COVID-19: Frequently Asked Admission Questions

We are here to support you! Please check back often. Answers will be updated as the situation evolves.

On this page:

General Information

During this challenging time, we know you have questions about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) could impact your impending enrollment, especially if you are traveling to us. If you are planning to enroll in Graduate School of Education program in fall 2020, we want you to know that we are busy preparing and planning an impactful academic experience for you, and eagerly awaiting your arrival. However, as of March 17, 2020, we are not taking in-person meetings, appointments, walk-ins or information sessions. We have moved to a fully virtual system for all conversations, recruiting activities, information sessions and events.

For any questions not addressed in this FAQ, contact us directly:

COVID-19 Impact at the University at Buffalo

What is the current situation at UB regarding COVID-19?

At this time, the University at Buffalo is open and fully operational, and courses are being offered online for the summer semester. UB is getting ready for the fall semester and planning to return to campus, offering educational and research programs under a “modified in-person” format. 

While final guidance will come from the Governor and SUNY Chancellor,  the university will offer a mix of in-person and online instruction, while protecting the health and safety of the campus community. As we continue planning, we will provide regular updates – and gather feedback from students, faculty and staff – while we monitor the pandemic and respond to guidance from public health officials.   

The university’s overall goal is to deliver the best educational and research programs possible, while protecting the health and safety of the university community.

Updates about UB’s planning will be posted at www.buffalo.edu/provost/coronavirus-planning.html.  

How is COVID-19 affecting students’ lives who are planning to attend UB?

Admitted students have shared with us their fear of not being able to make it to Buffalo in time to start their academic program. We understand that it may be difficult to make plans for your arrival in Buffalo. As we receive information from various authorities, including the U.S.  and New York State governments and the University at Buffalo, we will share it with you in a timely and transparent manner through multiple communications channels: via this FAQ page, email and social media. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to connect with us on our social media channels.

Will 2020 semester start dates be impacted by COVID-19?

At present, we have made no changes to the university academic calendar. The university is anticipating regular enrollment for summer and fall 2020. However, these are extraordinary circumstances, and it is possible the situation will change between now and August. If any changes occur that impact your specific program, we will contact you directly via email regarding enrollment options. In addition, we will share information via our FAQ and our social channels.

Admissions and Admissions Process Documentation

Are you still accepting applications?

Yes! Many programs are still accepting applications for the fall 2020 term from both domestic and international applicants. Fall 2020 applications for programs with rolling deadlines must be submitted by August 7 and completed with all application materials by August 14.

Have you changed application or admission decision deadlines?

Yes, where possible, we have extended application deadlines. Check the apply now page for your program to see if deadlines have changed. Many GSE programs have rolling application deadlines; this is also noted on the program page. For the fall 2020 term, applications for programs with rolling deadlines must be submitted by August 7 and completed with all application materials by August 14.


If you are unsure about an application deadline, please email gse-apply@buffalo.edu.

I am an admitted student. Should I pay my tuition deposit?

Yes, we recommend you pay your tuition deposit to secure your seat in the incoming class as soon as possible. Should you defer to the next enrollment term, your tuition deposit will be deferred to that term. Please check your admissions letter on your applicant status page to see your confirmation and deposit deadline. If you have questions about your tuition deposit, please email gse-admission@buffalo.edu.

I am an admitted student. Will you be holding any admitted student events?

Yes! We held our Graduate School of Education Virtual Accepted Student Receptions on April 6 and June 8. Additionally, individual programs and departments will be holding meet and greets with faculty and admitted students throughout the summer. Check your email for updates. 

Admissions testing has been suspended where I am. What should I do?

Complete your application with all materials except your scores. We will review your application materials on an ongoing basis. However, we encourage you to take advantage of online testing resources as soon as possible.

The Educational Testing Service announced an online version of the GRE and TOEFL is available in specific countries and will likely be extended to other areas soon.

For those students who are applying to programs that lead to New York State teacher certification, we encourage you to utilize the at-home GRE to fulfill the admissions requirements. At this time, an at-home MAT exam is not being offered.

However, for those who had cancelled tests, or are having issues with taking the at-home GRE, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions. There are options available for having your application reviewed while we work with you to figure out an alternative plan to complete the standardized testing requirement.

 

My GRE/MAT score is valid until January 2021. I was admitted for fall 2020. In case there are visa issues and I have to start in spring 2021, do I have to take the GRE/MAT again?

No, you will not need to retake the GRE/MAT in this situation, as you would be an admitted student deferred to the next available term. However, if you decide to apply to a different program than the one to which you are admitted, you may need to retake the GRE/MAT exam.

What if my school or university is closed and I can’t get my final transcript and proof of degree?

We understand there may be disruptions in services at other institutions related to COVID-19. We will evaluate each situation and be as flexible and accommodating as possible

Current and Future Course Format/Enrollment

Will courses now be distance education/online learning or on-campus?

Currently, fall 2020 courses are scheduled to be delivered in a modified in-person format. Please know that the Graduate School of Education is well-equipped and committed to supporting our students, especially during these uncertain times. Please rest assured that your coursework is still expected to begin this fall. However, the university is evaluating which additional courses may be converted to online or distance education to best serve our students. Although we plan to offer some on-campus courses in a seated format this fall, we will shift to an online format if conditions regarding COVID-19 persist. If any changes occur that impact your specific program, we will contact you directly via email regarding enrollment options. In addition, we will share information via our FAQs and social channels.

I am a student admitted to the LIFTS program starting summer 2020. What is happening with my coursework?

The courses, course delivery and course dates for new students have changed. New students will now be required to enroll in two online courses which will run from June 22- July 31. The traditional, seated, three-week intensive experience will not take place this summer. For additional questions about the LIFTS program please contact Tom Ramming at trammin@buffalo.edu.

If I am unable to attend UB in August, will I be able to take online classes to begin the program and then move to Buffalo after restrictions are lifted?

We admit students from many countries, and recognize that not all countries will lift COVID-19 restrictions at the same time, so we are currently evaluating all options for admitted students to begin their program on time. We are looking at both partial and full distance learning possibilities. If any changes occur that impact your specific program, we will contact you directly via email regarding enrollment options. In addition, we will share information via our FAQ.  

Deferral Process

Can I defer my admission to spring 2021?

Some of our programs have both spring and fall start dates, some have a summer start date, while some of our programs are fall start only. Speak with your admissions team to find out if you are eligible for a deferral and what the next applicable term would be for your enrollment. As a normal policy, we allow any admitted student to defer admission for one year.

Would I have to go through the application process again if we have to defer admission due to COVID-19?

No, you would not have to go through the application process again. We can defer your application to the next applicable admissions term. Please note that deferrals are for academic admission only; if you have been offered a scholarship or fellowship, please speak directly with your academic advisor or the faculty director of your program regarding funding.

International Students

I am an international student admitted for the fall 2020 semester. How does this affect my admittance?

UB is anticipating regular enrollment for fall 2020. These are extraordinary times with unforeseen circumstances, and we know a lot can change between now and August. If the situation changes and disruptions to enrollment occur, UB will announce enrollment options. All students have the option of deferring for up to one academic year, but at this time, we are operating under the assumption that students will be able to arrive on campus to start their studies for the fall 2020 semester. We are not expecting any delays in course delivery. If any changes are made from the university, we will let you know as soon as possible.

Is the university going to send us I-20s?

Due to the national emergency and at the direction of the New York State’s governor, the State University of New York, and UB Human Resources, all International Admissions staff are working remotely. Academic review, international admission decisions, immigration review and creation of I-20 SEVIS records are all being done remotely. At this time, it is not possible to complete the USPS and UPS labeling and courier shipment processes. In addition, we recognize that shipping and mail services in your country may also be disrupted or suspended. As an admitted student, you have access to your SEVIS ID number in the student portal. I-20s will be mailed/couriered as soon as we have access to do so.

What is the last date to send documents for I-20 processing?

There is no specific deadline for submitting immigration documents. However, we encourage you to complete these steps as soon as possible so when shipping and visa appointments resume, you have the appropriate materials to move forward.

Can the DS-160 and SEVIS fee be paid now?

Yes, you can complete the DS-160 and pay the SEVIS fee now.

What if I pay the SEVIS fee and complete the DS-160 and admission is deferred?

The I-901 SEVIS fee remains valid regardless of the I-20 start date. If your admission is deferred, UB can also defer the I-20 to a future term. Visit fmjfee.com for more information on the I-901 SEVIS fee.

Many banks are closed due to the COVID-19 situation. I am having issues getting bank documents for I-20. What should I do?

We understand the challenge you may have securing appropriate financial documentation due to COVID-19 closures. You should continue, to the best of your ability, to work to get your bank documents and other I-20 documents as soon as possible. We suggest that you try contacting your bank by phone or email to find out if you can obtain documentation electronically. We can begin processing your I-20 once we receive all of your required documentation.

Will I be able to apply for a U.S. visa?

All visa issuance questions should be directed to your local U.S. consulate office. Visa appointment and issuance are regulated by the U.S. government. Information about visa appointment wait times, news and alerts can be found at the U.S. Department of State website. You can also contact your local U.S. consulate office for specific information about the impact of COVID-19 on visa issuance in your area.

Note, if you are considering using a private visa documentation processing firm, be aware that their specific calendars are separate from those of the U.S. Department of State or consulate offices. Private visa processing firms may have different availability and dates.

U.S. visa appointments are currently suspended indefinitely. When will they begin issuing appointments?

U.S. embassies and consulates have cancelled all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020. Embassies and consulates will resume routine visa services as soon as possible, but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. Students are encouraged to check in with the embassy and consulate regularly to monitor visa appointment changes.

What if I can’t get a visa due to suspension issues and am unable to reach Buffalo by the time my program starts?

If your arrival in Buffalo is delayed by any COVID-19 related issue, we will continue to inform you of your enrollment options and ask that you work with your admissions team to understand the impacts for your specific program. You can also refer to FAQs on course format, enrollment options and deferral process.

I am an international student currently enrolled at a U.S. institution. Can I still complete my SEVIS Transfer Form?

If you are a student who is currently studying at another school in the United States and looking to “transfer” your SEVIS/I-20 record for the fall 2020 semester, please note that you must complete your degree at that institution prior to your record being “released” to UB. You can now complete an online form in your UB application status portal to begin the process for UB’s International Admissions staff to work with your current institution to transfer your SEVIS Record to UB and begin the I-20 process. Once again, please note this only applies to students who are currently studying in the United States, and see the SEVIS Transfer Form option in their application status portal.