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UF International Students must take at least one on-campus class or face possible deportation

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Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 7:36 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - It’s always been a federal mandate that international students have to physically attend at least one class on their schedule to stay in the country but it was changed in the spring because of the pandemic.

UF’s Dean of the International Center Leonardo Villalon explained, “Students who were already in the United States, who were already here could continue to study in whatever format universities offered courses. Now the requirements are that students will have to have at least one course that requires physical presence.

There are 5000 international students who attend UF that this change will affect directly. Villalon says he is confident they can find a way to adjust coursework so every international student can keep their student visa and stay in the country.

This means classes set to be only online will now need to offer a few sections with an in-person component.

“What we’re generally trying to do is within their degree programs we offer a section that offers that component. Classes can be taught multiple times in multiple formats so we’ll ensure that at least one section for the class in which international students can enroll will meet the necessary minimum.” Villalon said.

Villalon says they’ve been flooded with calls from students concerned about deportation since the news broke on Monday, and while it’s true deportation is a possibility at UF they’re doing everything they can to make sure it won’t be a reality. “We want people to know and there’s a lot of headlines saying students may be forced to leave the United States. They may have to leave if we don’t meet the requirements but we’re working hard to make sure they do meet the requirements here at UF.”

International students will be given priority when signing up for the class sections with an in-person component because due to social distancing they must be careful with how many students can be in a room at once.

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