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Penn State, Higher Education Groups Oppose New Visa Changes

Penn State joined other Pennsylvania universities and higher education groups in opposing a new proposed visa rule change that regulates the admission period structure for select nonimmigrant visas.

Currently, F-1 Visa holders, the category for the majority of international students at Penn State, are allowed to stay in the United States until they meet their program requirements or finish their program of study, with no specific expiration date.

With the new proposed regulation, F-1 visas would expire in exactly four years unless the student is a resident of a country with a visa overstay rate greater than 10% or resident of a country from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list. In those cases, the visa will be valid for two years only.

The university expressed concern that the change in the duration of the status rule could make the United States a less desirable destination for prospective undergraduate and graduate international students. They felt it would also lead to detrimental economic effects.

Penn State signed a comment letter about the decision of the Department of Homeland Security to change the duration of status to fixed terms of two or four years. Other universities like the University of Pittsburgh, University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, Temple University, Lehigh University, Drexel University, and Villanova University also added their support.

“Together with our higher education partners across the commonwealth and the country, we have shared our concerns that this rule is not in the best interests of students, and that it also weakens the capacity of the United States to attract the best and brightest students from around the world.”

Penn State provided input in two other comment letters submitted by American Council on Education (ACE) and the Association of American Universities (AAU). 

“Our international students are valuable members of our University community, and we will continue to do everything we can to support their continued growth and academic success as Penn Staters,” Provost Nick Jones said in a release.

Currently, Penn State has more than 11,000 international students, scholars, and faculty coming from over 140 countries. In 2019, international students contributed almost $41 billion to the U.S. economy.

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About the Author

Renata Daou

Renata is a junior majoring in International Politics and one of Onward State's contributors. She's from Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil and no, she doesn't live in the middle of the Amazon forest. She likes learning new languages, reading, writing, and talking about the one time she went bungee jumping.
Follow her on Twitter @renatadaou to see her rant in Portenglish or e-mail her at [email protected] for serious inquires.

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