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URGENT UPDATES FROM ASA PRESIDENT

Published on July 14, 2020

SEVP PROPOSED RULES AND REGULATIONS CHANGES RESCINDED

The Trump administration has rescinded a rule that would have required international students to leave the country if their colleges hold classes entirely online this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The move comes after the policy announcement last week sparked a flurry of litigation, beginning with a suit brought by Harvard and MIT, followed by California’s public colleges and later a coalition of 17 states.

Judge Allison Burroughs, a federal district judge in Boston who was expected to preside over oral arguments in the Harvard-MIT case, made the surprise announcement at the beginning of the court proceedings Tuesday.

Published on July 7, 2020

SEVP PROPOSED RULES AND REGULATIONS CHANGES

Please note that Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will be modifying previously adopted exemptions as to foreign students effective for the fall 2020 semester.

In summary, temporary exemptions and changes for the fall 2020 semester as per SEVP include:

  1. Active students currently in the U.S. enrolled fully online prior to the fall 2020 semesters are considered in-status. Students attending schools operating entirely online in the fall 2020 semester may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. If a school, college or university remains fully online for the fall semester of 2020, students will be required to depart the U.S. or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. Failure to comply with the above will lead to immigration consequences.
  2. Students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations – all F-1 regulations apply, no exemptions. In such instances, eligible F-1 students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online, while Language Training courses must be taken fully on-campus.
  3. The U.S. Department of State (embassies abroad) will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States.
  4. Students attending schools adopting a hybrid model—that is, a mixture of online and in person classes—will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. These schools will be required to certify to SEVP, through the Form I-20 that the program is not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load for the fall 2020 semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program. The above exemptions do not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs, who are not permitted to enroll in any online courses.

Rest assured, ASA College takes changes in regulatory requirements very seriously. Our first priority is to ensure that all of our international students remain in compliance with SEVP rules and regulations. We have several designated school officials (DSO), led by PDSO Anna Horuk, whose sole responsibility is the interpretation and application of SEVP policies. While we are waiting for SEVP to issue further rulings to clarify their position, we are reviewing the proposed changes and planning the necessary course of action to support all of our international students at ASA College in their compliance with SEVP government policy.

If you are an F-1 or M-1 international student, we would like to assure you that your current status during the summer semester is safe. These changes do not require immediate action on your behalf, though we [you and ASA College] will develop a plan of action by the end of the summer semester (September 3rd for Florida Campuses, and September 25th for New York

Campuses) in compliance with any mandates issued by the state governments of Florida and New York. At the very least, ASA will be offering programs in a hybrid format, in compliance with the SEVP rules and the state mandates. If Florida and New York States governments permit, ASA College will be offering instruction on-ground in the Fall 2020 semester.

ASA College will assist in advising you of your options, whether it be taking the minimum online courses in an on-ground or as part of a hybrid model, right here at ASA.

As this matter is still developing, please check the ASA website for updates.

Jose F. Valencia, CPA
President
ASA College, Inc.
THE COLLEGE OF CHOICE

 

Published on June 4, 2020

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE ON THE CURRENT CRISIS

We remember vividly, when on March 13, 2020, we had just made the decision to transition our on-ground classes to online, due to a virus that had been posing a health threat in other parts of the world. Over the next 2.5 months, this virus, known as COVID-19, became an oncein-a-century pandemic. It attacked the lungs, and it made breathing difficult. How ironic that, over the past memorial weekend, “breathing difficult” became news again. George Floyd was arrested, handcuffed, and held down on the ground, the knee of a police officer on his neck, as he pleaded, “I can’t breathe.” The image of George Floyd’s death was excruciatingly painful for all of us to watch. Most of us simply could not control our emotions as we reflected: why are they doing that? Aren’t they supposed to protect us, not harm us?

At ASA College, we believe in a better future – in hope against all odds – and our collective performance over the last semester has shown us that even the myriad challenges posed by a global pandemic cannot overcome the will and resourcefulness of students, faculty and staff dedicated to achieving this better future. Every course completed, every earned final grade, represents a great accomplishment, and we wish that these achievements were the story of our time, but sadly they are not.

In the face of all that has happened subsequent to the lawless death of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, we cannot say a better future is possible for anyone unless we all confront the racism that has permeated our culture and institutions since the inception of our nation.

We all must accept that the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are not unfortunate isolated incidents. There is no coincidence that George Floyd’s dying words echoed those of Eric Garner. This story, the story of Emmett Till who was lynched as a 14 year old in 1955, the story of Trayvon Martin who was murdered as a teen in 2012, is the story of Black Americans being denied their constitutional and human rights because our culture and institutions have been in part designed to do so. We must accept that this is the truth, and it must make us both sad and angry. At the same time, this truth must also motivate us.

It is important to express our outrage and desire for change in accordance with our First Amendment rights. We must continue to bring about the society that we deserve through our lives and our careers. Over eighty percent of ASA College students are people of color; our Legal Studies Division graduates proud members of many law enforcement agencies. We can be the change we want to see in the world if we continue to employ our will and resourcefulness, and never again hide from uncomfortable truths.

Jose F. Valencia, CPA
President
ASA College, Inc.
THE COLLEGE OF CHOICE

Published on May 22, 2020

2020 GRADUATION CEREMONIES

ASA’s 2020 Graduation, originally scheduled for June 26, 2020 for Hialeah, Florida, and July 10, 2020 for the New York Campus, has been postponed until early Fall.  ASA will allow students, who qualify to graduate in the summer 2020, to also participate.   By then, we are expecting to have more than 1,000 graduates in both campuses.  At one point, we were considering holding a virtual commencement ceremony.  The ASA Executive Committee, however. felt that a virtual ceremony is not a fitting substitute for the in-person event that is shared with colleagues, family, and friends. ASA graduates earned the right to walk with pride with their classmates and have the opportunity to say goodbye to their friends and the place they have called home for the last 2 years.  Moreover, overcoming this pandemic crisis has added an extra meaning to this graduating class.

We will be announcing definitive graduation dates for both campuses as soon as information is received as to when restrictions may be lifted.  In the meantime, I am asking our graduating students to continue to put their best efforts into finishing their studies this spring semester.  Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay strong.  We will get through this crisis together.

Jose F. Valencia, CPA
President
ASA College, Inc.
THE COLLEGE OF CHOICE

 

Published on May 1, 2020

Dear ASA Students

Again, I hope you and your family continued to be healthy, safe, and well.

As I stated in my previous message yesterday, the CARES Act established and funded the Department of Education’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus in the amount of $3.1 million.  These funds must be distributed directly to students.

As I stated yesterday, we are still waiting for further guidance or clarifications as to the criteria to participate in this program and the methods to be used to determine the amount each student should receive.  However, we expect these funds to be distributed in the first or second week of May 2020.  We are considering several options to get these funds to each of you.  One of those options is to mail you a check.  Therefore, it is extremely important that EVERYONE update their current address.

For students that registered in New York, please send your updated address to:

NYAddressUpdate@asa.edu

 For students that registered in Florida, please send your updated address to:

FloridaAddressUpdate@asa.edu

Jose F. Valencia, CPA
President
ASA College, Inc.
THE COLLEGE OF CHOICE

Published on Aril 30, 2020

Dear ASA Students

I hope you and your family are healthy, safe, and well.

Over the past few weeks, the COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on higher education. We have become a locked-down society. As a result, we are experiencing a sea of change in the way we do business: (a) Traditional classes have moved online; (b) Graduation ceremonies are canceled; (c) Executives, faculty, and staff are working from home when just a month ago we were working in an office. It is safe to say that none of us has ever experienced anything close to this crisis.

Over the last few weeks, Congress has developed a number of stimulus packages in an effort to provide relief to hundreds of millions of Americans. One of those is the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27th, 2020.

The CARES Act established and funded the Department of Education’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Under HEERF, ASA College will receive about $6.2 million, of which $3.1 million must be distributed directly to students. The remaining $3.1 million is for the institution to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.

The US Department of Education (USDOE) has mandated the student funds ($3.1 million) to be disbursed only to students who are or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The criteria to participate in programs under Section 484 of the HEA include but are not limited to the following: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting. It is important to specify that HEERF specify that students enrolled exclusively in a distance education program are NOT eligible for the emergency financial aid grant. Congress’ intention was to provide aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Students, who were enrolled exclusively in online programs, would not have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. Congress also excluded DACA and International students.

We are still waiting for further guidance or clarifications as to the criteria to participate in this program and the methods to be used to determine the amount each student should receive. We expect these funds to be distributed in the first or second week of May 2020.

 

Jose F. Valencia, CPA
President
ASA College, Inc.
THE COLLEGE OF CHOICE

Published on March 25, 2020

Externship Training Updates

YOU ARE NOT MANDATED TO GO TO YOUR EXTERNSHIP SITE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, please note:

1. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced, at a press conference Friday morning, that workers in nonessential businesses across New York state are required to stay home in an effort to combat the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. This executive order takes effect Sunday, March 22, 2020. 

2. There is no need to panic, once we are able to resume work, we will ensure all approved externs are placed at a site, and we will grant the necessary extension for you to complete your training. Focus on your classes, which are scheduled to launch online, MARCH 30, 2020. UNLESS YOU ARE ESSENTIAL WORKER WHO AGREED TO WORK, please remain home. Stay safe, knowing that no ASA student will be left behind. 

We are here for YOU all the way!

Published on March 13, 2020

Dear ASA Community (Staff and Students):

Yesterday, I informed all of you via email that ASA College was suspending classes at NY’s Manhattan and Brooklyn Campuses ONLY beginning Friday, March 13, 2020 through Sunday March 15, 2020.  As I have been stating for the past two weeks, the Coronavirus crisis is fluid and changes day-by-day. I convened an emergency Executive Staff meeting today to consider the latest, up-to-date developments about this crisis.  After much deliberations, the team concluded that the events during the last few weeks have been stressful, especially on the students. For this reason, the executive committee and academic management overwhelmingly decided to implement a two-week Spring Break from Monday, March 16, 2020 through, Sunday, March 29th, 2020.  Again, this spring break is only applicable to the NY campuses (Manhattan and Brooklyn).  

All Classes, including all levels of ESL, will resume on Monday, March 30, 2020 via ONLINE FORMAT until further notice. (Information about access and detailed tutorials on the distance learning format will be sent via email.) ASA management will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and will keep you advised when the classes will resume in the traditional, on-ground format.

We are taking this situation with a high degree of caution.  We are going to need the help of staff and students. We have been in constant communication with Catherin Corrales, President of the ASA Student Government Body, seeking advice from the student perspective.  We have pledged to strongly cooperate with her by providing her with office, email, and a telephone extension so that you can call her with any questions or concerns you may have. Her information is as follows:

 

Catherin Corrales
President of the Student Government Body
President_StudentGovernmentBody@asa.edu
(212) 388-5920

This crisis is so unpredictable that things can change several times during a day. Please note, we will be advising you of any changes via ASA email.  It is important for you to check your ASA emails, as well as the College’s social media, for updates on how we are handling the overall COVID‐19 situation. We strongly advise you to check your ASA email frequently, on a daily if not hourly basis.   ASA will continue to rely upon the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Education among others for information and updates. We will share these resources with you, and will endeavor to be transparent with you as the Coronavirus runs its course.  

Again, I would like to reiterate that, if anyone feels sick, has fever or signs/symptoms of respiratory illness, please see a doctor immediately and please move to self-quarantine as soon as possible for at least 2 weeks as recommended by the CDC.  If you have a confirmed case of Coronavirus, kindly inform Jose Valencia, President of ASA at jvalencia@asa.edu so that we can address the possible exposure to the ASA community at large. Of course, your personal medical information will remain confidential and would only be shared with the governmental agencies and/or the CDC for as required by law.

Finally, please know that the well-being of all of you, students, faculty, and staff, are foremost in my mind. I believe we can weather this crisis because we at ASA are a community made stronger by the hard work, dedication, and faith of each and every one of you.  You and your wellbeing are at the core of all of the decisions we are making. It may not always be perfect, but we are striving to be. And with your cooperation, communication, and patience we will come through this challenge more united than ever ready to realize a much brighter future at ASA. Stay well, stay informed, stay positive, and stay with us. We will get through this together.

 

Jose F. Valencia, CPA
President
ASA College, Inc.
THE COLLEGE OF CHOICE

 

Published on March 13, 2020

Starting Monday, March 16, all in-person classes scheduled in New York campuses will resume but will be conducted online. This means that your professors will be posting instructional materials, assessments, and further guidance on our college’s learning management system, Blackboard Learn. To get guidance from your professors as to what you need to study and work on in your respective classes, you must log in to Blackboard Learn on Monday, March 16.

We also expect that you check your ASA College e-mail account as frequently as possible.

Here are some tutorials and resources that will help you along your journey:

  • How to Log In Handout (http://bit.ly/asalogin) – this resource has the steps required to log in to your ASA College e-mail account and Blackboard Learn. It also contains the contact information you need to get technical support.
  • Online Campus tutorials (http://onlinecampus.asa.edu/oc/tutorials-and-resources/) – this section of the Online Campus website contains video tutorials and a quick guide on how to log in, navigate, and use Blackboard Learn.
  • YouTube Playlist from Blackboard Inc. (http://bit.ly/bblforstudents) – this YouTube playlist curated by Blackboard Inc. has lots of videos that show how to use the features of Blackboard Learn.
  • For the time being, we kindly ask that you continue to obtain your information directly from government agencies and ASA College to make sure that you have the most up to date and correct information.
Library Support 
The ASA Library will actively support our students during their Online classes. We host a growing collection of electronic resources such as e-books, databases and streaming media sources that you can access at www.asa.edu/library
Questions?
Chat with us http://asa.libguides.com/c.php?g=521229
Email us library@asa.edu Or Text us (718) 215-9269

 

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this challenging time!

 

Published on March 12, 2020

Dear ASA Community (Staff and Students):

In an email to all of you yesterday, I informed you that ASA College was listening to all of your concerns and your feedback regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). ASA and its management know that this is a serious time for all of us across the country. Maintaining vigilance and compliance with Federal, State and City mandates is very important to us. Although there are no reported coronavirus cases at any ASA campuses, I have received over the last couple of days numerous emails from students and staff expressing anxiety and concerns regarding the current coronavirus situation.

It is for this reason that the College is suspending NY CLASSES ONLY at the end of business today, March 12, 2020 thru Sunday March 15, 2020.

The Florida campus remains the status quo. NY classes will resume on Monday, March 16, 2020 via an ONLINE FORMAT. This online format will continue thru Sunday, April 5, 2020. Again, Florida classes will remain without changes for now.

Over the next three-week period, ASA management will continue to monitor the situation here in NYC and in FL on a daily basis and will provide you with guidance whether the College will continue using the online instruction after Sunday, April 5, 2020 or resume residential instruction. For those of you who may not have a computer at home, please be aware that ASA is making available laptops for $150 and one can be picked up at the Manhattan Campus.

We ask that you please utilize and review your ASA email to keep updated with the COVID-19 situation at the College. We are taking this situation with a high degree of caution, however, we cannot do it alone. ASA is going to need the help of staff and students. Furthermore, if anyone feels sick, has fever or signs/symptoms of respiratory illness, please see a medical practitioner immediately.

Lastly, ASA will continue to rely upon the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) among others for information and updates. We will share these resources with you, and will endeavor to be transparent with you as the Coronavirus runs its course. Please keep reading your ASA emails, as well as the College’s social media, for updates on how we are handling the overall COVID‐19 situation.

Regards,

Jose F. Valencia, CPA
President
ASA College, Inc.
THE COLLEGE OF CHOICE

 

Published on March 12, 2020

Dear ASA Community,

We prioritize both the safety and the security of our students. Though we are following all procedures for proper hygiene to ensure student safety at this time, it is also our intention to make sure our students feel secure. Instructors have been given the flexibility to provide students with remote assignments via blackboard and other technologies so that students will be able to continue their studies remotely. To be clear, we want to ensure our students sense of security and safety. Complete coursework remotely if you feel that coming to campus will endanger your sense of security or health.

 

Published on March 11, 2020

Dear ASA Community,

We understand your concerns and are listening to your feedback regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). The College knows that this is a serious time for all of us across the country, and we are maintaining vigilance accordingly.  As of today, there are no reported coronavirus cases at ASA college’s three campuses: Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Hialeah.  Therefore, we will continue to conduct our business as usual until further notice.

Furthermore, ASA is keeping abreast of notifications from various organizations including the New York City Mayor’s Office and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). An announcement has already been made about NYC public schools remaining open. The DOE has released guidance for institutions to address compliance with Title IV Higher Education Act (HEA) policies for students receiving federal financial aid whose activities have been affected by COVID-19. The College is reviewing this guidance for all activities that are subject to Title IV policies and regulations. 

Four weeks ago, the College formed a Coronavirus Task Force Committee to monitor the situation here at ASA, and to provide recommendations to ensure the safety of our students and staff.  The committee has recommended and implemented a number of actions such as:

  • A contingency plan in case the situation worsens and there is a need to modify the way we provide educational instruction to our students via online operations.  However, we have the systems in place in case we need to go that route. 
  • Increased cleaning and sanitation services at our three campuses and dormitory facilities during the week, and on weekends.
  • Ensured that any students showing unusual symptoms are referred to medical facilities immediately as precautionary measures.  All of these referrals have come back with negative results.
  • informed staff and students with up to date information provided to us by City, State and Federal authorities.

Here at ASA College, we are taking this situation with a high degree of caution.  However, we cannot do it alone.  We are going to need the help of staff and students to follow the guidance below:

You are NOT to come to the COLLEGE (ASA) if you have any of the following:

Fever with severe acute lower respiratory illness (e.g., pneumonia, ARDS) requiring hospitalization and without alternative explanatory diagnosis (e.g., influenza)  

AND

No source of exposure identified                                          

Fever and signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough or shortness of breath requiring hospitalization)                 

AND

A history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset 

Fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness close contact with a laboratory-confirmed covid-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset (e.g., cough or shortness of breath)

AND

Anyone who has had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed covid-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset

IN ORDER TO RETURN TO CLASS, YOU MUST HAVE A NOTE FROM YOUR PHYSICIAN CLEARING YOU TO RETURN TO ASA.

 

Further, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued the following recommendations and we are strongly recommending that all of us follow them:

  1. Wash your hand with soap as many times as possible
  2. If you feel sick, please stay home.  This is highly recommended for you to get better.  More importantly, this recommendation will prevent other people from getting sick.
  3. At all times, avoid close contact with people who are sick
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  5. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.  Immediately thereafter, throw the tissue in the trash.
Download these simple steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses:
Download in English >
Download in Espanol >
Download in Chinese >
Download in Russian >
Download in Bengali >

 

Lastly, ASA will continue to rely upon the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Education among others for information and updates. We will share these resources with you, and will endeavor to be transparent with you as the Coronavirus runs its course.  Please keep reading your ASA emails, as well as the College’s social media, for updates on how we are handling the COVID‐19 situation.

Jose F. Valencia, CPA
President
ASA College, Inc.
THE COLLEGE OF CHOICE