- New ICE Policy on International Students and Online-Only Classes is Cruel, Misguided
- AAU, Associations Oppose ICE Guidance, Request Additional Flexibility for International Students
- FY21 Appropriations Update
- Senators Introduce American Infrastructure Bonds Act of 2020
- The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research Requests Supplemental Appropriations for NIH
- United for Medical Research Supports $5.5B Increase to FY21 NIH Funding
- AAU, Associations Request Guidance for International Students for 2020-21 Academic Year
- AAU Joins Associations on Letter Clarifying Costs of Safely Reopening Campuses
NEW ICE POLICY ON INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS AND ONLINE-ONLY CLASSES IS CRUEL, MISGUIDED
On Monday, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program issued modifications for temporary exemptions for international students taking online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Late Tuesday, SEVP issued a follow-up FAQ document. The guidance states that international students enrolled in universities that will be entirely online in the fall of 2020 must leave the United States or transfer to another university.
Following ICE’s announcement, AAU President Mary Sue Coleman issued a statement calling the guidance cruel and misguided. The statement says that the guidance is “likely to do further damage to our nation’s universities, which are already struggling with unprecedented uncertainty, massive logistical complications, and significant financial losses due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” The statement goes on to urge the administration to “rescind this guidance and provide temporary flexibility to permit international students to participate in the range of in-person, online, and hybrid instruction that institutions are implementing in light of the pandemic and their local conditions.”
AAU has created summary of the SEVP broadcast message and is coordinating with other higher education associations and colleges and universities to respond to this harmful guidance on our nation’s international students, communities, campuses, and the economy.
AAU, ASSOCIATIONS OPPOSE ICE GUIDANCE, REQUEST ADDITIONAL FLEXIBILITY FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
AAU today joined ACE and 79 other higher education organizations on a letter to acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf strongly opposing the ICE guidance regarding international students and fall term online courses and requesting the immediate withdrawal of the guidance. The letter also requests the department grant necessary flexibility for international students. “At a time when institutions are doing everything they can to help reopen our country, we need flexibility, not iron-clad federal rules that are a big step in the wrong direction,” the associations state. The letter also requests the department grant a one-year waiver for international students who have “a valid F-1 or M-1 visa and are enrolled or entering the U.S. to begin a course of study on a full-time basis at an institution of higher education in an academic program that is conducted online or may shift to remote instruction during the semester due to the pandemic.”
FY21 APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE
Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee began consideration of FY21 appropriations measures. As of today, the committee has advanced five of 12 bills for consideration on the House floor, including Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA, Interior-Environment, Legislative Branch, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs State-Foreign Operations. The committee also approved the FY21 302(b) subcommittee allocations on Wednesday.
Several FY21 appropriations measures include supplemental appropriations to provide COVID-19-related relief, which chamber Republicans have said should be separate from the appropriations process and could be a sticking point during full committee and House floor consideration.
RESOURCE AVAILABLE: AAU FY21 Funding Priorities Table
SENATORS INTRODUCE AMERICAN INFRASTRUCTURE BONDS ACT OF 2020
Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MI) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) on Wednesday announced they would introduce the “American Infrastructure Bonds Act of 2020,” legislation that would expand, enhance, and rename the Build American Bonds program, which were issued during the financial crisis of 2008 to increase investment in public infrastructure. AAU has endorsed the measure. AAU asked Congress to reinstate tax-free advance refunding of tax-exempt bonds, which Congress eliminated in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Tax-exempt refunding helps institutions to lower debt costs as interest rates decline.
THE AD HOC GROUP FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH REQUESTS SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR NIH
On Wednesday, the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research released a statement thanking the House Appropriations Committee Labor-Health and Human Services-Education subcommittee for recognizing that the NIH remains a “key national priority despite the restrictive subcommittee funding allocation imposed by the impractical pre-pandemic discretionary spending caps.” In addition to the $47 billion the subcommittee provided for NIH, the group requests additional emergency supplemental funding of at least $10 billion for dedicated research relief. This funding would “represent an important investment to advance new progress toward cures.” AAU is a member of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research and sits on the group’s steering committee.
UNITED FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH SUPPORTS $5.5B INCREASE TO FY21 NIH FUNDING
United for Medical Research, which includes AAU, on Wednesday released a statement thanking the House Appropriations Committee Labor-Health and Human Services-Education subcommittee for approving a $5.5. billion increase for the NIH. In the letter, the group cites NIH Director Francis Collins’ call for more funding, saying the NIH “will require at least $10 billion to restart shuttered research labs and return to pre-COVID-19 productivity.”
AAU, ASSOCIATIONS REQUEST GUIDANCE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS FOR 2020-21 ACADEMIC YEAR
Days before ICE issued its July 6 SEVP guidance, AAU joined ACE and 21 other higher education associations on a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to request guidance for international students for the 2020-21 academic year. The letter requests guidance for international students who have to participate in alternate coursework, including: students abroad and in the United States completing their coursework online; completing hybrid on-campus and online programs; beginning courses online outside of America with the intention of returning to campus; and more. The associations also highlighted several questions about Optional Practical Training program eligibility, the application process, and reentering the country following the completion of online coursework abroad. Additionally, the letter reiterates the April 8 request that the State Department waive the in-person interview requirement for certain student visa applicants.
AAU JOINS ASSOCIATIONS ON LETTER CLARIFYING COSTS OF SAFELY REOPENING CAMPUSES
Last week, AAU joined ACE and 21 other higher education associations on a letter to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee leadership to reply to several questions raised during the committee’s recent hearing, “COVID-19: Going Back to College Safely.” The letter highlights the difficulties colleges and universities face as they plan for the fall 2020 semester and provides insight into the scope of the challenge of making decisions that affect hundreds of campuses, impact the health and safety of millions of students, and puts billions of dollars on the line. The associations repeat their call for additional funding to help colleges and universities face the “dire financial circumstances’ [they] are operating under.”