Harvard among universities concerned about no-study online rule for internationals

Institutions pledge to support the thousands of students affected by the announcement: Harvard University has released a declaration explaining that he was “deeply concerned” that the guidelines impose a “direct and unique approach to a complex problem”.

“[It gives] international students, especially those in online programs, have few options beyond leaving the country or transferring schools,” the statement continued.

Harvard – who plans to teach virtually all of its undergraduate programs in September, even if students reside on campus – wrote that the councils “undermine the thoughtful approach taken on behalf of students by so many institutions, including Harvard, to plan the continuation of academic programs while balancing the challenges of the global pandemic”.

The Ivy League institution said it will work closely with other institutions to chart the way forward. “We must do everything we can so that our students can continue their studies without fear of being forced to leave the country during the year.”

“We must do everything so that our students can continue their studies without fear of being forced to leave”

NYU President Andrew Hamilton said while the new regulations may not affect many of his international students thanks to the university’s planned fall hybrid program, it will “disrupt some who will now be forced to rethink their fall schedules to make sure they include live classes.

“Requiring that international students take in-person education or leave the country, regardless of their own health issues or even the government’s shutdown of New York, is simply wrong and unnecessarily rigid,” Hamilton said in a statement. . declaration.

“If there was a moment of flexibility in the delivery of education, this would be it.”

executive director of the Presidents Alliance on Higher Education and ImmigrationMiriam Feldblum, said the advice only serves to undermine the academic success of international students and damage the country’s ability to attract and retain global talent.

She said the rule would put undue pressure on institutions that are already experiencing budget pressures and uncertainty to “open in-person classes prematurely or risk losing invaluable student enrollment and contributions.”

“We call on ICE to reverse the trend and provide greater flexibility; and for Congress, through future appropriations or legislation, to order the reversal of this problematic and harmful policy,” Feldblum added.

For schools offering a hybrid model, international students will be able to take more than one course or three credits online, but institutions will need to certify that the program is not entirely online and that the student is taking the “minimum number of online course”. required to make normal progress in their program of study.

In a recent letter to the Departments of State and Homeland Security, the American Council on Education and 38 other associations had asked for continued flexibility on the guidelines issued regarding international students.

“We respectfully request that DHS extend and/or expand prior guidance to continue to provide regulatory flexibility to international students enrolled at our institutions of higher education in the upcoming 2020-21 academic year and participating in courses through the through various alternatives inside or outside the United States,” reads the letter signed by ACE President Ted Mitchell.

But Mitchell wrote that this latest directive “takes the opposite tact”, calling the decision “horrific”.

“While we would welcome more clarity about international students studying in the United States, this advice raises more questions than it answers and unfortunately does more harm than good,” Mitchell said. in a press release. declaration.

“At a time when institutions are doing all they can to help reopen our country, we need flexibility, not a big step in the wrong direction.

“We urge the administration to rethink its position and provide students and international institutions with the flexibility needed to enforce a new normal,” he concluded.

“This decision will probably cause even more students to delay the start of their studies”

Talk to News from the PIEJason E. Lane, Dean of the School of Education at University of Albanydescribed it as a shocking announcement – ​​especially as international students already face significant hurdles such as limited flights and closed embassies.

“Now they have to worry that if they can’t take classes on campus or if their college or university reverts to fully remote learning due to a spike in the pandemic, they’ll be forced to leave the country,” he said.

“This decision will likely cause even more students to delay the start of their studies or seek to study in a country with more international student-friendly policies.”

Lane explained that universities will need to prioritize international students for courses with at least some face-to-face interaction if they wish to have international students in their student body in the new academic year.

EnglishUSA urges all its members to write to those in political power to change the guidelines.

Educators have also taken to social media to express their views on the new guidelines, with some calling them the Trump administration’s attempt to force universities to reopen more widely in the fall.

At University of Massachusetts at Amherstdirector of international student and scholar services, Kenneth J. Reade, expressed his disappointment at what he described as “poorly written and unsatisfactorily viewed federal public immigration policy,” and called international students not to make sudden decisions based on the advice.

“The SEVP announcement is very subject to change”

“The SEVP announcement is highly subject to change and it is expected that further guidance or changes will be made in the days and weeks ahead,” he said. Explain.

“UMass will do absolutely everything in its power to continue to make our Amherst and Mt. Ida campuses a safe place for you to continue your education…we appreciate your presence and your contributions… [and] we will get through these complicated times supporting each other and working together,” Reade added.

Approximately one million international students attend US colleges and universities each year, generating an estimated $41 billion in economic impact and supporting more than 450,000 jobs.