Will the students return to campus next year? Probably not, say experts
President Donald Trump has insisted that schools and colleges resume teaching in person as soon as possible. Shortly after the advice was published, Trump reiterated on Twitter that the schools were to reopen this fall, adding that the Democrats wanted to keep the schools closed “for political reasons, not for health reasons.”
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“They think it will help them in November. False, people get it! Trump wrote.
Post-secondary students preparing for hybrid learning
According to the updated rules, international students must take at least part of their courses in person. No new visas will be issued to students of fully online schools or programs. And even at colleges offering a mix of in-person and online courses this fall, international students won’t be able to take all of their courses online.
This creates an urgent dilemma for thousands of international students who found themselves stranded in the United States last spring after the coronavirus forced their schools to connect. Those who attend schools that remain online must “leave the country or take other measures, such as transfer to a school with in-person instruction,” as directed.
Post-secondary students experience the academic and financial implications of COVID-19
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The American Council on Education, which represents university presidents, said the guidelines are “horrible” and will cause confusion as schools look for ways to reopen safely.
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Of particular concern is that students will not be exempt from the rules even if an epidemic forces their schools online during the fall term. It is unclear what would happen if a student ended up in this scenario but faced travel restrictions from their home country, said Terry Hartle, senior vice-president of the board.
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“This will cause enormous confusion and uncertainty,” said Hartle. “The ICE clearly creates an incentive to reopen institutions, whether the circumstances of the pandemic warrant it or not.”
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The international education group NAFSA lambasted the rules and said that schools should have the power to make decisions that suit their own campuses. He said the guidelines “are harmful to international students and endanger their health and well-being and that of the entire higher education community.”
Nearly 400,000 foreigners received a student visa during the 12-month period ending September 30, down more than 40% from four years earlier. School administrations are partially behind the delay in visa processing.
Colleges in the United States were already expecting a sharp drop in international enrollment this fall, but the loss of all international students could be disastrous for some. Many depend on the tuition income of international students, who generally pay higher tuition fees. Last year, American universities attracted nearly 1.1 million foreign students.
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Trump critics quickly attacked the new guidelines. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, said that “the cruelty of this White House knows no bounds.”
“International students are threatened with a choice: risking your life going to class in person or being expelled,” Sanders said in a tweet. “We have to resist Trump’s intolerance. We must ensure the safety of all our students. “
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Dozens of colleges have said they plan to offer at least a few in-person courses this fall, but some say it’s too risky. Last week, the University of Southern California reversed the course on a plan to bring students to campus, claiming that the courses will be run mostly or exclusively online. Harvard said Monday it will invite freshmen to live on campus, but the courses will remain online.
Immigration officials suspended certain requirements for international students at the start of the pandemic, but colleges were awaiting advice on what would happen this fall. The ICE informed the schools of the changes on Monday and said that an official rule would be forthcoming.
Fall courses will take place mainly online in the middle of COVID-19, according to some Canadian universities
The announcement was the Trump administration’s last strike related to a pandemic against legal immigration. Last month, authorities extended the ban on new green cards to many people outside the United States and extended the freeze to include many on temporary work permits, including in high-tech companies, multinational corporations and seasonal employers.
The administration has long sought to deeply reduce legal immigration, but the goal was elusive before the coronavirus.
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