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For information related to the COVID-19 outbreak, visit: grad.illinois.edu/covid-19-updates.

TIGS Funding FAQ

1. Can an international graduate student matriculating in a graduate program who is unable to arrive on campus for the Fall 2020 term hold an assistantship or fellowship appointment?

Yes, with the exception of students from countries that are under comprehensive embargoes (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, the Crimea region of Ukraine, Venezuela) or who are unable to perform their appointment duties due to export controls or otherwise. At the discretion of the program, and subject to the above exceptions, an international student who has not received a visa because of the closure of US consulates, or who has a visa stamp but is unable to arrive on campus because of ongoing travel restrictions or other reasons associated with the pandemic, may be appointed as a graduate assistant or a fellow so they can begin their studies and work remotely. Alternatively, the program may defer their admission to the Spring 2021 or Fall 2021 semester.

2. What is the last date to appoint an international graduate assistant as a graduate assistant or fellow for fall term 2020?

International students who will work remotely should be appointed as graduate assistants or fellows prior to the standard August 16 start date. However, if need be, students can be appointed as late as September 18 and still comply with the 91-day rule to receive the corresponding tuition waiver.

3. Can an international graduate student who is working remotely relocate to campus during the fall term if the student obtains a visa and is able to travel?

Yes. The program should contact the Graduate College and ISSS if an international graduate student who is enrolled and studying and working remotely from their home country is able to obtain a visa and travel to campus after the start of the term. A revised I- 20 or DS-2019 start date is required for the student to present at the U.S. port of entry along with the passport and visa. Programs should be prepared to provide late-arriving students with the advising and support they will need for a transition to campus at mid-semester. Students will need to meet all registration requirements necessary to maintain their visa status.

4. Can an international graduate student matriculating in a graduate program who is unable to arrive on campus for the Fall 2020 term be given a stand-alone tuition waiver?

Yes, academic colleges have the authority to grant a stand-alone tuition waiver to an international graduate student who is studying remotely.

5. Are there any immigration regulations to take into consideration for remote appointments or fellowship awards?

An international student who does not yet have a visa because of the extended closure of US consulates may be eligible to work remotely as a graduate assistant. Unless federal immigration policy changes, international graduate student taking classes online and/or working remotely during Fall 2020 will not be considered as “active F-1 or J-1 students” in terms of immigration and will not accrue time during this period that can be used to be eligible for applying for Curricular/Optional Practical Training.

6. What should be done if an international doctoral student who matriculates in the fall with an assistantship or fellowship is denied a visa when the US consulates reopen?

If a visa application is refused, the Graduate College will work with the program to appropriately transition the student from the graduate program. If a student accepts a remote enrollment offer and their visa application is subsequently refused, the student will be unable to continue in the program. Payments that have been made to the student cannot be reclaimed.

7. Do international graduate students matriculating in Fall 2020 who are unable to arrive on campus need to attend campus and graduate program orientations?

Yes, all graduate students are required to participate in online versions of the appropriate campus and program new student and new employee orientation sessions.

8. How will international graduate assistant and/or fellows be paid for the work that they perform remotely?

Under federal law, wages must be paid within 30 days of being earned and payment cannot be deferred until the student arrives on campus. However, making a fellowship payment in a single lump-sum or holding fellowships until the student arrives on campus is allowable. The university is currently exploring with external vendors options to allow students to provide their international banking information to facilitate payments, additional information will follow in the near future.