Message to Students on July 6th

Greetings Everyone,

I hope this finds you healthy and safe along with your families.

As you know, a lot of chaos and confusion has taken place since the July 6th announcement from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), a division within the Department of Homeland Security.   I have attached that announcement to this email.  If you have not reviewed it, I ask that you do so, and share this information with you parents and guardians.  It is important that this be a family discussion when considering the decisions that will be made in the very near future. 

The following information contains information about the guidance.  Keep in mind, this is in effect today, but information may change in the future.  

What does this all mean?  How does it impact me?  These are just two of many questions I have received most recently.

As you know, UP intends to operate this fall semester in-person.  Additionally, as of a few weeks ago, permission has been given for students to also engage in remote learning if they are unable to return to Portland.  In-person, hybrid courses, and online courses now have specific meanings in this ICE announcement.  Please read the following information carefully. 

Known Factors

  • Students engaged in OPT, STEM OPT, or Cap-Gap employment authorization are not impacted by this announcement.
  • UP will operate using in-person instructions, though you may find yourself doing coursework from home some days a week and in-person other days.  This means you are bound by existing federal regulations. Eligible F-1 students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online per semester.
  • Students must maintain full-time enrollment and make normal academic progress in their academic programs unless approved for RCL.
  • International students who remain in their home country, UP cannot leave your F-1 status open, meaning, I would need to close your F-1 record in SEVIS. Upon return to the U.S. a new, initial I-20 will be issued, the required I-901 SEVIS fee would need to be paid again, and the F-1 status clock would begin anew. 
      • Though remote learning has been approved by the Provost office, keep in mind that your SEVIS record cannot remain active during the fall semester if you remain outside the country.    
  • If UP moves to remote operations during the fall semester, international students are required to depart the U.S. under this current SEVP guidance. 
  • Within the SEVP guidance, note that International Student Services must update the I-20s of all of our international students with a note confirming UP’s enrollment options. These I-20s will be provided electronically or through mail to you.  Specific instructions are forthcoming regarding the procedures that we will use to collect the required information and update your I-20s. Please act quickly on this email once you receive it.

Unknown Factors

  • For some undergraduate and graduate students, there are opportunities to take more than one online course per semester.  Though UP has not used the term ‘hybrid’, this model does exist.  I’ll be asking for clarification from the Provost office and the Deans regarding language that I am required to submit to ICE for fall semester plans.  The ‘Hybrid’ may be necessary for some of you.
  • If your SEVIS record is closed for the fall 2020 semester, how will this break in your F-1 status affect future eligibility for employment authorization such as CPT or OPT? As a reminder, to be eligible for OPT and most CPT situations, one academic year must pass before approval can be determined for off campus employment.   
  • Will the exception to the 5-month rule regarding time spent outside the U.S. be available for students, which includes fall semester?  I am keeping in mind that some of you could possibly be outside the U.S. for more than 10 months.

We know many of you cannot leave your home countries right now for various reasons.  We also realize that some of you cannot even leave your home state, province, or region.  We are hoping changes happen soon.  We are trying to get ICE to change its (mis)direction regarding this guidance.  This guidance is something I do not agree with and is counterproductive and restrictive.  Harvard University and MIT have filed a complaint in the District Court of Massachusetts so I am hoping for some traction there.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.  Know that we care deeply about you and will be fighting, advocating, and arguing on your behalf with ICE, our congressional representatives, and other powers that be to bring reason and commonsense into this situation. 

Once I learn more information I’ll reach out to you immediately. 

Thinking positive thoughts,


Michael Pelley

Director of International Student Services