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Federal Government Rescinds Updated International Student Policies

The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have agreed to roll back an updated policy that would prevent international students who are taking online-only courses this fall from remaining in the United States, a federal court announced at a hearing Tuesday.

Instead, the government will return to previous guidelines issued in March that allow students who are studying online to reside in the country on F-1 visas.

Decided by federal judge Allison D. Burroughs, the lawsuit resolved fewer than five minutes into Tuesday’s hearing, according to The Harvard Crimson. The lawsuit, initially filed by Harvard and MIT, was supported by an amicus brief signed by nearly 60 colleges and universities, including Penn State.

Under the initial guidance issued on July 6, international students would’ve needed to take at least one in-person class this fall to not risk deportation, and visas wouldn’t have been issued to new students studying online. Additionally, students who had returned to their home countries wouldn’t have been able to enter the United States this fall if their classes were exclusively online.

“We are very pleased with this outcome, which we supported in an amicus brief submitted to the court yesterday,” university spokesperson Wyatt DuBois said. “We hope this news will come as a relief to our international community and we look forward to welcoming them back to our campuses this fall.”

When the now-defunct policy was updated earlier this month, Penn State President Eric Barron called for its “immediate rescission” and said the university firmly stood against actions that would harm international students.

We’ll update this story with more information as it 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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