ACE, Other Associations Call on DHS to Clarify Status of International Students for the Spring Semester as the Pandemic Continues
December 07, 2020

​ACE and a group of higher education associations are seeking guidance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on what international students and exchange visitors can expect for the Spring 2021 semester as they make plans to travel to or return to the United States.

In a Dec. 4 letter to DHS, the associations requested that the agency issue guidance as soon as possible that would allow for maximum flexibility for colleges and universities and international students during the continuing COVID-19 crisis.

Currently, institutions and students are following the March 9 guidance for F and M nonimmigrant students (updated Aug. 7) which allows these students to remain in the United States if their programs need to pivot to an online-only instruction platform during the pandemic. However, this guidance does not allow new international students to travel to the United States to begin a program if that program is online only.

Timely and updated guidance is important “given the shocking decline of international student enrollment in the Fall 2020 semester,” the groups maintain. The recent IIE Fall 2020 International Student Enrollment Snapshot found a 43 percent drop in new international student enrollment for U.S. institutions this semester, and also that 99 percent of institutions are holding classes online or implementing a hybrid model.

Click here to read the letter in full.​

​COVID-19 Policy Developments

Learn more about the higher education association effort to urge Congress and the administration to craft a comprehensive response that addresses the challenges students and campuses are facing.

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