Updated Friday, April 9, 2021
The wellbeing of international and study abroad students is the Center for Global Education’s top priority. As UTC accounts for the spread of COVID-19, we are continuing our constant work of ensuring the safety and security of students, scholars, faculty, and staff at home and abroad.
Below, we have outlined how UTC’s current COVID-19 response will affect CGE operations.
Fall 2021 Updates
Given than UTC has announced that it will be returning to "normal" operations (face-to-face courses), all international students will be required to follow pre-COVID regulations: "Only one online or distance learning class can count toward a full course of study for an F-1 student during each term or semester." Remember that a full course of study is 12 credits for undergraduate and 9 credits for graduate.
Please make sure you pay attention to the "instruction format" for each class you are wanting to sign up for.
Since COVID is such an unpredictable situation, things might change as we go into the summer break. Therefore, it is important that you check this page frequently.
Spring 2021 Updates
UTC will continue offering classes in mixed formats like it did during the Fall 2020 semester. Classes will begin on Tuesday, January 19th.
In a January 6th email, UTC Chancellor Angle announced that "for the first two weeks of the spring semester, we are temporarily changing how some courses will be delivered. All classes, except those designated face-to-face essential, will begin online starting January 19. Beginning February 1, all classes originally scheduled as face-to-face will be held in person."
CGE recommends continuing to follow general CDC and UTC guidelines related to COVID-19.
International students and students interested in study abroad should continue regularly checking their email for updates on how COVID-19 may affect them. CGE also recommends that students follow @utcglobal on social media and check this page often for updates.
F-1 International Students
USCIS will follow the Fall 2020 guidance (the official memorandum has not yet been released for Spring 2021).
UTC students who are arriving from international locations are to self-quarantine upon arrival to the United States. If you are traveling back from abroad, please complete this form now so we may provide you with the best possible service.
Details on self-quarantine requirements:
You may choose to get tested through University Health Services or another testing center after being in the United States for five days (with testing on or after day six).
- If the test is negative and you remains without symptoms you may be released after seven days of quarantine (on day eight).
- If you choose not to get tested and remain without symptoms, you may be released after 10 days of quarantine (on day 11).
No matter the quarantine option utilized, it is advised that any person continue to watch for symptoms for a full 14 days after travel.
If a student tests positive or develops symptoms, they are to isolate and notify the COVID-19 Campus Support Team through the COVID-19 Notification Form.
Study Abroad Students
Early-start Spring 2021 study abroad programs have been canceled. Regarding late-start study abroad programs, the University is unable to approve any study abroad to a Department of State location with a level 3 or 4 travel advisory.
Students interested in studying abroad in future semesters may visit utc.edu/studyabroad for updates and information. CGE is pleased to offer virtual study abroad options as well.
Fall 2020 Updates
Information about how UTC will transition into the Fall 2020 semester is available on the Fall 2020 Task Force page.
In keeping with guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, all students traveling from international locations must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to the United States. UTC will work with students as necessary to provide a self-quarantine location and resources.
To determine whether you will be required by UTC to complete a 14-day self-quarantine, please complete the following questionnaire by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 10th.
Take the Questionnaire Now
Updated on August 3, 2020
On Friday, July 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security once again updated its immigration guidelines for universities regarding the enrollment of F-1 international students during the Fall 2020 semester. The Center for Global Education understands that our students have received a lot of changing information in recent weeks and months, so we have compiled the following FAQs regarding this update.
DISCLAIMER 11/20/20: The information below has not yet been updated for the Spring 2021 semester. As soon as official guidelines have been published, the FAQs will be updated to reflect any new procedures and policies.
- What are my options if UTC decides to move all courses online during the Fall 2020 semester?
Even if UTC decides to move all courses online mid-semester, F-1 international students will maintain their lawful immigration status and be able to remain in the U.S.
- If I choose to take a semester off, will I be able to return to the U.S. next semester?
If you wish to take Fall 2020 off, please contact your international student advisor immediately. There are several immigration and academic procedures you must understand when taking a semester off from UTC. CGE staff can assist you through this process.
- If I become ill and am unable to participate in class, what should I do?
First, contact your professors. If you are unable to attend classes in person but able to participate virtually, they may be able to accommodate your needs. If you are ill for several days and unable to participate in classes at all, contact CGE staff to discuss how this may affect your immigration status.
- What can I do if I have suffered financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic?
F-1 students who have experienced severe economic hardship due to COVID-19 may qualify for special off-campus employment authorization by USCIS. For more information, please contact your international student advisor and/or visit the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement websites.
- How do I register for classes and/or check my class schedule?
You can check your schedule through MyMocsNet.
If you need to register or change your classes, please contact your academic advisor.
If you do not know who your academic advisor is, please follow the instructions listed here.
Returning International Students FAQs
- What are my enrollment options for fall?
All international students must enroll in a full course of study* (at least 12 hours for undergraduate students and at least 9 hours for graduate students). Additional requirements vary:
If you choose to study in the U.S., there are no in-person enrollment requirements; you may enroll in face-to-face, hybrid, or fully online courses. If you plan to remain outside of the U.S. for Fall 2020, your SEVIS record will remain active as long as you are enrolled in a full course of study.
- There are no in-person enrollment requirements, and you may enroll in all fully online courses.
- If you plan to remain outside the U.S. for Fall 2020, please inform your international student advisor immediately.
*If Fall 2020 is your last semester before graduation, you may request to take less than a full course of study requirement by submitting the reduced course load request form before August 23rd.
- I am a returning student but cannot return to campus this fall due to travel or visa issues. What should I do?
Your SEVIS record will remain active as long as you are enrolled in a full course of study.
If you are a continuing F-1 international student and you cannot return to campus, UTC will do our best to help you continue your degree online. However, there may be some exceptions and limitations. You should work with your academic advisor for guidance on how to continue making progress toward your degree from outside the U.S. If you face extraordinary difficulties, please contact CGE.
- I am a returning F-1 international student with an expired visa. Can I renew my visa at the U.S. embassy in my home country?
Yes, you can. Continuing F-1 international students who attended UTC during previous semesters are eligible to apply for a visa if needed to re-enter the U.S., even if they are taking only online courses.
- I have a graduate assistantship, but I cannot return to the U.S. at this time. What should I do?
You should contact your academic advisor, graduate advisor, and/or program coordinator immediately.
New International Students FAQs
- What are my enrollment options for fall?
All international students must enroll in a full course of study (at least 12 hours for undergraduate students and at least 9 hours for graduate students). Additional requirements vary:
If you are a new F-1 international student and choose to study in the U.S., you must enroll in at least one hybrid or face-to-face class. If you are a new international student and wish to remain outside the U.S., you may take fully online classes but will not be considered an F-1 international student.
- I am a new international student planning to come to UTC from abroad. Can I get my visa at the U.S. embassy in my home country?
Yes, you can. New F-1 international students attending UTC for the first time are eligible to apply for a visa and enter the U.S. because UTC is not fully online. New students, however, may not enroll in 100 percent online courses if they will be in the U.S. during Fall 2020.
- I am a new international student coming from a local institution in the US. Do I need a new visa?
No. You do not need a new visa unless you travel abroad. Our office will transfer your SEVIS record with the assistance form your previous institution, Please contact your international student advisor for the required paperwork.
- The U.S. embassy in my home country is still closed, and I cannot get my visa in time to arrive for the beginning of the semester – how late may I arrive?
Please arrive before Thursday, August 20, 2020. If you are not able to enter the U.S. by that date, we encourage you to defer your enrollment to Spring or Fall 2021.
Contact your international student advisor to request a deferral.
You may also explore the possibility of enrolling in fully online classes, though this will not grant you F-1 student visa status.
Frequently Asked Questions
The information provided below is subject to change at any time as additional information and guidelines arise. Please check back frequently and visit the University Health Services website about any questions which are not answered below.
In the case of a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 or visit an urgent care center.
- What is self-quarantine?
Quarantine is described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as follows:
Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.
The CDC recommends a 14-day self-quarantine for anyone who returns to the U.S. following a period of international travel. In keeping with this guidance per the Campus Reintegration Plan, UTC is enforcing a mandatory self-quarantine following arrival in the U.S. for any students, staff, or faculty who have recently traveled internationally.
University Health Services, the Office of Safety And Risk Management, and the Center for Global Education are responsible for overseeing the self-quarantine process for returning international students.
- How were UTC’s COVID-19 response policies determined?
UTC has implemented policies related to COVID-19 based on recommendations by the CDC, the Tennessee Department of Health, the Chattanooga- Hamilton County Health Department, and other government entities.
- What are the recommendations for people returning from international travel?
The CDC recommends that international travel returnees “stay home for 14 days from the time you returned home from international travel.”
Additionally, UTC requires that you fill out this this form upon your arrival.
- What do I need to do for UTC before beginning my trip to the US?
Before you leave your country, you must submit the Covid-19 Illness and Travel Notification form.
- When should I arrive in the U.S.?
Once we have determined which students will be required to self-quarantine, as well as who will do so in UTC-arranged accommodations, you will receive detailed information.
- Who needs to self-quarantine?
All students, staff, and faculty members who will conduct business on UTC campus following any period of international travel will be required to complete a 14-day self-quarantine.
- If I stayed in the U.S. the entire summer, do I need to self-quarantine?
No. If you did not travel outside the U.S., you do not need to self-quarantine.
- For how long do I need to self-quarantine?
Your self-quarantine must last 14 days from your arrival in the U.S. During this 14-day period, take the following steps to monitor your health and practice social distancing:
Take your temperature with a thermometer twice a day, and monitor yourself for fever. Also watch for coughing or trouble breathing. Use this temperature log to monitor your temperature. Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school. Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares. Keep your physical distance from others (at least six feet, or two meters), in the unlikely event that contact is unavoidable.
- Where will I be housed during self-quarantine?
You will have the option of quarantining in your own off-campus housing or in UTC-arranged accommodations. Details on these accommodations will be provided in the future.
Note that if you choose to self-quarantine in your own accommodations, you will not receive additional services such as meals, snacks, care packages, etc.
- Will meals be provided during my self-quarantine?
Students who choose to self-quarantine in UTC-arranged accommodations will receive three meals each day. If you choose to have food delivered from a restaurant instead, you will be expected to pay for this yourself.
Students who choose to self-quarantine in their own accommodations will not receive UTC-provided meals.
- Can friends visit me during my self-quarantine?
No. You should avoid physical contact with all people — including others who are self-quarantining — during the self-quarantine period.
- What can I do during my self-quarantine?
You may occupy yourself in any way which does not require you to leave your accommodations or come into contact with other people. It is a good idea to bring games, books, music, etc. to keep yourself busy during your quarantine.
Here are some ideas:
- Exercise indoors
- Browse the internet
- Read some books
- Get ahead on your studies
- Play video games
- Practice an instrument
- Do puzzles
- FaceTime with your family, friends, and self-quarantine neighbors
- Attend free virtual concerts, workshops, seminars, etc.
- Practice CDC-recommended hygiene measures
- Learn a new language
The internet has lots of lists of fun ways to spend your self-quarantine time. Here is one.
- What can’t I do during my self-quarantine?
- Leave your location
- Have friends over
- Be in physical contact with other people
More information about quarantine do’s and don’ts is available at CDC.gov.
- Who do I contact if I have any additional or unexpected needs?
You will receive information in the future regarding whom to contact should any additional or unexpected needs arise before or during your self-quarantine.
- Will I be provided with cleaning supplies during my self-quarantine?
If you choose to self-quarantine in UTC-arranged accommodations, trash will be picked up daily from outside your room, and housekeeping may be available every two to three days. Additionally, you will receive a small kit of essentials including a mask, a thermometer, a small sampling of over-the-counter medications, hand sanitizer, and other necessary items.
If you choose to self-quarantine in your own accommodations, you will not receive these services and essentials.
- What are the COVID-19 symptoms?
According to the CDC website, COVID-19 symptoms include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
You will receive instructions in the future regarding how to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
- What will happen if I do not report to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services daily?
Someone from our office will continue to contact you until we get a response. Until you complete your 14-day self-quarantine, you will be unable to attend in-person classes or otherwise use UTC campus facilities.
- How wilI I get from the airport to the location of my quarantine?
You will receive information on secure transportation arrangements in the future.
- If I take a COVID-19 test and it comes back negative, can I forgo the self-quarantine or terminate my self-quarantine early?
No; a person who has been exposed to COVID-19 can test negative one day during the virus's 14-day incubation period but test positive the next day, or even later in the same day. This is the basis for requiring a 14-day self-quarantine.
- What happens if I start developing symptoms during my self-quarantine?
You will be provided instructions on what to do should you develop symptoms during self-quarantine.
- What happens if I do not self-quarantine for 14 days?
Until you complete your 14-day self-quarantine, you will be unable to attend in-person classes, move into your regular campus housing if applicable, or otherwise use UTC campus facilities.
- I am back in my home country, but I cannot get a flight back before classes begin. What should I do?
Undergraduate students should contact Eunice Davis ([email protected]), and graduate students should contact Lora Cook ([email protected]).
CGE staff will begin transitioning back on campus in July. CGE staff will be available, either remotely or on campus, during our regular business hours of Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Staff may be reached via email. Students are encouraged to meet with staff through Zoom meetings, which they may request in advance via email. At this time, CGE staff are not accepting walk-ins.
International student applications continue to be processed according to the usual schedule.
On April 1st, it was announced that Summer Long Term and Short Term I classes would also be moved fully online:
All courses offered in the Summer 2020 Long Term and the Summer 2020 First Short Term will be delivered online... Students who have enrolled in face-to-face classes for the Long Term and First Short Term will be automatically enrolled in an online section of the same course if one is offered. A decision regarding the instructional format for Summer 2020 Second Short Term will be announced at a later date.
On May 6th, it was announced that most Summer Short Term II courses will be offered fully online, with some exceptions:
Face-to-face courses will be those least amenable to online instruction and that are necessary to keep students in related academic programs on track for degree completion. Face-to-face courses will involve clinical, laboratory or studio instruction that cannot be accomplished online. Some studio courses can and will be offered online.
On May 16, it was announced that UTC is making plans to be fully operational with students returning to campus for face-to-face classes in the fall.
Please see the modified Fall 2020 academic calendar here.
Please read the Fall 2020 Return to Campus FAQ here.
Campus Life for International Students
The Mocs Express shuttle service has been suspended, but students may still ride the city’s CARTA buses for free using their Mocs card.
The UTC Library building is closed, but many online resources remain available. More information on library continuity is available here.
The Aquatic and Recreation Center is closed, but online campus rec resources and activities are available here. More information on the ARC closure is available here.
English as a Second Language
Fully online summer ESL classes began Wednesday, May 13th.
All Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 study abroad programs have been canceled. For questions and concerns regarding future study abroad options, please complete this form.
For detailed information regarding COVID-19's impact on the Office of Study Abroad, visit utc.edu/studyabroad.
UTC Health Insurance and COVID-19 Coverage
If you have UTC's Health Insurance plan, please read this UnitedHealthcare memo to see which COVID-19-related claims are covered under your plan.
Member cost sharing will be waived for COVID-19 diagnostic testing provided at approved locations in accordance with CDC guidelines. If a member is diagnosed and hospitalized, the plan will treat that claim as it would any other illness (i.e. subject to a $500 deductible and 80% coinsurance at network providers).
You may also consider using Healthiest You, the telehealth service offered by UnitedHealthcare. This service offers remote access to licensed medical doctors. Insured students may use this service at no cost, while non-members must pay a $40 fee.
If you have further questions about your health insurance coverage, please contact The Hildreth Agency at 1-800-874-0831 or [email protected].
As always, students are welcome to reach out to CGE staff for support, advice, or a referral to on-campus resources. For the most accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19, consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization. For answers to questions about the coronavirus or to find out if you should be tested, call the Chattanooga Coronavirus Information Hotline at 423-209-8383.
All students are encouraged to check their email daily for updates on UTC’s coronavirus response.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is campus still open?
Yes, but many staff and faculty are now working remotely, and non-essential services are operating on altered schedules. Students have been asked to stay off campus as much as they can.
- What is the plan for summer classes?
As of April 1st, all courses offered in the Summer 2020 long term and the first short term will be delivered online.
As of May 8th, most Summer 2020 second short term classes will be delivered online.
- How can I access Zoom?
You will receive a Zoom invitation via email. Click the link in the invitation, or enter the meeting ID directly into the Zoom application. Although a web browser version of Zoom exists, it is recommended that you download the full application.
Do you have a question that isn’t listed here or below? Email [email protected].
Current International Students
- How can I make an appointment with my international student advisor?
Email your advisor to set up a Zoom appointment. Undergraduate students should contact Eunice Davis ([email protected]), and graduate students should contact Lora Cook ([email protected]).
- How do I get my I-20 signed for travel?
Designated School Officials are now able to sign I-20s electronically. Undergraduate students should contact Eunice Davis ([email protected]), and graduate students should contact Lora Cook ([email protected]).
- Are classes going to be face to face in Fall 2020?
As of May 16, UTC is making plans to be fully operational with students returning to campus for face-to-face classes in the fall. Please see modified Fall 2020 academic calendar HERE.
- I previously applied for OPT. Will the government continue to process my application?
Yes. All OPT options are being processed.
- How can I apply for a STEM OPT extension?
Contact your international student advisor four months before your post-completion OPT end date. Undergraduate students should contact Eunice Davis ([email protected]), and graduate students should contact Lora Cook ([email protected]).
- I do not have a laptop, and the library is closed for me to check out a computer or use the computer lab for class. What can I do?
Request a loaner laptop from the IT Department here.
- I do not have a laptop. Can I still call my international student advisor to discuss challenges?
All CGE staff are now working remotely. If you would like to speak with an advisor on the phone, send an email first to determine the best way to accomplish this. You may also consider requesting a loaner laptop from the IT Department here.
- I went home without a travel signature. What should I do?
Inform your international student advisor; an I-20 travel signature is required. Due to COVID-19, an electronic signature may be provided. Undergraduate students should contact Eunice Davis ([email protected]), and graduate students should contact Lora Cook ([email protected]).
- I am back in my home country. Will time zone differences affect my assignment deadlines, etc.?
UTC wants all students to succeed, regardless of location. We recommend discussing these questions with your professors directly.
- What is the plan for Spring Commencement?
Please refer to the updated information on Spring Commencement HERE.
Do you have a question that isn’t listed? Email [email protected].
Prospective International Students
- Are you still processing international student applications?
Yes! Although CGE staff are now working remotely, we are processing applications in the usual manner. If you have questions about the international admissions process, contact the relevant international student advisor: Eunice Davis ([email protected]) for undergraduate applicants and Lora Cook ([email protected]) for graduate applicants.
- My university is closed, so I cannot acquire official degree certificate and transcripts. How can I submit them?
To account for document procurement challenges related to university closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, UTC is currently accepting scanned copies of international academic documents (i.e. transcripts, marksheets, and degree certificates) via email. These documents are considered unofficial but will be accepted on the condition that official copies be submitted as soon as possible following the guidelines laid out on the Prospective Students webpage.
- TOEFL and IELTS testing centers are closed. How can I prove my English proficiency?
UTC is now accepting the Duolingo English Test for proof of English proficiency. Undergraduate applicants must score at least 85, and graduate applicants must score at least 100.
TOEFL/IELTS are now available to take online.
Do you have a question that isn’t listed? Email [email protected].
- Are Summer 2020 ESL classes online?
Yes. Summer ESL classes are currently fully online.
- When do Fall 2020 ESL classes begin?
Fall 2020 ESL classes will begin on August 17 and follow the same calendar and procedures as the rest of UTC. There will be no Fall Break, and we will hold classes on Labor Day. Face-to-face classes will end before Thanksgiving, and final exams will take place online after Thanksgiving.
Additional information is available in the Fall 2020 academic calendar.
Do you have a questions? Email [email protected].
Study Abroad Students
- What is the status of Summer 2020 study abroad programs?
As of March 16, all Summer 2020 study abroad programs are cancelled.
- What is the status of Fall 2020 study abroad programs?
As of May 26, all Fall 2020 study abroad programs are cancelled.
- What is the status of Spring 2021 study abroad programs?
As of May 26, Spring 2021 programs are proceeding as planned. We will continue to provide updates to Spring 2021 study abroad participants and will make a decision on Spring 2021 programs during the Fall 2020 semester.
- Where can I find more details regarding COVID-19's impact on study abroad programs?
For detailed information regarding COVID-19's impact on the Office of Study Abroad, visit utc.edu/studyabroad.
Do you have questions? Email [email protected].