can continuing international students enroll in online classes this fall?
If you are a continuing international student at GSAS and do not plan to be in the United States in fall 2020 and/or spring 2021, you may register for your courses under the flexible hybrid model and complete them remotely. Continuing F-1 students who will continue their studies online from abroad will remain active in the SEVIS system.

3. Do continuing international students have to enroll in all in-person classes?

No, a continuing F1 student who resides in the U.S. retaining F-1 status should take at least one hybrid course, and then register for all of their courses as per normal and attend as per the segmentation plan assigned by the faculty instructor. 

4. What if Fordham and GSAS must move to an online-only model during the semester? Will international students have to leave the U.S. immediately?

Registering for a hybrid course indicates to the university and immigration that you are attending this course in hybrid format which includes in-person instruction. Unless you drop/withdraw from a course as per GSAS Policies and Procedures Guidebook (see 5.3.4 Registration Changes) , you are considered to be enrolled in the course for the entire academic semester. Thus, if you enroll in a hybrid course at the start of the semester and remain enrolled, you should not have to leave the US immediately.

5. When are continuing international students eligible to return to Fordham/GSAS?

  • If you did not leave the U.S. since the outbreak of  Covid-19, you can start classes in fall 2020 under the flexible hybrid model when Fordham reopens on 26 August.
  • If you are a continuing international student retaining a valid F1 visa who left the U.S. during Covid-19, and you are not subject to the U.S. government’s COVID-19 quarantine country policy, you should be able to re-enter the U.S. and start classes in fall 2020 under the flexible hybrid model when Fordham reopens on 26 August.
  • If you are a continuing international student who does not retain a valid F1 visa, and you left the U.S. during Covid-19, you should reach out immediately to OIS for guidance on how to proceed.  

6. I am a continuing international student receiving financial aid, but I am unable to arrive to campus in the fall. How will this affect my financial aid?

  1. Non-Compensatory Awards (Tuition Scholarships):
  • If you are a continuing student receiving a tuition scholarship the GSAS Office of Academic Programs and Support can apply those scholarships to your tuition bill as stipulated in their original admission offer.
  • If you have been receiving a full or partial tuition scholarship, federal regulations require you to enroll full-time (full-time status is a condition of all tuition scholarships) for the duration of that award, and to complete your courses remotely during the fall academic term.
  • Please note, if you take more classes than your tuition scholarship covers, you will be billed for those credits.
  1. Compensatory Stipends and Health Insurance:
  • Fordham/GSAS will not pay compensatory stipends (e.g., graduate assistantships, teaching fellowships, teaching associateships, research assistantships, distinguished fellowships) or defray the costs of student health insurance for any international student until the student enters the country on a valid U.S. non-immigrant, student visa and obtains a federal tax ID.
  • Continuing students who are not able to travel to the United States will not be able to receive compensatory stipends or Fordham-sponsored health insurance until they have obtained a U.S. visa, arrive at Fordham, and complete the necessary paperwork.
  1. Stipend Will Not Accrue:
  • Fordham/GSAS will not allow stipends to accrue during any academic term during which a continuing international student is unable to travel to the United States.
  • If you are a continuing student, you must have your valid F-1 visa and complete the necessary paperwork for the stipend to be processed.
  • Under no circumstances will stipends be processed retroactively or be adjusted to “make up” for the loss of a stipend during a previous academic term(s).
  • If you are unable to return to campus until the spring semester owing to COVID-19 related delays in obtaining your F1 student visa, GSAS may choose (but is not obligated) to extend your stipend into the summer months (with appropriate duties being assigned). This would require you to continue performing your duties for up to 18 hours per week through the summer months. As per above, the stipend amount must be consistent with GSAS’ normal summer stipends, and will not be adjusted (increased) during summer 2020 to “make up” for the loss of stipend in fall 2020.

7. I am a continuing international student continuing my coursework online abroad. What immigration paperwork do I need to complete?

Register for fall hybrid coursework and contact OIS when you plan to return for the spring 2021 term.

8. What if I have health concerns and cannot attend class?

Please report your illness to your academic advisor and the Office of International Services (OIS). They can address your questions and keep your SEVIS file active.

9. What becomes of my SEVIS record if I take a personal leave of absence for the semester?

Your SEVIS record will become inactive.