A special message College of Music international students

The following message from Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research David Rayl was sent via e-mail to all undergraduate and graduate Music students following the federal government's announcement on Monday, July 6 regarding the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). This is a developing situation, and the college is committed to supporting our international students in any way possible.

Dear International Students,

I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to all international students in the College of Music to provide what I hope will be some positive and helpful information. 

As you probably know, on Monday, July 6, the federal government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced a series of rules regarding international students and “online” courses. These rules have serious consequences for international students enrolled in 100% online courses. Please click on this very helpful message from the director of OISS for an overview of the situation as we currently understand it. It should answer many of your questions.  

I want you to know that ALL of the College of Music’s courses for undergraduate and graduate music majors listed on the Schedule of Courses are either in-person or listed as “hybrid” (a combination of online, in-person or live interactive broadcast online).  NONE of our courses for music majors are coded as “online only.” These “hybrid” courses are designed so that all of the instruction is delivered virtually but, at least some of the instruction is delivered in “real time” with “live interaction” (via Zoom) between instructor and students. Hybrid coursework, even a 100% hybrid schedule, is allowed by these rules. Please check your schedule to see which of your classes are listed as “hybrid.” If there is no listing, the current plan is that they will be taught “in person.”

  • For those of you still in the U.S. there should be no problem with returning to campus, taking these classes, and maintaining your visa status.
  • For those returning students who are outside the U.S. but planning to return to East Lansing, I would recommend that you have a screenshot of your courses that clearly lists them as “hybrid.” You might also have the link to the MSU Schedule of Courses available so that you can show an immigration officer that your courses are listed as “hybrid” there as well. This should prevent any problem at the U.S. border.
  • For new students who are unable to enter the U.S. because you cannot get a visa interview and for those returning students who either cannot return to the U.S. because of travel restrictions or who choose not to return, the situation is still uncertain. Our intention was that you would take lessons and “hybrid” classes from your home country. However, at this point, OISS cannot say with certainty that that will be possible. Please know that we will do everything we can to ensure that you are allowed to begin or continue your education at MSU. Solving that challenge may take some time, so please be patient.
  • For ALL international students, MSU will now be required to reissue a revised I-20 in order to satisfy these new SEVP rules. OISS is currently working on a plan to do this. They ask that you not contact them until they have developed this plan.

I hope this relieves some of the stress that you may have been feeling. If you have ANY questions or concerns at any time that haven’t been addressed by this email or the memo from OISS, please reach out to me or Susan Hoekstra or Anne Simon. We will do our best to answer your questions. If we don’t have the answer, we will try to get it for you.

We regret that these recent actions by the federal government have created so much stress and anxiety for you. Please know that we value you and the contributions you will make to the College of Music and to Michigan State University in the coming year. We look forward to welcoming you back to campus in late August.

David Rayl
Director of Choral Programs
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research
Michigan State University

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