Vice-Rector Timirkhan Alishev and Director of the International Office Olga Vershinina answered the most pertinent questions.
Here are the topics that were covered at the meeting on 17 December.
On international admissions
This year, the enrolment closed unusually late because of the COVID pandemic – in November. 3,377 international students enrolled in all types of programs. About 40 percent of them have not yet been able to arrive to Russia and are studying online. Separate study tracks are designed for those who started learning from 1 September, 1 October, and 1 November.
On winter exams
The winter exams will be conducted through Microsoft Teams, in the same way as it was with entrance exams. If there are technical difficulties with the Internet connection, additional exam dates will be allocated.
On the second semester
It's very probable that the second semester will also be completed in the distance format. Some students may not be able to arrive until summer.
On tuition fees
There will be no discounts because of the online format, mainly because there is no reduction in workload for educators.
On the ongoing rumors about expulsion of international students
There are no mass expulsions; the situation is basically the same as last year. There is a number of transfers, especially in medical specializations. National governments tend to retain medical students at home because there is a huge deficit in medical professionals everywhere.
On New Year holidays
It's preferable to refrain from visiting other cities and just stay at the dormitory. Unfortunately, students tend to get infected at big parties and then spread the virus at their dwellings. Because of the current policies we don't have serious outbreaks of the virus in the dormitories. It's important to stay safe.
On dormitory accommodation
If a student has been allocated a place at the dorm, they will be checked in. All arriving persons must spend two weeks in an observation and then pass a negative COVID test. After that, they can attend classes.
If a person hasn't been allocated a dorm bunk, they must rent a place at a hostel or an apartment. In that case, they must apply to the apartment owner or the hostel management to register with the migration authorities. It's important to remember that a foreign citizen must live at their place of registration, otherwise they are subject to administrative fines. The University cannot help if such a fine is administered.
On visa prolongation and registration information
In a few weeks, a Telegram bot will be available for those who seek information about visa prolongation or migration registration.
On the number of dorm places
There is not a single university in the world which can provide all international students with dorm bunks. There are currently processes in place to accommodate students who cannot arrive in time and thus cannot score enough points to secure a place in the dormitory for the next academic year. There will be separate arrangements for those who arrive later in the academic year or even don't arrive at all until next autumn.
On receiving a diploma without personal visits
A diploma can be received by another person if they have the power of attorney signed by the recipient. Many students have already received their documents in this manner, for instance, the majority of Chinese students.
On the general situation
It's important for everyone to understand that the danger is still with us. As soon as the borders start to open, we will be glad to welcome our students. We are also very disappointed that we cannot invite everyone right now, but we need to be patient.
Hotline for international students
+ 7 843 2337625
Source text: Alina Minnevalieva
Photos: Alexander Kuznetsov
Translation: Yury Nurmeev