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FAQ - Finances and Student Services

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Finances, Refunds, and Financial Aid

International Students

International Students - Travel and Immigration

International Students - Enrollment Matters

International Students - Jobs, Internships, CPT, and OPT

Veterans

Fall 2020

Fall 2020 - Financial Aid/Student Fees

Fall 2020 - Student Jobs and Internships


Finances, Refunds, and Financial Aid

Should I expect changes in my financial aid if I will be studying online only?

Changes in the mode of instruction, whether online or in person, does not change a student’s financial aid eligibility.

Will my financial aid be impacted if I don’t return this fall for family or personal reasons but plan to return in the spring?

Students should work with their academic advisor and the registrar’s office to request a leave of absence. Students on an approved leave of absence will maintain their spring aid eligibility. Please contact your financial aid counselor for detailed information regarding the potential impact that a leave of absence may have on repayment of federal loans.

What’s the best way to find out about the status of my financial aid?

Please refer to the MYAU student portal at myau.american.edu for information regarding your financial aid status.

How can I find information about graduate financial aid?

For questions regarding your graduate merit award or fellowship, please contact your school administrator. For graduate federal financial aid inquiries please contact the Financial Aid Office at financialaid@american.edu.

What is the status of my Federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) application?

Please visit the Financial Aid section of our website for information and updates.

International Students

International Students - Travel and Immigration

The US State Department suspended non-immigrant visa services in all countries. How will this affect me?

Unless students’ visas will have expired by the time they are ready to return, there will not be any adverse impact of the recent visa suspension. Please refer to usembassy.gov for more information on embassies’ operating status.

Can I stay in the United States with an expired F-1/J-1 visa?

Yes. International students can stay in the United States with an expired F-1/J-1 visa if their passport and I-20/DS-2019 have not expired.

As an incoming or current international student, could I pursue my education from abroad in fall 2020 semester or must come to the U.S.?

Please consult with your academic advisor to understand if you have an option of enrolling in fully online classes and stay abroad in fall 2020 semester. If you choose to enter the U.S. please note that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guidance, which was announced on July 6, 2020 requires F-1 students to enroll in mostly in-person classes while they are in the U.S. Your enrollment in online classes while in the U.S. is very limited. Please consult for your enrollment options with your academic unit prior to making travel plans.

U.S. has travel restrictions for my country. Could I enter the U.S. through a third country?

At the moment there are travel restrictions for certain countries. You may be able to stay in a third country that is not on the list for travel restrictions prior to trying to enter the U.S. Please check to make sure you understand the requirements and other restrictions about the country of your choice for this purpose before leaving your home country.

For travel inquiries and up-to-date information on travel restrictions bans, please visit the US Department of State's COVID-19 Country Specific Information page and CDC's country-specific health information and travel recommendations by country.

As an international student, will I be required to quarantine upon entry to the U.S.?

The university continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and follow guidance from global, national and local health and government officials, including travel advisories and requirements. For travel inquiries and up-to-date information on travel bans, please visit the US Department of State's COVID-19 Country Specific Information page.

If I have a valid visa, may I go back to my home country this summer and return to the U.S. by August 24 for the beginning of fall semester?

At the moment there are travel restrictions for certain countries. Students should make thoughtful decisions about leaving the U.S. For travel inquiries and up-to-date information on travel restrictions bans, please visit the US Department of State's COVID-19 Country Specific Information page and CDC's country-specific health information and travel recommendations by country.

Could I return to the U.S. with the unexpired student visa in my passports?

According to the U.S. Department of State (DHS), students returning to the U.S. to resume their studies after an authorized temporary absence will not need to renew their visa, if the visa is still valid. U.S. Department of State (DOS) policy is that a student does not need to apply for a new F-1 visa if the student’s current visa is still valid, regardless of length of time outside the U.S. Please also note that a valid visa does not guarantee entrance into the U.S. Also, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at the U.S. port of entry ultimately make the decision to admit people into the country, not DOS.

The U.S. Department of State suspended non-immigrant visa services in all countries. How will this affect me?

Unless your visa has expired by the time you are ready to return, there will not be any adverse impact of the recent visa suspension on you. Please refer to usembassy.gov for more information on embassies’ operating status.

How does the recent Presidential Proclamation suspending Chinese students and scholars’ entry to the U.S. affect me?

The recent proclamation does not affect undergraduate students. Suspension applies to only graduate students and in fields involving information that would contribute to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) “military-civil fusion strategy. Students pursuing undergraduate study and other individuals "studying or conducting research in a field involving information that would not contribute to the PRC’s military‑civil fusion strategy, (as determined by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the appropriate executive departments and agencies) are exempted. 

How it will impact graduate students and scholars are yet to be seen. You may read the proclamation here proclamation for more information.

If I am abroad and unable to enter the U.S. due to visa issues, what are my options for pursuing my education at AU in the fall semester?

In the fall, AU will offer a blend of in-person and online classes. Currently enrolled F-1 and J-1 students should contact their academic advisor to discuss options for maintaining enrollment from abroad. DHS fall guidance, which was announced on July 6, 2020 requires F-1 students in the U.S. to enroll for in-person classes, unless they are required to take online classes to maintain full time enrollment. This requirement will have to be certified by academic units and new I-20 must be issued with remarks for student to stay in active SEVIS status. If students are not in the U.S., regardless of their enrollment in online classes, their immigration record will be closed.

Can I stay in the United States with an expired F-1/J-1 visa?

Yes. International students can stay in the United States with an expired F-1/J-1 visa if their passport and I-20/DS-2019 have not expired.

If I am abroad and unable to enter the U.S. due to visa issues, what are my options for pursuing my education at AU in the fall semester?

In the fall, AU will offer a blend of in-person and online classes. Currently enrolled F-1 and J-1 students should contact their academic advisor to discuss the academic implications and options given the format for instruction. Students will hear about immigration implications of academic options from ISSS as soon as DHS provides fall guidance to institutions.

What if I am unable to make it on time for the beginning of the semester due to limited airlines? Will AU allow me to enter late?

Please consult with your academic advisor to understand your academic options.

International Students - Enrollment Matters

I am outside the U.S. and there is a significant time difference between my location and AU. Will my classes only be available during the regularly scheduled time or will there be other options?

Synchronous online coursework requires students to meet online during specified times. Asynchronous online coursework can be completed anytime within a set period as opposed to at a set class time, allowing flexibility for students in different time zones and environments. Once your faculty instructors have provided information about how your class will be conducted, please follow up with them directly to discuss specific questions about time and schedules.

I am a student in a country that doesn’t support Google and Blackboard. Is there another way for me to access online resources through AU?

Students in countries where Google and Blackboard are not supported can use the AU Virtual Private Network (VPN). We have added user licenses to expand our VPN capacity. Students can either go to help.american.edu and search “VPN” or enroll your mobile device with the Duo two-factor authentication app. See the How to Enroll in 2-Factor Authentication video on YouTube; then access the VPN following the steps for your device.

Will international students with full time enrollment in face-to-face classes be allowed to take more than one online class, since immigration regulations normally limit the amount of online instruction?

DHS fall guidance, which was announced on July 6, 2020 requires F-1 students in the U.S. to enroll for in-person classes, unless they are required to take online classes to maintain full time enrollment. This requirement will have to be certified by academic units and new I-20 must be issued with remarks for student to stay in active SEVIS status while in the U.S.

How does retroactive withdrawal affect international students?

International students should not withdraw from classes retroactively as this action will cause loss of immigration status from the beginning of the past semester. This loss of immigration status will have multiple implications for their futures.

How can I maintain my immigration status in fall 2020 if I do not have full course of study left in my last semester?

If fall is your final semester and you have only partial credits left to complete the program, please make sure to also submit reduced course load (RCL) authorization request to ISSS.

Under the circumstances we wanted to make it easier for you and created an E-form for this purpose. To submit the RCL e-Form, please to login to https://ieagle.american.edu, click Current Student, and click Reduced Course Load (RCL). If you are an Accelerator student, you have to enroll in full course of study.

As a current F-1 or J-1 student, will I be able to take online classes in fall 2020 semester while inside or outside the U.S?

We are awaiting further DHS guidance for fall 2020. ISSS will advise you and update this section as soon as the DHS guidance becomes available to institutions.

Will I have the option of taking more than one online class as part of my full-time enrollment requirement as an international student?

We are awaiting the DHS fall semester guidance. As soon as it is published, International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) will notify you for your options immediately.

How can I maintain my immigration status in fall 2020 if I do not have full course of study left in my last semester?

If fall is your final semester and you have only partial credits left to complete the program, please make sure to also submit reduced course load (RCL) authorization request to ISSS. Under the circumstances we wanted to make it easier for you and created an E-form for this purpose. To submit the RCL e-Form, please to login to https://ieagle.american.edu, click Current Student, and click Reduced Course Load (RCL). If you are an Accelerator student, you have to enroll in full course of study.

If I cannot enter the U.S on time for fall 2020 classes, what are my enrollment options as a current or incoming student?

Incoming F-1 and J-1 students should contact their academic advisor to discuss academic options.

If I decide to take the fall semester off as a current student, what are my options?

Please consult with your academic advisor for advice. Current students should also contact ISSS at isss@american.edu to discuss the immigration implications of academic options before finalizing their academic decision.

Do I need to maintain full time enrollment while pursuing online education outside the US?

As a current F-1 student, if you choose to pursue fully online education from abroad in fall 2020, your immigration status will be terminated. Please consult with your academic unit for enrollment options.

If you are a newly admitted incoming student and choose to stay abroad for fall 2020 semester, we will cancel your immigration document. Please consult with your academic unit for enrollment options.

If I decide to remain at home for the fall, do I have the option to take courses at a university at home and would my credits transfer to AU?

The office of AU Abroad is exploring options for overseas enrollment. We will update you as soon as we know more. For now, please contact your academic advisor for advice.

I am facing financial challenges and seeking assistance from the university for the fall. Are there any scholarships for international students?

AU offers scholarships at the time of admissions and notifies students with the admission decision. You may find more information and sources of external funding opportunities on ISSS' scholarships page.

International Students - Jobs, Internships, CPT, and OPT

Can I do remote/telework inside or outside the U.S. to fulfil my internship requirements for credit internships?

If you are in the U.S. and enrolled for in person classes, unless you have required online class enrollment to maintain full time status, we will keep your immigration status active. If you are otherwise eligible for internships, you may request internship authorization from ISSS.

If I am authorized for practical training; internship (CPT) or optional practical training (OPT) for fall 2020, can I work virtually to fulfil my employment requirement?

There is no specific clause in DHS fall guidance preventing F-1 students in active SEVIS status from continuing in their CPT or OPT.

As a current student, do I need CPT authorization if I do an internship outside the U.S.?

If you are a current student in active SEVIS status in the U.S. and meet the enrollment requirements identified by DHS fall guidance, you can pursue CPT authorization for an internship outside the U.S. CPT is needed as long as you are physically in the U.S.

I am an international student with authorized off-campus employment for an internship or practical training. Is there any guidance from Department of Homeland Security for situations like this?

Students with authorized practical training off campus are encouraged to consult with their employer to seek alternative ways to maintain employment, such as teleworking or other arrangements.

As a current student, do I need CPT authorization if I do an internship outside the US?

If you are a current student in active SEVIS status in the U.S. and meet the enrollment requirements identified by DHS fall guidance, you can pursue CPT authorization for an internship outside the U.S. CPT is needed as long as you are physically in the U.S.

If I am graduating in August or December 2020, could I apply for post-completion optional practical training (OPT) from outside of the US?

Current federal regulations affecting F-1 students do not allow for OPT applications from outside of the US. ISSS will provide an update if DHS introduces any flexibility to these regulations.

How will ISSS assist international students who are graduating and are currently in the US with optional practical training (OPT) applications?

ISSS has made OPT workshops and intake process fully online. Academic Advisors will be able to verify program completion through an E-form initiated by students. For more information please, visit ISSS's OPT page.

I applied for Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) based on my spring graduation. What happens if I cannot finish my degree requirements on time?

Students are encouraged to work with their faculty and academic department for options to finalize their academic work on time.

Veterans

I am currently using VA education benefits. How will AU’s plan for the fall semester impact my VA education benefits eligibility?

We have posted updated guidance from Veteran Affairs on our Veteran Services Office page, and we’ll continue to update any additional guidance on our site. You can also contact us directly at veterans@american.edu

Fall 2020

Fall 2020 - Financial Aid/Student Fees

My family is facing financial challenges due to COVID-19. Are more opportunities for financial aid available?

We understand that COVID-19 has negatively impacted families during this challenging and unprecedented time. Students who have incurred financial changes due to family circumstances are encouraged to contact their designated financial aid counselor to discuss individual circumstances and explore eligibility options for aid.

Will I be able to keep my financial aid if I take courses online?

Yes. All credit-bearing courses, regardless of modality, are eligible for federal and university financial aid. However, if you have other scholarships or aid, we ask that you check with the provider.

Which fees will continue to be mandatory?

These charges remain as nonrefundable, as AU will deliver classes for the fall 2020 term through a blend of face‐to‐face and online instruction, integrating live (synchronous) class sessions and face‐to‐face opportunities with asynchronous content.

  • Tuition
  • Health Insurance Fee (Students have the option to waive health insurance.)
  • Technology Fee
  • MetroUPass (Students who are residing outside of the WMATA regional service area may request to have the fee removed. More information on the attestation process will be forthcoming.)
  • Activity Fee
  • Sports Center Fee
  • Course Fees

Is AU planning to discount tuition in the fall given the blend of in-person and online classes?

AU is committed to continuing to deliver on our core academic mission while implementing safeguards to protect our community. To achieve that, classes will be delivered through a blend of face‐to‐face and online instruction, integrating live (synchronous) class sessions and face‐to‐face opportunities with asynchronous content, which supports students in different time zones and provides the opportunity for students to re-watch lectures and discussions at any time. This blended instructional model requires more investment, technology and equipment. To ensure we deliver the best possible education experience given the health and safety needs, a discount isn’t possible.

AU will provide high quality instruction to all students and tuition will be the same across modalities. Our faculty have spent countless hours in preparation for the fall semester to re-design courses, customizing how they will be delivered based on subject matter, in order to ensure that our students receive the maximum benefit from their AU education. Classes will feature the same faculty and instructional content, office hours, guest speakers, group discussions and projects, and other activities. Likewise, students will continue to have access to the wide range of academic and support services that bolster our educational offerings.

Fall 2020 - Student Jobs and Internships

Will I be able to meet with a career advisor to learn about my career options?

Yes, the Career Center transitioned all services, including career advising appointments, education programs, and recruiting events, to online platforms in March 2020. We will resume in-person services as an option when the university determines we can do so safely. Check “Operating Updates” on the Career Center page for the latest information.

Will I be able to find a part-time job on or off campus?

We are here to help you find and apply for jobs that are out there. Explore AU’s Student Jobs page, paying particular attention to the FAQs to identify which legal documents you will need to present at the time of hire.

On-campus positions are posted on the AU Human Resources’ Student Jobs page. Many fall on-campus opportunities will be posted later in the summer, so check this site periodically.

You can schedule an appointment with a career advisor to craft your application materials. All incoming first-year students will be given access to Handshake, our career management platform, in mid-July. You can use Handshake to schedule career advising appointments and look for off-campus professional opportunities.

Will internships be available? What will they look like?

Handshake internship listings are a great place to start your search for an internship, and you should check in with a career advisor if you would like more guidance. Many employers have shifted internships to an online format or have hybrid models that have both remote and in-person capabilities. Some employers are being creative, offering different models of experience-building such as micro-internships, short-term experiences that allow you to work on a focused project.

Will I be able to develop professional contacts?

Employers and alumni are eager to connect with AU students to provide career-related information, advice, and opportunities. From this summer on, you will have multiple opportunities to develop your professional network at AU. Virtual one-on-one consultations, panels, networking events, alumni conversations, and job fairs will provide many opportunities to connect. If you have not already, make sure to sign up for Alumnifire, a networking platform that allows AU students and alumni to connect easily. You should also speak with a career advisor about developing your LinkedIn profile, so you can take full advantage of that powerful platform.

Will merit awards (national scholarships) continue, and can I apply for them?

Yes. Nationally competitive scholarship programs will continue to make awards in the coming academic year, although those that fund study abroad or cohort-based programming may adjust their dates or convert their programming into an online format if the pandemic continues to affect travel. The Office of Merit Awards will raise awareness of scholarship opportunities through information sessions, workshops, and one-on-one advising. Group sessions and individual advising will be offered virtually until we are able to resume in-person services. Most awards require you to be at least a second-year college student at the time of application.

Has the process for registering an internship credit changed?

The process for receiving approval for internship credit has not changed. A student should contact their academic advisor to learn the specific process for their school. If a student has been offered an internship and would like to receive academic credit, they should have their academic advisor review the internship job description to see if credit is an option. Their advisor will work with them on completing the necessary information on the Internship Registration Form.