July 8, 2020
From the University of Florida to Northern Arizona University to Cal State, many institutions of higher learning have not so much chosen to go digital this fall—as have been forced to, by health concerns for staff and students during the spread of COVID-29. Even Harvard University will deliver lectures online to all classes but those for incoming freshmen.
However, in another invective against immigration, the Trump Administration has prohibited international students from taking their classes fully online. The new guidance could force colleges and universities to offer in-person classes during the pandemic to keep their international students enrolled, Politico reports.
The risky policy was introduced as “a temporary final rule” by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday, July 6.
According to Politico, the changes apply to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program for non-immigrant students on F-1 and M-1 visas for academic and vocational coursework. The State Department won’t issue visas to students in online-only programs and Customs and Border Protection will not allow these students to enter the country, according to the press release.
If their school shifts online, international students in the United States will have to leave the country or transfer to a school with some in-person learning.
While colleges and universities wanted more clarity on how to keep their international students enrolled, the new guidance will “sow confusion and ncertainty,” Brad Farnsworth, vice president of the American Council on Education (ACE), told the news outlet. “There’s going to be a scramble for interpretation and colleges will be craving that certainty and they’ll be asking the U.S. government to help clarify to get additional details on interpretation.”
In concert with the press release, Politico noted, President Donald Trump and FLOTUS Melania Trump planned to participate in a “National Dialogue on Safely Reopening America’s Schools” at 3 p.m. in the East Room at the White House on Tuesday, July 7. On Monday, Trump tweeted: “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!”
The president later followed up with a jab at former Vice President Joe Biden and Democrats, tweeting that they “don’t want to open schools in the Fall for political reasons, not for health reasons! They think it will help them in November. Wrong, the people get it!”
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos also hopped on Twitter, and agreed with Trump, adding: “Learning must continue for all students. American education must be fully open and fully operational this fall!”
Research contact: @politico