Biden Administration Extends Temporary Protected Status to Ukrainians in the U.S.
March 07, 2022

The Biden administration has announced that it will allow Ukrainians who are in the United States as of March 1 to remain in the country for 18 months under a designation known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

The relief applies to people who would face extreme hardship if forced to return to countries devastated by armed conflict or natural disasters, allowing them to apply for work permits and deportation protections. TPS could aid some of the 1,700-plus students from Ukraine studying in the United States if their visas expire.

ACE and a number of other higher education associations have been advocating for support and flexibility to assist these students—see below for details.

February 28, 2022

ACE and other higher education associations are urging the departments of State and Homeland Security to “provide as much flexibility and support as possible” for Ukrainian students and scholars in the United States, as well as those seeking to leave Ukraine as Russia continues its attack on the country.

According to the 2021 Open Doors report, there are 1,739 students from Ukraine studying in the United States.

In a letter today to secretaries Antony Blinken and Alejandro Mayorkas, the groups requested the administration accommodate Ukrainian students in the United States on F-1 or J-1 visas, as well as those completing Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Academic Training.

“Some of these students and scholars may be close to the end of their program of study, research, or training, and may not be able to immediately return to their home country during a war,” they wrote. “In addition, some of those students and scholars may have seen their financial situation suddenly change, and we ask for accommodations for those who must work while they undertake their studies in the United States.”

The U.S. Fulbright program also supports Ukrainian students both in Ukraine and the United States. The groups expressed their appreciation for the State Department’s recently statement that the U.S. government will continue to monitor the situation and support Fulbright-supported Ukrainian students.

“We will continue to provide support and assistance to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” the official told Inside Higher Ed last week. “The safety and security of our exchange program participants is paramount to our mission. There are no current American Fulbright participants in Ukraine. Ukrainian and Russian Fulbright participants in the United States continue on their exchange programs. We are closely monitoring the situation and communicating regularly with the exchange participants impacted by these developments.”

President Biden has designated Homeland Security as the lead federal agency to coordinate Ukraine-related domestic preparedness and response. The groups said that U.S. colleges and universities stand ready to serve as a resource for displaced international students and scholars, “just as we always have during the pandemic and previous political upheavals and military conflicts across the globe.”