U.S. colleges scramble after new Trump order on foreign students

Many U.S. colleges were trying to figure out on Tuesday how to modify plans for the next semester to cope with the coronavirus pandemic shortly after Trump administration issued an order that could force tens of thousands of foreign students to leave the country if their classes will be moved online.

Students at UNC-Chapel Hill walk through campus between classes (by Dennis Ludlow – Sharkshock, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)

The announcement caught the academic institutions off guard while struggling with the logistical issues to safely resume classes, in particular after the federal government had granted exceptions to the rules that limit online learning for foreign students when the college and university in March moved lessons online while the pandemic urging the lockdown.

More than a million foreign students are enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, and many institutions relies on the revenues from foreign students, who often pay full tuition.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency underlined that institutions moving the lessons entirely online must submit plans to the agency by July 15. Instead institutions that will mantain only in-class lessons, shortened or delayed classes, or a mix of in-person and e-learning must submit plans by Aug. 1.

The guidance applies for academic and vocational students holding of F-1 and M-1 visas.


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