Please note that these FAQs provide general information for international students. If you have specific questions, please email International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at isss@middlebury.edu to obtain information for your particular situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Students should contact International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at isss@middlebury.edu with any visa-related questions. When emailing ISSS, please include your full legal name, as this will help us answer your questions in a timely manner.

Engagement in remote course work from outside the U.S. does not require that a student have a valid U.S. visa for study. The F-1 (student) or J-1 (exchange visitor) visa is required only when a student is intending to enter the U.S. and engage in in-person courses.

The Institute will offer fall semester 2020 courses remotely.

  • Incoming students who are currently outside the U.S. must engage in their course work remotely from outside the U.S. until in-person courses resume at the Institute in Monterey.
  • For incoming students who are currently in the U.S. and hold a valid F-1 status, the July 24 ICE/SEVP guidance will allow you to remain in the U.S. and engage in remote coursework. If you have not initiated the transfer of your SEVIS record to the Institute, please email ISSS@middlebury.edu immediately.
  • For incoming students who transferred their SEVIS record and departed the U.S. and intend to engage in remote study for the fall semester, please contact ISSS for additional guidance.

An international student is not able to enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status to engage in remote course work.

If a student enters the U.S. during the semester in which they are engaged in remote study, they must enter the U.S. in a status that allows for the intended activity. Until the Institute offers courses in person, a student cannot enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status.

Students who have received an I-20 and will engage in remote course work for the fall semester, will be able to retain their SEVIS number. ISSS will be in touch with you during the fall semester about the documentation needed by our office to issue an updated I-20.

Students who defer their program start date and will not engage in remote coursework during the fall semester will be required to apply for a new I-20 closer to the start date of their program.

Students who are outside the U.S. and decide to engage in remote study may enroll in a full-time or part-time course load, provided they do not hold an active F-1 or J-1 student visa. (Students in F-1 or J-1 status must comply with regulations, including full-time enrollment, to maintain their status.)

For new students who transfer their SEVIS record to the Institute, you must enroll in a full course of study (minimum 12 credits) during the fall semester to maintain your F-1 or J-1 student status.

To be eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT), an F-1 student must first complete an academic year of study in the F-1 status. It is likely that some students will remain eligible for both CPT and OPT, while others might only be eligible for OPT at the end of their program. There may be some situations where a student will not be eligible for any off-campus training. 

Please note: This information is based on current regulations and could change. An individual student’s situation could also affect their eligibility to engage in off-campus work.

An F1 student must spend a full year in F-1 status before they are eligible to apply for off-campus training through Curricular Practical Training (CPT).  New international students who engage in remote study from outside the U.S. for the fall semester will not be eligible to apply for CPT during summer 2021, as they will not have met the one full year of study in F-1 status. We understand that summer opportunities are important for students, and we are working to identify resources and options that students may explore for professional training that would not require off-campus training authorization.

To be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT), a student must complete at least one year of study in F-1 status. Fall semester will be offered via remote learning so Advanced Entry students will not be eligible to apply for OPT upon completion of their degree in May 2021, as they will not have accumulated the required time in F-1 status before they finish.

J-1 exchange visitor students are eligible to apply for Academic Training at any point during their program of study. The length of a J-1 student’s in-person program will affect the amount of time for which a student is eligible for off-campus training.

ISSS will contact students engaged in remote course work from outside the U.S. during the fall semester with information about the documentation needed for ISSS to issue the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.

Online Discussion: Scholarships and Visas for International Students

Sadia Khan, director of Admissions, and Kelly O’Connell, assistant director of International Student and Scholar Services, answer questions around financing your education and visas. Please note that this was recorded before the decision was made to be remote for the fall 2020 semester.

Scholarships and Visas for International Students

Devin Lueddeke:

Well, hello and welcome to this online discussion about Scholarships and Visas for International Students. My name is Devin Lueddeke, and I will be your host today. Thank you for joining us live today. We’re very glad to have you. Of course, thanks to those that are watching this recording later on. This morning, we’re joined by members of the Admissions team and the International Student and Scholar Services teams, who I’ll ask to introduce themselves briefly. Sadia, would you like to get us started?

Sadia Khan:

Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. Welcome to my house. But it’s wonderful to be able to connect with you directly. Some of you, I have probably already met during the interview, and others who I have not had a chance, because you interviewed with another one of my colleagues, wonderful to connect with you as well.

Today, I’ll just be going over some of your questions regarding admissions and scholarships, but then I’ll let the rest of the team introduce themselves next, please.

Kelly O’Connell:

Hey, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us today. I see a couple of names that look familiar on the screen, because I think I have been in touch with you, either via Zoom or by email. My name is Kelly O’Connell. I work in the International Student and Scholar Services department, and my department helps international students not only navigate the visa application process, but we’re here to support you during your program of study and advise on the F-1 and the J-1 status.

Devin:

Excellent. Thank you so much, Kelly. I should also note my colleague, Jill Stoffers, is here, and she’s going to be helping with the Q and A, just a little bit in the background. I won’t force her to speak this morning.

Great to see everyone in the chat. It looks like we have folks from all over the world. I see Dubai, China, Mexico, Russia, Utah, Zambia, Chile, UK, Ohio, Marina. Thanks for dropping those into the chat. To get us started, Sadia, can you give a little overview of what the landscape looks like in terms of scholarships for international students?

Sadia:

Yeah, definitely. Thank you, Devin. In terms of what we’ve been trying to do this year, I mean, we were very fortunate to be able to get some donor funding this year, and that allowed us to be extremely generous with our scholarships. It has also enabled us to be able to navigate this uncertain time and uncertain situation we’re all facing, by trying to be more generous with our scholarship offers, and really working closely with each one of you on a case-by-case basis to really get to understand what your financial situation is. What we can do to be able to assist in any way that we can. We still have a limited amount of money, but we are trying to work with each and individual student, to really get that, get to understand what your situation is and how we can make the program a little bit more affordable, and also to be able to assist you in any way that we can during this very challenging time.

One of the things that I always recommend, when any of you have talked to me directly during the interview, and many of you who have been in touch with your enrollment managers, the goal is to make sure that we can work with you directly. Please just feel free to be in touch with any of us. Reach out to your enrollment manager. Feel free to connect with me. If there’s anything that I can do to assist, in terms of helping with financing, or just other questions regarding admissions, or any concerns that you have, more than happy to address that.

This has been a very, very challenging time, not only just for the student body, but of course for the staff and the faculty, and we are doing our level best to make it as smooth as we possibly can. Then, in regards to what the year is going to look like, there are a lot of things that we’re working on at the moment. We will be making an announcement on June 15th regarding the outlook for fall. We will work with you, again, as we said, on a case-by-case basis, to make sure that whatever your decision is, that we can come up with the best solution for you.

I’ll pass it on to Kelly next. Then Kelly, can you talk a little bit about the visa situation, and then what’s the outlook for that? Thanks.

Kelly:

For students that have been admitted, regardless of whether or not you paid a deposit, you’ve most likely received an email from International Student and Scholar Services, ISSS. If you’ve been admitted and haven’t received an email, please make sure to check your junk or clutter. We do include some hyperlinks in there, so sometimes the emails get rerouted. But that email will talk about the next steps to obtain your I-20, which is the document used for the F-1 visa application process, or the DS-2019 for the J-1 visa process. The normal process would be a student is admitted. They pay a deposit. They submit documents to ISSS. We generate an I-20 or a DS-2019, mail it to the student, and then they can start the visa application process.

As many of you may be aware, there are some … on March 20th, all U.S. Embassies and Consulates suspended routine visa processing. I have heard from quite a few students they are concerned about the visa application process. ISSS is aware of this. We are watching for government announcements. I also really encourage you to watch any kind of news put out by your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate, because at this time we don’t know when, if they’re going to open all at the same time, or if they’re going to start opening up as countries allow, so it is important to keep an eye on that information. ISSS is also doing that, but we do understand that right now, there is a lot of concern about being able to secure a visa appointment.

We’re also dealing with travel restrictions from certain countries or certain places, and we are also watching that information, as well. I know I’ve heard from a couple of students as well, that they are concerned about being able to enter the United States based on where they’re from. ISSS is watching that information and will contact students once, hopefully, we know more.

Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to ISSS@middlebury.edu. I’ll put the email in the chat box too, because sometimes it’s just easier to connect with you one-on-one and talk specifically about your questions.

Devin:

Great. Thanks so much, Kelly. We’re actually going to spend most of the remaining time with your questions, so please feel free to use that chat box and type some of your questions in there.

I’ll add a little bit of a preface here to our answers. Of course, this is a rapidly changing landscape. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s outside of our control, certainly in terms of government policies, regulations, that are outside of our control. We’re getting news in real-time that affect our answers. We’ll do our best to answer these with the knowledge available, but keep in mind that we’re planning to be in touch with you, create Frequently Asked Questions pages, and send those questions out to you as well, so please stay tuned as updates come along.

Of course, we’re going to do our best to answer a lot of these questions for normal circumstances, where we’re having an onsite program here in California, as well as a possible eventuality is that we need to do remote learning for the fall semester, for example. We’ll try to answer questions based on that as well, at least to the best of our ability and knowledge.

With that said, if you want to type in questions, feel free to plug them into the chat box. We can wait for that. While we wait for some of those questions, one that’s come up in some other discussions is if students are considering, and Sadia, this is a question for you, considering a delay to the start of their program, how does that affect a scholarship?

Sadia:

I mean, at this stage, we are working with our finance team to be able to come up with a solution. As I mentioned, we did receive a large amount of funding from a donor, and that funding was directed towards us being able to spend it this year. We are trying to make sure if we can transfer that over to next year, so if we do have students who would like to defer, our goal is to try and get that funding moved over to next year. However, you do have to pay your deposit in order to secure that funding.

Deferrals will be available on a case-by-case basis, because there are so many other components to your applications that can’t be automatically transferred over, such as the language and skills tests, sometimes you have to take that, for students who are in the Translation and Interpretation programs. There are little processes that we have to go through before we can defer those, but generally speaking, we are working with the Finance team to come up with a good solution for our students.

Devin:

Okay, excellent. Then, how difficult would it be for students in the T and I, Translation and Interpretation program, to start their first semester, if courses are moved online? I know that’s kind of a tough question for you, Sadia, since you’re not teaching in that program per se, but would you like to hazard a guess?

Sadia:

What we’re trying to do is we’re working … I mean, the semester previously, I mean over the spring semester, we didn’t have a lot of time to be able to move courses online. However, the faculty have had an excellent opportunity to really understand what the process needs to look like, what the teaching methodology needs to look like, what kind of software and tools that they can use to be able to offer online courses in the T and I program. I believe they’re working very closely with the Dean.

We are also, in terms of our teams, we are in touch with the deans, especially Laura Burian, who’s the Dean of the Translation and Interpretation or Language Education programs. I know that the goal is to be able to offer something that is, in quality, as excellent as what we offer here on-site.

Devin:

Excellent. Sadia, sorry, one more question for you. Can a student defer, even if the Institute decides to open its doors in the fall? Do you have any sense about that?

Sadia:

Yes, definitely. I mean, our goal, like I said, is to make sure that we work with individual students, really addressing their concerns. At the Institute, I’m sure a lot of you have connected with the Admissions team, the International Student office, Financial Aid, whichever department you have worked with. You become part of our MIS community the moment you get admitted into a program, and our goal is to make sure that we come up with a solution that works best for you. That’s why I’m saying we will work with students individually on a case-by-case basis.

We will connect with you. We’ll make sure that this is the best option available for you, given your circumstances. I like to have a conversation before a student defers, just because there are certain components such as scholarships, career options, and things like that, that I would like to be able to discuss with the student before we grant that deferral. However, we will work with you on an individual basis to be able to make sure it’s the best option for you.

Devin:

Excellent. Thanks. Kelly, question for you. How can someone best prepare for the visa process and specifically their visa appointment?

Kelly:

We are encouraging students to submit their documentation as soon as you have it. ISSS will be generating I-20s and DS-2019s. Once that document has been generated, I’ll be sending an email to you with the SEVIS number, and the school code or the program number, which will allow you to start the process of scheduling of these appointments.

We will be waiting until after June 15th to mail out hard copies, because we do need additional guidance as to what will happen in the fall, but you can start the process once you’ve deposited. Once you’ve submitted your documentation, ISSS will start issuing I-20s and DS-2019s in next couple of weeks, and then we’ll be sending out additional information that will allow you to start the visa application process.

Devin:

Great. Kelly, just to clarify, should someone wait until June 15 to apply for the visa, or should they apply now and pay their fee?

Kelly:

Right now, U.S. Embassies and Consulates are not engaged in routine visa processing, so it may be difficult for students to schedule a visa appointment. However, if you’ve submitted the documentation for the I-20 or the DS-2019, which again are documents needed for the visa application interview, if you received an email with your SEVIS number and the school code, then once your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate that is starting to resume normal visa processing, you would be able to schedule a visa appointment.

Devin:

Excellent. Excellent. Then, for some of you, I imagine that you might have very case-specific questions for Kelly. I just want to highlight that Kelly did put in the email address, ISSS@middlebury.edu, into the chat. You can take that down. I’ll do a quick repost in the chat, as well, so you have that available to ask about your individual cases.

Is it possible, and Sadia, this is a question for you. Is it possible for a student to start physically here in the spring, if they can’t get to Monterey for any reason this fall?

Sadia:

It is possible. Let me just clarify that question, Devin. Do they mean that can they delay the start of their program to spring, or if they can continue working remotely on their courses, and then get here for spring?

Devin:

Let’s say delay the start of the program to spring.

Sadia:

If the program has a spring start, then it’s not a problem, but if it doesn’t, then you will have to wait until the next fall. So most of the Translation and Interpretation programs, Translation and Localization Management programs, the International Trade and Diplomacy program, I believe those all have a fall start.

Devin:

Okay. Thanks for that. I should note that, in terms of the … Hopefully you were able to see our Dean give a presentation recently about the possibilities for fall. But of course, we’re trying our level best, to borrow a phrase from Sadia, to make sure that we can have a safe on campus experience, but there are possibilities that that isn’t able to happen because of COVID-19 and the variety of issues that it’s causing.

They’re looking at a variety of different options at that point. Some of those are exploring remote or online learning, or for some of those programs that only provide a fall start, actually looking at them for all the programs. Hopefully we’d be able to find an option to keep people on pace to complete their degree in the same amount of time, even if we have to go to remote learning.

I think a few other questions are coming in. Let’s see, does the Conference Interpretation program start in spring as well, or only in fall? I think you mentioned that Sadia. It’s just a fall start.

Sadia:

It’s just a fall start.

Devin:

Excellent. Then, is it recommended that students who have been admitted pay their deposit now, or should they wait until a June 15th announcement?

Sadia:

I’m leaving it to individual students, but generally speaking, it’s best to be able to deposit as early as you can. Because as Kelly has mentioned, and of course, as in terms of other departments, once you pay your deposit, then you do get access to a lot more resources. You get connected with the International Student office. You also secure your spot in the program, especially for some of the more competitive programs, that we do have wait-lists in those programs, and you should deposit so that you can secure your spot in that program.

But other than that, I mean, it’s up to you. We have no problem if you decide to wait, as well, and we will let you make that decision on your own. However, please do note that for students who want access to different departments, and different resources on campus, and things like that, then it is ideal that they deposit as soon as they can.

Devin:

Great. Sadia, can you talk a little bit more about how the deposit works? Sometimes there’s … typically it’s a nonrefundable deposit, but does that deposit go towards a student’s tuition? How does that work if a student ends up not being able to attend this year, but attend in a future year?

Sadia:

In terms of the deposit, generally, the deposits are nonrefundable unless somebody has their visa get denied. Then we are able to refund the deposit, or what we can do is the deposit, obviously, it goes towards your tuition. We can keep it on your file, and then if you apply for the visa, in the second round, and you’re able to come in a different semester, we will apply to that particular semester.

This year because of the Covid situation, we are going to be allowing students to have the option for deferring. We will keep, the deposit on your file again, and it will just get transferred over to your next semester. It always gets applied to tuition directly. Yeah, so you don’t really lose the money. It gets applied towards your tuition.

Devin:

Great. That’s very, very helpful. Then Kelly, just a question for you. Do you have general advice for students that are considering this fall about where to look for information to keep abreast of any policy changes, et cetera?

Kelly:

ISSS will be in touch. I mean, as soon as we know what’s going to happen for fall, we’ll be sending out emails to all students that have deposited and/or have I-20s or DS-2019s issued, to explain how the fall semester decision may or may not impact the I-20 or DS-2019. I would encourage you to check the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for information about when visa appointments may resume. You can do that at u s embassy dot G-O-V. There’s also the travel.state.gov website, which has a lot of the proclamations. It talks about the travel restrictions, so that’s also a good website to take a look at. Of course, you can always email ISSS@middlebury.edu.

Devin:

Great. Thank you so much, Kelly. It looks like we’re close to wrapping up, as questions have slowed down a little bit. One quick one before we do that, from Wendy: “If we are awarded with scholarships, will it be automatically applied to our tuition?” Or how does scholarships work in general, Sadia?

Sadia:

Yes, scholarships basically get applied towards your tuition, and then you are billed the remainder. Let’s say your bill is $20,000. $10,000 of it is covered by scholarship. You will be built $10,000. Automatically, that gets applied first, and then whatever’s remaining is what you are required to pay.

Devin:

Excellent. Thank you so much. Vincent, it looks like there’s a question on programs, and we can send you some links to programs related to International Policy and Development, and Trade and Economic Diplomacy, which those you might be referring to there. Happy to get you that information. All right. Any closing thoughts from the panelists before we say goodbye?

Sadia:

I mean, I would just like to add, I mean, one of the advantages of applying to Middlebury is the fact that all of us are available to help you, assist you, guide you. We are an excellent resource to be able to navigate this very complex, very difficult time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us.

The reason we’re doing these sessions is, again, to be able to connect with you directly, so you know who you’re emailing with. Who are you connecting with? Because sometimes it’s very difficult for us to be able to set up a face-to-face appointment. Email is the general way that people communicate these days, but I prefer to be able to connect with each and individual student, just to be able to understand what your concerns are. If we are able to assist in any way, please don’t ever hesitate to connect with us. We are more than happy to help.

Devin:

All right, one last question. Sadia, are there full scholarships?

Sadia:

I wish there were, but we don’t have full scholarships available. It is because of … We have a limited amount of funding. We try and spread it out as much as we can, so that we can help as many students as we can to attend this particular program. We are a smaller school, so we don’t have obviously the same kind of resources as some of those bigger schools do, or some of the big state schools who have a huge undergraduate population that can subsidize some of the education for graduate programs. But as I said, we try, and especially this year, we’ve been trying to be very, very competitive with scholarships. Unfortunately, we don’t have those full scholarships available for most of our students.

Devin:

Yeah. Well, thanks for that answer, and though there aren’t full scholarships, I glance at scholarships awarded often, and have seen a lot of generous ones this year. Sadia, thanks for opening the bank account, or purse strings, a little bit, and awarding as best you can.

Well, thank you to the panelists, and thank you so much to the audience this morning. Really appreciate you taking the time to join us. Keep in mind that we are hosting a few more of these events later on, and I can post that link in the chat. Especially next week, I think, is a very interesting one from the student services team, and they can just talk about student life, health, wellness, and of course housing. Then the following week will be a lot on careers and internships. Be sure to tune in for those events, as well. Otherwise, I hope everyone has a great remainder of their week. Thanks again for joining.