US bars new international students opting online courses

international students

Hyderabad: The final blow to the American dream of several thousands of Telugu students came in the form of the latest order from the Trump administration saying the United States will not allow the entry of new international students for the upcoming fall semester if their courses are entirely online.

In a press release, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said “non-immigrant students in new or initial status after March 9 will not be able to enter the US to enroll in a US school as a non-immigrant student for the fall term to pursue a full course of study that is 100 percent online.”

“In accordance with the March 2020 guidance”, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said US universities were also directed not to issue a Form I-20 (admission letter to foreign students) to new non-immigrant students who are outside the US and plan to take fully online classes in a Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP) certified educational institution.

Even if the universities issue admission letter to international students for 100 percent online classes, such students will be denied a visa by the US government. However, this rule will not apply to international students who are pursuing courses in US universities before March 9.

International students who wish to pursue a course in the US university should now opt for universities which are offering either in-person teaching or hybrid mode of instructions that involve both in-person and online instructions. As per the rules, foreign students can opt for only one class or three credits online and rest must be completed through in-person teaching.

Given the increasing number of Covid-19 positive cases in the US, the Trump administration had permitted foreign students for remote learning in March. However, it revoked this decision and directed students whose classes are entirely online must leave the country. As the universities challenged this new rule in the court, the US government rescinded its decision.

According to the observers, new restrictions on the non-immigrant visas by the Trump administration is to garner support from locals for the Presidential election slated in November this year.

As per the Open Doors 2019 report published by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 2,02,014 Indian students were studying in the US Universities.

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