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Academic Affairs

Policy Title
Verification of Lawful Presence of Students
Policy Description
A student must be a citizen or national of the United States or an alien lawfully present in the United States to attend Winthrop University.

If a student enrolled at Winthrop ceases to be a citizen or national of the United States or an alien lawfully present in the United States, Winthrop shall discontinue the student’s enrollment and cease providing the student with any public higher education benefit.

This policy applies to any person attending any course offered by Winthrop University.

This policy is adopted pursuant to section 59-101-430 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended, which provides as follows: (A) An alien unlawfully present in the United States is not eligible to attend a public institution of higher learning in this State, as defined in Section 59-103-5. The trustees of a public institution of higher learning in this State shall develop and institute a process by which lawful presence in the United States is verified. In doing so, institution personnel shall not attempt to independently verify the immigration status of any alien, but shall verify any alien’s immigration status with the federal government pursuant to 8 U.S.C. Section 1373(c). (B) An alien unlawfully present in the United States is not eligible on the basis of residence for a public higher education benefit including, but not limited to, scholarships, financial aid, grants, or resident tuition.

Policy Procedures
Verification of Citizens and Nationals of the United States

Proof of Citizenship is required before a citizen will be allowed to attend classes at Winthrop University. A citizen’s status need only be checked once. Winthrop shall deny enrollment to any student claiming to be a citizen or national of the United States who either cannot be verified or does not submit proof of citizenship acceptable to the verification officer.

Winthrop will attempt to verify student citizenship via legally available federal or other databases before asking students to submit proof of citizenship.  Students who are unable to be verified through these databases will be asked to present proof of citizenship.

Initial Review

1) All students who successfully complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be cleared as citizenship verification is included in the FAFSA processor’s procedures.
2) Remaining students are reported to the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education for matching by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. SC DMV will verify citizenship for those students who obtained their initial driver’s license on or after January 1, 2002.
3) Remaining students will be asked by the Registrar to provide documentation verifying their citizenship or legal presence in the United States.

Review of newly admitted students

For future years, review of student status will occur at various times of the year.

1) For new freshmen admitted for a fall semester, the steps listed above will occur after Orientation registration.
2) Graduate students, off-campus students and others who register late will be reviewed as soon as possible.

Reviews for new students in Spring and Summer will be completed as soon as possible after registration.

Students required to submit documentation verifying citizenship will only need to provide the documentation once. The document provided will be retained as a part of the student’s enrollment file.

Acceptable Documentation for Verification of Citizenship

o Copy of a South Carolina Driver’s License if first licensed after January 1, 2002
o Current and valid driver’s license or ID from the following states (if your state is not on this list, it is not eligible): Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine (issued after 11.15.08), Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin

o Copy of  Certified Birth Certificate indicating birth in the United States or a territory of the United States, with given name and surname, date and place of birth, date birth record was filed and the seal or other certification of the official custodian of the record.

o Copy of  Current US Passport
o Copy of Certificate of Naturalization (USCIS Form N-550 or N-570)
o Copy of  US government issued Consular Report of Birth Abroad
o Copy of  Certificate of Citizenship (N-560 or N-561)
o Copy of  Unexpired US Active Duty/Retiree/Reservist Military ID card (DOD DD-2)
o  Statement of employment from a South Carolina public school

Copies are acceptable but Winthrop retains the right to review the original if needed.

Verification of Immigration Status for Aliens and Those Lawfully Admitted for Permanent Residence

In order to enforce the SC Illegal Immigration Reform Act, all permanent residence, F-1 and J-1 visa holders and all other visa holders will have their citizenship “third-party” verified by the International Center in the following manner.

• F-1 and J-1 visa holders will be verified and maintained using the SEVIS database.
• Permanent Residence and all non-immigrant visa types will be verified using the SAVE database.
• SEVIS and SAVE are both databases maintained by the US Department of Homeland Security.
Since all permanent residence and non-immigrant visa holders will have a valid passport and be verified through one of two federal databases, we see no need to request an Affidavit from our students. We will require an Affidavit in a special as-needed circumstance.
Re-verification of visa status -
• F-1 and J-1 visa holders will be “re-verified” at the beginning of each fall and spring semester utilizing the mandatory student registration component of the SEVIS system.
• Permanent Residence and all non-immigrant visa types will be “re-verified” using the SAVE database on an annual basis prior to the beginning of each fall semester.
Violation of visa status –
• An F-1 or J-1 visa holder who violates their status will have to apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and the US Department of State for “reinstatement” of their F-1 or J-1 visa status. The application for reinstatement must be filed in a timely manner. A student will be allowed to continue enrollment and attend classes at Winthrop until a determination is made by USCIS or the US Department of State as to the reinstatement of their visa. If their reinstatement is denied they will no longer be allowed to receive the benefit of attending Winthrop University.
• A permanent resident or non-immigrant visa types that cannot be verified via SAVE must contact USCIS to correct the matter and be recognized in SAVE as verified in order to enroll or attend classes at Winthrop University. A student must contact USCIS in a timely manner. If their visa status is not verified via SAVE, they will no longer be allowed to receive the benefit of attending Winthrop University.
• Clarification of permanent residence or visa status is the responsibility of the student noting the International Center will make every effort to assist a student with any questions they may have.
Policy Author(s)
Office of Records and Registration, Office of Admissions, The Graduate School, the International Center, Office of Academic Affairs
Effective Date
June 2009
Review Date
February 2017
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