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Penn State ‘Deeply Concerned’ By ICE’s New International Student Policies

Penn State’s international students may be in a tough spot this fall under new guidelines issued by the United States government.

Monday afternoon, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued new regulations for international students studying in the country this fall. Most notably, those attending universities offering online-only courses — and students who are exclusively taking online courses — run the risk of deportation.

According to the guidance, students studying on F-1 and M-1 visas under the aforementioned circumstances “must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.” Customs and Border Protection would also bar international students from entering the country

As you’d expect, Penn State is “deeply concerned” for the wellbeing of its international students following ICE’s release of new guidelines.

“We are deeply concerned about the potential impact of these new regulations on Penn State’s international students, who are a welcome and vital part of our community,” university spokesman Wyatt DuBois said. “Our international students need to rely, like all our students, faculty and staff, on a safe and flexible learning environment that will help make possible the attainment of their educational goals in a safe and healthy manner.”

DuBois expressed Penn State is joining higher education colleagues to push back against these new guidelines and call for “immediate reconsideration” to better support all international students.

“[Reconsideration] is in America’s best interest, and, we believe, simply the right thing to do,” DuBois said.

Despite clearly opposing ICE’s new policies, Penn State didn’t comment on whether or not it would work with international students and their advisors to ensure they’re taking in-person classes to remain in the country.

The university will continue modifying course deliveries this summer as it considers room availabilities, class sizes, and social distancing capabilities. Penn State plans to finalize how most students’ courses will be delivered by July 15.

If forced to return home to take online classes this fall, international students may face hurdles, including unstable internet connections and non-flexible time zone restrictions.

Although Penn State still plans to return to in-person instruction this fall, the university expressed it’s prepared to revert to remote learning if necessary. Other notable universities, such as Rutgers, Harvard, and USC, have already announced plans to move online this fall.

DuBois urges international students to contact their academic adviser or Penn State’s Directorate of International Student and Scholar Advising at 814-865-6348 to learn more about how these new policies may affect them. They can also submit their questions online.

Additionally, Penn State’s Global Programs office has provided a lengthy list of answers to international students’ frequently asked questions. Still, they’re encouraged to reach out to advisers to receive guidance for their specific situations.

We’ll update this post as more information becomes available.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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