DHS Proposed Guidance for Online Study Requirements


Kindly advise your international students to NOT enroll in many online courses for the Fall 2020 semester. Note that graduate online courses are designated by a “6” as the last digit in the course number, while undergraduate online courses are designated by a “3” as the last digit in the course number.

It is recommended that international students enroll in face-to-face courses (including courses delivered using the Blended or HyFlex modalities).

Thanks, Henry

Dear Colleagues:

As most of you are probably aware, on 7/6/2020, the Department of Homeland Security released proposed guidance regarding online study requirements for Fall 2020 coursework. The full text of the proposed guidance document can be found at https://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/bcm2007-01.pdf.

The proposed policy changes described in this guidance have caused great concern to many of you and to your international students.  However, while Auburn University is still querying the government for clarification and the proposed guidelines may be modified before they are finalized, our plans for the upcoming school year will allow our students to meet the requirements of these proposed policy changes and to continue their studies without interruption.

In order to satisfy the proposed guidelines, we recommend that international graduate students enroll in face-to-face courses whenever possible. Normally, international graduate students will need a minimum of nine (9) credit hours per semester. While the new guidelines provide some flexibility, international graduate students may not enroll in only online courses for the Fall 2020 semester. As you know, online courses are designated by a “6” as the last digit in their course number (for example, EATN 6006 is online while EATN 6000 is not an online course). If international students do enroll in only online courses, they will be out of compliance with the proposed guidelines and the US government will expect them to leave the United States.

The Graduate School is happy to provide advice and assistance as you are advising your students regarding their Fall courses. The Graduate School advisors are available to assist (Sherry Ray – raysher@auburn.edu, Ibrahim Kareem – ILK0001@auburn.edu, or Mackenzi Griggers – mrg0014@auburn.edu, or call 334-844-4700 and ask for a matriculation advisor).

As always, I am also happy to assist you directly if you have any questions or concerns, or if I can assist you in any way (flowegt@auburn.edu, 334-844-4375). 

Best regards,


George Flowers
Dean of the Graduate School
202C Hargis Hall