Yesterday, the Trump administration announced its intent to withdraw previously issued guidance regarding the legal status of international students with F-1 and M-1 visas in the United States. Had the administration’s policy gone into effect, international students enrolled at U.S. educational institutions that elect to transition to fully online learning for the fall semester in response to COVID-19 would be required to leave the U.S. or transfer to another institution.
The policy reversal comes after significant public outcry and legal action undertaken by higher education institutions and state attorneys general. The administration’s action was announced during a hearing concerning a lawsuit filed last week by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
On July 10, PAEA signed onto a joint letter sent by the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions (FASHP) to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf. In the letter, the FASHP organizations highlighted the critical importance of international students to the future health workforce and the need for flexibility regarding distance learning as institutions work to protect students and faculty from COVID-19.