Jul 24, 2020 - Health

ICE bars new foreign students from U.S. if classes are fully online

The U.C. Berkeley campus in July.

The U.C. Berkeley campus in July. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a release on Friday barring new international students from entering the U.S. for their fall terms if their courses are entirely online.

Why it matters: Several U.S. colleges and universities have announced plans to hold most or all classes online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many universities rely on tuition from international students, and the directive could dissuade some foreign students from enrolling this coming semester.

  • The rule won’t affect international students already enrolled at American colleges and universities.

What they're saying: "In accordance with March 2020 guidance, nonimmigrant students in new or initial status after March 9 will not be able to enter the U.S. to enroll in a U.S. school as a nonimmigrant student for the fall term to pursue a full course of study that is 100 percent online," ICE said Friday.

  • "Additionally, designated school officials should not issue a Form I-20 to a nonimmigrant student in new or initial status who is outside of the U.S. and plans to take classes at an [Student and Exchange Visitor Program]-certified educational institution fully online."

The big picture: ICE introduced and withdrew guidance earlier in July that would have forced international students to leave the U.S. or transfer schools if their universities moved classes entirely online this fall.

  • The Trump administration has faced backlash and lawsuits supported by more than 200 universities and 18 states over the directive released earlier this month.

Go deeper: Chinese students at U.S. colleges face deep uncertainty

Go deeper