Inside Higher Ed
by Elizabeth Redden
July 27, 2020
U.S. immigration officials have issued new guidance saying new international students -- unlike current international students -- cannot come to the U.S. to take an entirely online course of study.
However, while one expert noted a lack of clarity on this point, the guidance issued Friday by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program seems to affirm that new international students may enroll in hybrid programs consisting of a mix of in-person and online courses, as long as their coursework is not "100 percent online." It also says that students will not be at risk of deportation if their institutions switch from an in-person or hybrid mode to an online-only mode in the middle of the term due to the pandemic.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is a division of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE.
More than 20 universities and 20 states filed various lawsuits to block an ICE directive that would have prohibited continuing international students from taking all their courses online. While the government agreed to rescind that directive in response to litigation, the rescission left the fate of new international students unclear.