Contributor: Ashley Johnson
Years in the field: 7
Topic: Severe Economic Hardship Employment Authorization
A student came in for walk-ins to discuss the financial hardship her family recently experienced. While her family was able to support her education in the US in the past, unforeseen circumstances have changed their level of support.
We discussed employment regulations for F-1 students and on-campus employment. She has an on-campus position of 13 hours, but we suggested she ask her supervisor if they could increase her hours to 20.
Because her financial status was severe, she requested to apply for Severe Economic Hardship employment authorization. Detailed information regarding this process can be found in the NAFSA Adviser’s Manual 360 in Chapter 3.I.3. Regulations for this option can be found in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(ii).
We assisted with the following process:
The student is currently waiting for adjudication from USCIS.
Setting policies and procedures for cases that do not come across your desk often will help with advising students confidently. Finding on-campus solutions can help students while the application is being adjudicated. Ensure the student you are here to assist, but the adjudication of the application will be completed by USCIS and not the ISSS office.
You can be an advocate for your students and for international education today:
Is financing Study Abroad an issue for your students? U.S. Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) reintroduced the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program Act in Congress in late September. This bipartisan bill will expand study abroad opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students. It has been a long-time priority for NAFSA, and is now supported by a growing number of organizations. You can help build support for this bill by contacting your senator today.
Contributor: Chase Harvey
Affiliation: Georgia Institute of Technology
Topic: EAD card errors and Potomac Service Center
As many of you already know, USCIS has been failing to update SEVIS with application status and actual OPT approval dates. In some cases students have been approved for OPT for weeks but their SEVIS record is never updated. This presents a variety of issues for both students and their DSOs. To resolve this, DSOs needed to submit a correction request through SEVIS RTI in order to amend the application status and dates. After working on one such case, I received a survey from USCIS asking for my feedback on the correction request process.
In the survey I went into detail regarding USCIS’s failure to process EADs properly and the ramifications for students and DSOs. I just received a helpful call back from the Ombudsman’s office regarding the feedback I gave in the survey. Noteworthy points below:
1.SEVP is working with USCIS to resolve these issues
2.The Potomac Service Center has had a large number of errors with processing EADs and similarly has been failing to update SEVIS properly with approvals and dates
3.In December, SEVP is hoping to release a feature to allow the direct upload of EADs into SEVIS at the time of submitting a correction request
a.This may reduce the volume of follow up documentation requests and response time
4.Students and DSOs may not have to send EAD cards back to USCIS for correction
In the meantime, be sure to review the link here for information regarding Potomac Service Center errors. Completing surveys does help! Make sure to give feedback when the opportunity arises.
Contributor: Erin Podvin
Affiliation: Hispanic Scholarship Foundation
Topic: Resources for domestic and international students
Hispanic students are one of the largest growing student populations in colleges today; many Higher Ed. Institutions throughout Georgia have seen a growth in their Hispanic student populations of over 200% in the last 10 years. While this growth and diversification of students is encouraging, many Latino/Latina students face numerous hurdles that prevent them from being able to Study Abroad or even attending College in the first place.
An amazing resource that these students and their advisors can take advantage of is the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. This organization provides support services and funding for US citizens, permanent residents, DACA students, and documented refugee and asylum students. Often times, students are unaware that they can use their funds to study abroad during the fall or spring terms, however HSF has provided this opportunity to students who have then gone on to work in esteemed places such the Department of State because of their impactful experiences.
For those advisors that work with international students, HSF has compiled a helpful resource page on scholarships: many of which international students are eligible to apply for. This link has now been added to the Advocacy drop down menu and is titled: “Scholarship Resource List”
In addition, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund can be found on Facebook where they daily post opportunities for students to find a mentor, read other student’s success stories, events, and new scholarship opportunities.
The Georgia contact for HSF is Erin Podvin who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Challenging International Case
Contributor: Jennifer Beasley
Affiliation: University of Georgia
Years in the field: 13
Topic: Challenging International Case
F-1 student entered 3 weeks prior to program start date and she was correctly stamped in her passport as F-1 D/S. After being in the US for one week, the student decided to take a trip to Niagara Falls before classes began. During this small side trip, she crossed into Canada for a few hours. Upon reentering the US and presenting her I-20, her visa was incorrectly stamped as B-1 with a very short expiration date. The B-1 was also noted on the students I-94 record.
The advisor emailed the Deferred Inspection Office regarding this error and provided the students previous entry stamp, visa, passport, and I-20. We requested that the students record be corrected to show the F-1 status, not the B-1 status from a previous visit. The students record was corrected within a week by the Deferred Inspection Office.
This blog is to serve as a resource for those new in the International Education field and for those looking for support from likeminded professionals