International Students

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-July 7, 2020-

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Yesterday, the United States government released significant changes to the eligibility requirements of international students living and studying at American schools. These changes follow adjustments that the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) implemented earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In short, most international students were allowed to convert to online coursework for the spring and summer while remaining in the United States; now, for the fall semester, international students will only be permitted to live here and enroll in online coursework if their program of study also includes in-person academic requirements – a hybrid model of online and in-person education.

The MGH Institute’s programs have been responding to the ongoing pandemic in ways that meet the SEVP criteria for hybrid education this fall. Because the Institute plans for online didactic courses and a mix of clinical education components (such as skill-building, simulation, clinical placements) on campus and at our various clinical partner sites, international students are eligible to apply for visas, live in greater Boston, and study at the MGH Institute this fall. That is, new and continuing international students will have the same hybrid schedule of online coursework and in-person clinical training as all IHP students.

All international students are asked to monitor their IHP emails and continue to access the resources available to them, both from the Institute and from the U.S. government. Two of the Institute’s international advisors, Jillian Sheehan and Jessica Upton, are in the process of personally connecting with every international applicant, student, and recent alum to ensure that this message is clear: your programs will be hybrid this fall, the restriction does not apply to you, and we are excited to welcome you and continue to support your education.

Please join me in reaffirming the Institute’s support for international education in general and for our international students in particular. These students make up a very special part of our school community. They enrich our experiences and add global perspectives to our collective discussions of health inequities and potential innovations for the future of care. While we are fortunate to have a hybrid model, thousands of international students across the United States will face difficult decisions as a result of SEVP’s decision this week. Now more than ever, the Institute’s Core Values compel us to inclusively embrace future health care leaders of all backgrounds. The vital teaching and learning that happens every day, both virtually and in person, should not be limited by borders. As we continue to respond to the ongoing pandemic, let this remind us that the struggles and the solutions yet to be found know no borders.

The Institute serves international students with advising and resources from three offices: Enrollment Services, Student and Alumni Services, and Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Our work to ensure that everyone is safe, welcome, and supported is bolstered by all of you, our faculty, staff, and students across the Institute, who interact with international students on a daily basis. If you have questions about how to support international students at this time, please contact me or staff in any of these offices. Thank you for your attention.

Warm regards, and best wishes to all international students, applicants, and alumni!

Jack Gormley, EdD
Dean of Student and Alumni Services
Principal Designated School Official (PDSO) for International Students

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