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New ICE Policy on International Students and Online-Only Classes is Cruel, Misguided, AAU President Says

The following is a statement from AAU President Mary Sue Coleman about the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s recent policy requiring international students to take in-person classes to keep their visa status:

This ICE policy is immensely misguided and deeply cruel to the tens of thousands of international students who come to the United States every year. It is also 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. In particular, the impact on international graduate students and undergraduate students already in the United States will be devastating, causing massive disruptions in their learning and research. This policy change would also have negative economic impacts, because international students spend millions of dollars in our communities every year.

AAU is working to quantify the impact of this new guidance, which forces sudden, difficult decisions on international students and universities trying to look out for the safety of their students, faculty, and staff. We strongly 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.

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Founded in 1900, the Association of American Universities is composed of America’s leading research universities. AAU’s 65 research universities transform lives through education, research, and innovation.

Our member universities earn the majority of competitively awarded federal funding for research that improves public health, seeks to address national challenges, and contributes significantly to our economic strength, while educating and training tomorrow’s visionary leaders and innovators.

AAU member universities collectively help shape policy for higher education, science, and innovation; promote best practices in undergraduate and graduate education; and strengthen the contributions of leading research universities to American society.

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