Faculty, staff and community members play a vital role in ensuring the success of international sponsored students at MU. These students are unique in that most have an additional layer of compliance in order to maintain their scholarship. On-campus stakeholders are essential in helping us remind students of these requirements throughout their program.
Additionally, community members plan an important role in making our sponsored students feel welcome at Mizzou and in Columbia. Community members have the opportunity to volunteer in a variety of ways to welcome our students upon arrival.
Departments: Hosting a sponsored student
The Sponsored Student Program works closely with on-campus stakeholders to facilitate the application review and placement of international sponsored students. If your department is hosting a sponsored student, it is important to be aware of key differences in ensuring sponsored student compliance from both an immigration and sponsorship standpoint.
How to know if you’re hosting a sponsored student
Sponsored students receive primary educational funding through a third-party source, such as a government (U.S. or foreign), foundation, nonprofit organization, employer, university or business. Students receiving financial support through an MU academic department are not considered sponsored. MU works with more than 30 sponsoring agencies. Each sponsor has a different set of requirements that students must meet in order to maintain their scholarship. For more information about sponsored students, see the Sponsored Student Program overview.
Additionally, sponsored students have a positive service indicator (SPN) applied to their account upon placement. You may determine if an international student is sponsored by navigating to the service indicator section in myZou.
How sponsored students are different
Sponsoring agencies have a variety of requirements and guidelines that students must adhere to in order to remain compliant with the terms of their scholarship program. Contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions you may have regarding a sponsored student you advise.
Application and admission process
Often, applications are facilitated by the Sponsored Student Program and the role we play varies by the sponsor type (e.g., U.S. vs. foreign government sponsor). We assist all sponsored students — non-degree, undergraduate and graduate — through the application and admission process and are in close communication with the student and sponsor prior to placement. For some sponsoring agencies, direct communication with the student is limited until placement is confirmed. If communication with the student is restricted, we will notify you.
In addition to F-1/J-1 immigration requirements, sponsored students have additional requirements set by their sponsors:
- Regular reporting and progress updates
- Campus visits or conference calls
- Community service or internships
- Employment restrictions
- Academic restrictions
International sponsored students sign a written agreement with their sponsor that outlines the sponsorship terms and covered costs for their academic program. These are referred to as financial guarantees or terms of award. The student or sponsor provides the Sponsored Student Program with a copy of this agreement prior to the start of each semester. In coordination with third-party billing, we ensure that the student’s tuition and fees are invoiced accordingly.
Sponsors often have specific terms form:
- Length of program — Funding time frame is restricted or has an end date.
- Courses covered — Many sponsors will only allow students to enroll in coursework that is required for the major designated on their financial guarantee. In this case, students should only enroll in coursework required for degree completion.
- Summer and online enrollment — Summer coursework is often not covered by sponsors. If a student would like to enroll in a summer course, they must get permission from their sponsor. Most sponsors do not permit any online coursework. Sponsored students must be in contact with the Sponsored Student Program if they are considering an online course.
- GPA — Most sponsors have a minimum GPA requirement ranging between 2.5 and 3.5. If a student drops below their sponsor’s GPA requirement, they could jeopardize their sponsorship and should contact the Sponsored Student Program as soon as possible.
- Change of majors, adding minors or certificates — Sponsor approval is required for a student to change their major or add a minor or certificate before it can be processed by MU. Advise sponsored students who are interested in making changes to their academic program to contact the Sponsored Student Program.
Immigration benefits and processes
The processes for authorizing certain benefits of F-1/J-1 status are similar to all international students; however, most sponsors have specific reporting requirements. Direct students to contact the Sponsored Student Program before processing any of these requests:
- Online courses