SJSU’s Response to Student and Exchange Visitor Program Modifications

Editor’s Note: The following message was sent to the SJSU campus community on July 7, 2020.

Dear campus community,

The recent development from the Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) regarding the status of international students is troubling. The COVID-19 pandemic has already put added pressure on all students, with many international students having to navigate the uncertainty several thousand miles away from their homes and families. We know the recent changes to SEVP produces additional stress and uncertainty that has rippled across our campus community, affecting international students who are part of our Spartan family. I share in the great concern of our faculty, staff and student peers who care deeply about our international students. 

SJSU will continue to search for and implement solutions that meet this new criteria presented by SEVP. Our International Student and Scholar Services Office in the College of Professional and Global Education is among the many campus departments that are gathering information on the new guidelines and connecting with our international students to assist them with questions and concerns. 

It is particularly crucial to remind the campus community that SJSU is implementing a hybrid course offering (in-person and online) in the fall as we adhere to public health guidelines that will keep our campus community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our university housing will operate around 50 percent capacity and several campus services will be open for students, faculty and staff who will be on campus. International students and their pursuit of a higher education degree should not be hampered by the circumstances caused by COVID-19, especially when there are opportunities for student life available on campus in the fall. 

I firmly believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue a degree in higher education, and given that we are all members of the San José State University community, I know this is a shared belief that unites us. As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, the bonds created and shared while on campus and online with classmates, colleagues and friends are as important as those we make virtually. 


Mary A. Papazian