NRI Pulse

NRI News

Students taking combination of in-person, online courses can get visas: State Department

New York, July 8 (IANS) Facing a firestorm of protests both abroad and within the US, the State Department is trying to reassure students and universities by reiterating that those taking a combination of in-person and online courses will be eligible for visas.

In a note headlined, “International Students are Welcome in the US,” the State Department issued the clarification on Tuesday.

“The United States has long been the destination of choice for international students, and we are pleased that many international students who had planned to study this fall in the United States may still have the opportunity to do so,” it said explaining the student visa restrictions announced by President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday.

The temporary modifications to the F-1 and M-1 visas for students that were announced by the Department of Homeland Security “will allow a mixture of both in-person and some online coursework to meet the requirements for nonimmigrant student status,” the State Department said.

It asserted, “This temporary accommodation provides greater flexibility for nonimmigrant students to continue their education in the United States, while also allowing for proper social distancing on open and operating campuses across America.”

It cautioned that students qualifying for the visas will “still be subject to other visa processing or travel restrictions due to COVID-19.”

The policy announced on Monday said, “Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools adopting a hybrid model – that is, a mixture of online and in-person classes a” will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online.”

While some universities like Columbia and Yale have announced a hybrid system of online and in-person classes for the Fall semester that starts in August or September, others like Rutgers will be running their instructions online with few exceptions.

Universities are being forced to adopt online teaching – which many did midway through the last semester and for the summer session – because of local restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

When the next semester starts, they will be made to implement social distancing that will reduce the number of students who can be accommodated in classrooms and require a shift of online teaching.

There is also a lot uncertainty because of the flareups in COVID-19 cases in many states that will continue for several weeks, even as the pandemic was brought under control in states like New York, which are slowly reopening.

Adding to the shortage of in-person slots, some faculty members, especially those older or have other health problems, are reluctant to return to classrooms and will have to be accommodated.


View this post on Instagram

International students in the US are panicking and universities are scrambling to make sense of a new policy announcement by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that says foreign students in the US will be forced to leave the country or transfer to another college if their universities offer only online classes this Fall. “Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States”, the first line of the July 6 statement says. Officials in the International Students Office at the University of Southern California told IANS they are still “analysing the new information” and swamped by a flood of enquiries from worried students. According to immigration attorney Cyrus Mehta, the latest one pager policy announcement means three things: Students enrolled in US universities that are moving to an online-only education model will be barred from getting F-1 visas, they will be stopped from entering the US on F-1 visas and not allowed to maintain F-1 status in the Fall semester. ICE is now turning the screws on universities to re-open despite the coronavirus roaring back across 40 of 50 states. “So Trump is forcing foreign students to study in unsafe conditions during Covid-19”, Mehta tweeted. Fall 2020 semester begins early September in the US, immediately after Labor Day weekend. By that time, America’s death toll is projected to have crossed the grim milestone of 170,000, according to at least a couple of predictive models. The new policy incentivises in-person classes during the ongoing pandemic which has already killed 130,000 Americans. The ICE announcement comes amidst heated debate across the country on what the coming Fall school session is going to look like. Full report on our website. Link in bio. . #foreignstudents #f1visa #ice #fallsemester #onlineclasses #usuniversities

A post shared by NRI Pulse Newspaper (@nripulse) on

Related posts

WATCH: Pro-Trump Indian-American campaign video stresses safety, economy, India support


Tulsi Gabbard won’t seek re-election to US Congress


Jayalalithaa: A shy actress who became Queen of Tamil Nadu


Leave a Comment