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Visas of Students Taking Online Classes at Risk

ICE announces sweeping changes to the temporary modifications in effect

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Yesterday, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced–on behalf of the Student Exchange & Visitor Program (SEVP) that acts for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)–a modification to the temporary exemption regarding the number of online classes that international students are allowed to take before their visa status could be jeopardized. During non-COVID times, there are strict rules on the number of online classes that international students can take, which SEVP relaxed during the spring 2020 semester when many universities were forced to move their courses online due to the pandemic. Even though the pandemic is very much still here, SEVP has now severely curtailed international students' ability to remain in the United States if their university goes fully, or in some cases partly, online. The rules in effect now read [grammar errors theirs]:

  1. Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States. Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.

  2. Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations. Eligible F students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.

  3. Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools adopting a hybrid model—that is, a mixture of online and in person classes—will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. These schools must certify to SEVP, through the Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status," certifying that the program is not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load this semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program. The above exemptions do not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs or M-1 students pursing vocational degrees, who are not permitted to enroll in any online courses.

This change, which comes a mere month or two before most universities will resume classes, is highly problematic for many reasons and defies common sense.

First, in many parts of the country the pandemic is causing no fewer problems than it was causing in the spring. Indeed, many states are reporting more new cases per day than ever before. Given that the rules apply nationally and that the nation as a whole continues to experience a high level of problems, now is not the time to impose restrictions on online instruction.

Second, universities heavily rely on the revenue from international student tuition (one estimate places the national figure at $41 billion a year). Endangering that revenue at a time when universities have already taken serious financial hits is both irresponsible and stands on even thinner logical ground than the "foreigners steal our jobs" line of argument.

Third, this announcement could incentivize universities even in precarious areas to opt for reopening in person even if doing so presents large public health dangers. And no university is its own bubble–disease can and will spread to the surrounding communities and far beyond.

Fourth, even for schools that believe (rightly or wrongly) that a safe reopening is possible, circumstances could change mid-semester and force a move to online classes. This could throw international students into a chaotic situation where their status remains unclear or where they have to scramble to attempt returning to their countries when travel may or may not be possible. Indeed, for schools that have already announced a move to online classes, some international students may find themselves stranded as soon as this summer given that travel to some locations is significantly impaired as it is.

Fifth, there is a serious concern about the reliance interests of students who have paid tuition and/or rented apartments with the assumption that the rules from spring would continue into fall–reasonably so, given that it's already July. We may soon see litigation that seeks to protect these interests.

Last, having reviewed all the costs from the rule, what exactly is the benefit? There is no pressing reason to prohibit international students from taking most or all of their classes online. Any students who abuse their visa status (such as by working off-campus in prohibited ways) can lose their benefits either way. We also haven't seen a wave of students coming to the U.S. to take advantage of the online-course exemptions from the spring, for some kind of nefarious purpose or otherwise.

As it is, the United States' handling of the pandemic has made the country lose much credibility. Between that and the tightening of other immigration benefits, such as the refusal to issue most H-1B visas and green cards for the rest of the year that I discussed previously, we risk losing international talent in ways that will greatly hurt both the economy and the progress of science. Hopefully university-based and popular pressure will prevail in having SEVP continue the exemptions from the spring into the fall semester.

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180 responses to “Visas of Students Taking Online Classes at Risk

  1. If classes are being taken online…why is being in the US a necessity? Visas hardly seem to be required for an online class.

    1. Because they won’t be online permanently. You might as well ask why students don’t fly home on the weekends.

      1. Then we can address the situation when the classes are not online anymore.

        That is not the case currently.

        As for the author:

        “Fifth, there is a serious concern about the reliance interests of students who have paid tuition and/or rented apartments with the assumption that the rules from spring would continue into fall–reasonably so, given that it’s already July. We may soon see litigation that seeks to protect these interests.”

        Sounds like an issue for the college and whomever they rented from, not the government itself.

        1. Getting your visa yanked kinda makes the ability to re-address the situation pretty difficult.

          1. No harder than when you first received it.

            1. No, it is harder. Because now you have to do it all over again in mid educational trajectory without notice.

              1. Therse are Harvard students who managed to get these visas before.

                Things are seldom harder the second time you do them.

                1. You clearly don’t know much about the visa process.

                  There’s a lot of luck and waiting involved. Any change in status is a threat to your career.

                  This is losing us some very smart would-be Americans.

          2. Getting your visa yanked

            They are free to transfer to an in person college.

            1. 1) not at this short notice

              2) students aren’t just interchangeable. What if they’re working in a lab? What if they’re supporting research from a government grant?

        2. I think the reliance interests for F-1 students already in the US are substantial and there should be a hardship exemption for them.

          But that doesn’t apply to prospective F-1 students who have not yet obtained a visa.

        3. “Fifth, there is a serious concern about the reliance interests of students who have paid tuition and/or rented apartments with the assumption that the [temporary]rules from spring would continue into fall–reasonably so, given that it’s already July.”

          I’d argue the government relied on colleges re-opening, and did this the day after Harvard announced it would not reopen.

          But how is this different from those who relied on the SALT deduction remaining and bought an expensive house in NYC?

          1. The amount of process and consideration involved in the policy change.

        4. It’s easy to overcome the reliance interest: simply mandate that Harvard and MIT provide in-person instruction and prohibit them from offering classes online.

          1. How? They’re private institutions.

      2. What I’ve read said the Visa will only be revoked if the school intends to be online for the entire year. Time period does matter.

        1. Harvard has some pretty neat students I hear.

          Ah well, who needs top talent?

          1. And they’ll still be students at Harvard and attending all their classes with or without a Visa if Harvard has all online classes. The only way students are harmed here, is if a school decides to flip flop on them on short notice. Going from all classes will be online to you must attend this class in person. If that happens, the people to blame are the college.

          2. “Harvard has some pretty neat students I hear.”

            Oh dear, Harvard students will be inconvenienced.

            I shall cry myself to sleep tonight because some wealthy foreign elites have to live back home in their mansions.

            1. You don’t want wealthy foreign elites pumping millions of dollars into the U.S. economy in the middle of a severe recession?

              1. Don’t care. Its a trivial amount of money anyways.

                1. “Don’t care.”

                  That’s how better Americans are starting to feel about the clingers. Why should educated, successful, accomplished, modern communities subsidize desolate, can’t-keep-up backwaters?

                  Rural electrification was a bad idea, for example.

                2. As touching as your concern for the family of the least-senior member of the Harvard janitorial staff is, the amount of money spent by international students is more than the GDP of some of the smaller states.

                  1. They’re still spending it — Harvard hasn’t gone free.

                    1. Not on room and board. And not at local, off-campus business.

            2. It’s not the student’s I’m worried about, Bob.

          3. Didn’t Harvard say, for every student accepted, there are N other students rejected who are just as talented?

            1. Do you believe that?

              1. Actually no. For every average Harvard student, there are probably several academically stronger Asians with bad personality who were rejected.

                1. Bad personalities?

                  1. Yes that is what Harvard basically says. Their personalities are deficient in a way that Harvard can expertly discern.

                    1. That’s…pretty dumb and bad.

                      But I don’t understand why you think Harvard’s admissions office’s press releases have anything to do with the policy question here, unless you agree with them. Which it does not appear you do.

            2. N other AMERICAN students.

              1. It looks like you’re saying that for any given talented foreign student, there is an American student who is as talented or better.

                Do you believe this?

        2. Not according to the OP. What was quoted there says that it applies to being entirely online for the full *semester* and not the full year.

          My Chinese friend (admitted to Pepperdine U, here in California, for a graduate programme this fall), just sent me Pepperdine’s solution, which is to be online but with a required 3-day in-person component. Which, presumably, was run by the school’s counsel to confirm that it creates an exception to Trump’s “I’m Running For President Again, So Time to Go After Lawful Fur’ner Students” new orders.

          1. Then your Chinese friend is fine

            This is pretty simple. If they need to be here in person for classes, then they need a visa. If they don’t need to be here in person for classes, then they don’t.

            1. That is how I read it as well.

          2. “a required 3-day in-person component”

            Gotta keep that sweet Chinese money flowing.

            Any Uighurs going to Pepperdine these days?

            1. Might be some Uighur kidneys, probably not whole Uighurs, though. They retail for more on the parts market.

              1. Yeah, well for a Trump fan to express sympathy for the Uighurs is pretty disgusting.

                1. bernard,
                  I’d say that any mention of the Uighurs is welcome from whatever quarter. (sometimes you have to hold your nose)
                  Xi prefers that the world forgets them all

                2. That no progs seem willing to do so seems pretty damning.

                  1. What could Dems do right now, dam? Seems more in the Presidential side of things, no?

            2. I’m pretty sure these students don’t have a lot to do with Chinese Uighur policy.

              You’ll just look for any excuse to hate someone, won’t you?

          3. So basically the college had to at least pay lip service to the justification for student visa’s instead of ignoring them completely. How is this a bad thing?

            1. Because it’s dopey to force a school to do this. I am not saying it’s illegal to do it, just dumb. I presume that, next, schools will say, “In each semester, there will be just a 1-day in-person component.” And then, “Each semester, there will be a single 15-minute in-person component.” All of which can be justified on a pedagogical basis. But dumb nonetheless.

              The policy makes sense if your end goal is to keep super-smart foreigners out of our country. But just about all economists agree that it’s exactly these sorts of people (smart, motivated, dedicated) that countries are dying to attract. Because a lot of them will want to stay here after graduation and will add enormously to our economy.

              Again: Not an illegal policy. Just a very stupid one. And obviously timed for an election year, to hopefully motivate the rabid fringe “anti-all-immigrants” wing of Trump’s base. I think it’s perfectly fair, and perfectly reasonable to point out these weaknesses in the policy.

              1. “Because it’s dopey to force a school to do this”

                Let’s be clear who’s doing the dopey thing. It’s the school. It’s a clear attempt to get their students visas, even though the students don’t need the visas to attend the school (because the classes are online). Again, this is simple. If the students don’t need to be there in person, then they don’t need a visa.

                Realistically, what should happen is ICE should say that students require at least 5 hours a week of in person classes in order to qualify for a visa.

                1. You already know my feelings about the policy itself. But I completely agree with your last point…if you’re gonna screw foreign students, don’t give schools the ability to evade the real purpose, simply by allowing school to enact a “37 seconds in-person component per semester” requirement.

                2. even though the students don’t need the visas to attend the school (because the classes are online).

                  As always, the know-nothings… well, know nothing.

                  They may not have access to online resources in their home countries, either because those countries do not have reliable Internet service in the first place or because those countries’ governments censor, restrict, or block such access. (The students may not even be able to get to their home countries because Trump did such a terrible job at dealing with coronavirus that the U.S. is being quarantined.)

                  Time zones may make attending online class a bit difficult. Yeah, that’s a solvable issue, but why should it need to be? There is no gain to the U.S. whatsoever from this policy. It’s just a “fuck you, foreigners” policy.

                  1. Oh look, it’s our resident “Look I’m a lawyer, I promise, even though I don’t know law” idiot.

                    Good think I can skip the post.

                    1. Your (canned??) response might be more effective in other posts. But here, David’s comment seems pretty spot-on. He gave a bunch of very logical reasons why the policy is bad. You can agree with them or not agree. But dismissing them out of hand does no credit to you.

                    2. An actual lawyer being criticized for being an online lawyer, by online lawyer “Armchair Lawyer”. WTF. You can google him. He’s a real lawyer. Unlike you or I, cowards behind pseudonyms, he plays for real.

                      Let’s diagnose you. You’re 3-7 years out of law school. Your basic knowledge of procedure suggests you never survived doing civil lit even at a shit outfit, or never tried. No crim law interest or proficiency. I think you’re probably a government lawyer or non law job hobbyist.

                      Tell me I’m wrong.

                    3. So you have no response to DMN’s points?

              2. It forces them to physically show up.

                1. We could tack on a $1000 surcharge and hire ICE agents to do bedchecks….

      3. But, if they’re online for an entire term, then they can just get the visa and fly here once the in person term starts.

        1. You have no idea how visas work, do you?

          1. Why don’t you explain it for me genius, in detail, so I can point out (once again) exactly how you are wrong. It’s a common here.

            1. Well, lets start with the fact that you cannot ‘just get’ a visa once things restart.

              What kind of expertise do you claim in immigration law? Because believe it or not my job involves some understanding of student visas.

              The number of times people have to correct you and your armchair legal mind is nontrivial. Coming in preemptively hot like that just makes you look foolish.

      4. But they may be online for the entire academic year.

    2. This pretty much. If you schooling is entirely online due to concerns about in person interactions, then your location no longer matters. If your location no longer matters, then you have no school related reason to be in the states, so why would Student Visa’s allow you to stay in the states if you have no School related reason to stay in the states?

      1. One response is that, for many fields, being in America itself offers educational opportunities that are not available when online and abroad. Obvious examples are for those studying: Architecture, Urban Planning, Sociology, Anthropology, Photography (and other fine arts)…where being able to observe buildings in person, or how our Metro is set up (etc etc) is qualitatively different from seeing it only online. In addition, it’s easy to imagine a Fall semester where, say, public libraries are open while universities are still only online. Students here have access to the resources of our libraries (archives, etc), while online students can only access the much much much more limited online resources.

        In other words. Missing out on in-person instruction is only one of the things a foreign student (who is forbidden to enter) is denied. [There are, of course, other fields where doing instruction online might present little or no hardship. Math or chemistry, perhaps??]

        1. How is the foreign student going home to Guangzhou any more disadvantaged in that regard than an American student going home to Muleshoe, TX?

          1. The Texan doesn’t have to go back to Muleshoe.

            1. If the Texan wants to go back to Muleshoe, it’s probably worthwhile to find a better student.

          2. How is the foreign student going home to Guangzhou any more disadvantaged in that regard than an American student going home to Muleshoe, TX?

            There have been a number of answers provided to that question. I’ll add that when it’s time to come back the guy in Muleshoe just gets in his car and drives to Austin or wherever in a few hours. The guy in Guangzhou has a harder time.

    3. That was my thought, too.

    4. Ever heard of time differences?

      Among many other things.

    5. Last, having reviewed all the costs from the rule, what exactly is the benefit?

      If they are physically on *a* campus, they aren’t wandering around the country plotting to blow up the World Trade Center.

      Oh, wait, that’s already been done…

  2. Going to an online only format demonstrates a school does not take its product seriously. Saying schools rely on foreign money shows these are not institutions serving the public interests.

    Why should Americans not take these admissions against interest to heart?

    1. Who is stopping you?

      1. Irinia seems to think we shouldn’t update policy to reflect the newly revealed truth.

        1. You mean she disagrees with you?

          1. No, that alone would be fine. Instead she engaged in a bunch of word salad to get around the core issues people have with the higher education model, and online classes. Instead she made a bunch of points which, as a whole, actually indicate that US interests would not be served by retaining visas for online only students.

            1. Why would the interests not be served?

              The only interest being served by this policy is Trump’s never-ending desire to be cruel to foreigners, to play to his base’s xenophobis.

              The policy is BS. It’s worse than BS.

              1. Some of the points made are odd. For example, the point about revenue from foreign students.

                So, is a foreign student going to drop going to a university if they switch from in person classes to online classes? Perhaps, there are plenty of good arguments why in person classes are better. But, the universities have made the choice to switch to online classes.

                So, a foreign student can either study online at a US University, from his wonderful own home, OR….from a house in America. Same course, same online-only. But they’re going to drop it if they don’t get their magical visa to come to America?

                If that’s the case, then what is the University REALLY offering these students? An education? Or are they REALLY getting a student visa, and that’s the real draw, not the education? And if they don’t get their student visa, they’ll drop the US education?

                1. Ah, now see that’s a good point. I didn’t get that from Allutz, but yes, if a college is worries a huge chunk of students will drop out if they do their online courses from home country instead of renting a house in America to take online courses from. The colleges are all but admitting they aren’t selling an education but a Visa.

                  1. That is indeed one point. What is the US interest in giving a VISA to someone in that situation?

                    But also I think, more widely, given that IMO going online only is an abdication of the goal of meaningfully educating people, and universities are saying, “well its the same education and same degree” they are saying that the overall university mission is no longer to serve the public good. If it is not, then there is no logical reason to give the system a carve out in the immigration system.

                    In addition, she lists school finances as the #2 reason and litigation as #6. That is just purely advocating for greed. If a firefighter came out with an article about increasing funding for the fire department and one of his top 3 reasons in the article is, “well we could pay firefighters more,” he has written a very uncompelling argument.

                    I can come up with a bunch of reasons that are all better than any of Irinia’s even if not compelling to me on the whole:

                    1. Students from China and other oppressive regimes will not be able to have academic freedom while zoom studying from their home countries.
                    2. Online classes are enacted to protect professors and staff, students, who are largely not at risk, will still be able to network, socialize, and do other activities on campus.
                    3. A vaccine could be developed at any time allowing for universities to mass vaccinate and re-open at a moments notice.
                    4. Valuable resources like libraries and labs are on campus and will be open to students even with remote classrooms.

                    Those are 4 better reasons than the 5(or 6) cited in the article that I banged out in 5 minutes.

                    1. “1. Students from China and other oppressive regimes will not be able to have academic freedom while zoom studying from their home countries.”

                      It’s not clear that using zoom from a US dorm room is any safer for Chinese students.

                    2. I didn’t say they were GREAT Brett. I merely was clearing the lowest of bars of being more intelligent than this blog’s immigration doves.

                2. So, is a foreign student going to drop going to a university if they switch from in person classes to online classes? Perhaps, there are plenty of good arguments why in person classes are better. But, the universities have made the choice to switch to online classes.

                  It’s not just a simple decision. Being in the US may indeed be a factor that makes as student choose an American university over a domestic one. I think most students deciding where to attend college give some weight to location. What’s wrong with that, exactly, unless you think, as some here do, that any foreigner’s presence on American soil is a defilement?

                  So maybe the student chooses to attend a domestic, possibly in-person, probably cheaper, school instead. But now the continuity is gone and they may well not come back when classes here are taught in person. So yeah. That’s lost revenue.

                  1. ” I think most students deciding where to attend college give some weight to location.”

                    Absolutely. Location plays a major role. But the shift to an online-only education severely, if not entirely limits and/or eliminates this. If you’re sitting at home taking classes online, then it doesn’t matter if the school is in Boston or Beijing…you’re still at home.

                    Again, this is pretty simple. We give visas to those who need them. If you need to be here for in person classes, then a visa is entirely appropriate. But if you don’t need to be here…then why should you get a long term, non-tourist, visa for classes that you could be easily taking at home.

                    You may be aware, there is a large amount of student visa fraud from people who come here to “study” but actually just want to be in the US. And there are reasons to limit this sort of fraud. “Online-only” classes CLEARLY don’t require an in-person presence, nor a visa, and are VERY susceptible to fraud.

                    1. You may be aware, there is a large amount of student visa fraud from people who come here to “study” but actually just want to be in the US.

                      Do we outlaw credit cards because there’s a large amount of credit card fraud?

                    2. You may be aware, there is a large amount of student visa fraud from people who come here to “study” but actually just want to be in the US.

                      Actually, there’s so little of such fraud that ICE had to manufacture its own in order to find people to punish for it.

                      Reason has been covering this story for a while now.

                3. It’s long been known that colleges are selling visas.

    2. Saying schools rely on foreign money shows these are not institutions serving the public interests.

      WTF? That makes no sense. Lots of these schools, especially state universities, would have to charge more to American students if there weren’t so many foreigners paying full freight.

      Given Trump’s attitude towards trade, you’d think he consider that “winning.” But hey, don’t miss a chance to make a foreigner’s life more difficult.

      1. Your perspective is somewhat skewed I think, because of the issue at hand. Imagine it’s not about visas and Trump.

        The taxpayers of a state are the primary means of support for the school, and thus should be the school’s primary client. That they have come to rely on foreign students paying more than their willing/able to charge state residents (or even out of state residents) means that the college business model was looking at them for extra revenue, rather than the foreign students being needed to make ends meet.

        Now they have come to rely on that extra income, making them shunt aside their primary constituents, that is, state residents.

        1. the college business model was looking at them for extra revenue, rather than the foreign students being needed to make ends meet.

          Huh?

          What are you talking about? I don’t understand your point at all.

          The extra money does benefit the state taxpayers, or in-state students. It’s just arithmetic.

          1. Tuition for domestic students has increased much more quickly than inflation in spite of the speedy uptick in the numbers of foreign students paying full boat. This is an indication that the system is no longer one that serves the public interest. Institutions that have maintained an eye on the public interest have been able to freeze tuition.

            1. Thank you for explaining it better than I.

              Also, considering that there are only a certain number of slots for students, how many of those slots are getting taken up by foreign students rather than in-state residents, who are supposed to be the primary target of state colleges.

              Look, if a private college wants to go all Chinese, it has every right (sorta, if they take federal funding) but State U. wasn’t built for them, it was build for in-state students.

            2. They can freeze tuition increases by spending taxpayer money on cheaper tuition. One way to avoid having to ask taxpayers for more money, is to defray some of the costs by raising out-of-state tuition.

              1. That isn’t what happens though. The money that foreign students bring in is used to hire non-faculty staff and build new construction for the purpose of… attracting more out of state students that will pay higher tuition.

                1. It’s a state school. The state can spend the money how they want. The states don’t need your permission to spend the money foolishly. If the states think it makes more sense to draw out-of-state, high-tuition paying students, rather than raise taxes, that’s their business.

                  1. The states would be spending very differently I would think if they hadn’t ceded almost total control over state schools to tenured faculty and deans.

            3. Tuition for domestic students has increased much more quickly than inflation in spite of the speedy uptick in the numbers of foreign students paying full boat. This is an indication that the system is no longer one that serves the public interest.

              It’s no such indication at all. Where do you get that from?

              Institutions that have maintained an eye on the public interest have been able to freeze tuition.

              I’m not aware there are a lot of institutions that have frozen tuition. If some state schools have, that would seem to be due partly, if not entirely, to their legislatures being more generous than others.

              It might also, of course, be due to cutbacks in courses offered and so on.

              1. Not at all. Institutions that have frozen tuition such as Perdue and public Texas schools have done it all by simply slowing down new construction and hiring fewer non-faculty staff.

              2. One should note that a constituent of tuition is to cover costs specifically related to a students presence at the physical plant of the university. Not surprisingly the 60% of Harvard students who will not be “invited back” to campus in the fall are very unhappy about having the same tuition requested as they would if they were on campus.

            4. Also, considering that there are only a certain number of slots for students, how many of those slots are getting taken up by foreign students rather than in-state residents, who are supposed to be the primary target of state colleges.

              Capacity is no fixed in stone. What if the revenue from foreign students lets the school expand its capacity by more than the number of foreign students admitted? What if it expands just enough to handle the foreigners, but there is extra money so that in-state tuition is lower than otherwise?

              What you are essentially arguing is that the administrators who do these things are basically making a big mistake, or are not attuned to the needs of those they should be serving.

              I suspect those administrators have a somewhat deeper understanding of the finances of higher education than a bunch of Internet commenters, your preconceived notions notwithstanding.

              1. So, do you have anything other than conjecture to add?

              2. Second thought, do you have any evidence that capacity has increased due to more foreign students?

                1. Per my sister (tenured prof at McGill, and prior head of her dept). Foreign student tuition is a major source of revenue to her programme of Urban Planning. Without this income, teachers need to be let go (ie, fewer domestic students can attend) or prices for local or domestic students need to be massively raised.

                  This is just basic economics. And I get that one anecdote is not actual data. But common sense has to have some weight, no? And, to put it another way; Mad, do you have any evidence that capacity has not increased due to more foreign students?

                  (When the controversy hit about celebrities and other filthy-rich folk were paying to “sneak” their kids into good school, one of my reactions was, “Well, if that person’s daughter took up the spot that should have gone to a more-deserving student, then we should legalize this…A $500,000 payment to the school and/or specific department would allow for the hiring of another teacher or two, which would allow 25 additional worthy students to attend…win-win!.)

                  More money = more teachers = more students can attend. (With some tiny exceptions, I’m sure, where a school is geographically tiny and simply does not have the space for additional classes to be taught, regardless of budget for teachers and administrators.)

                  1. “McGill”

                    What country is that in?

                    1. Do economics act differently up north or something?

                    2. SarcastrO,
                      I think Bob was joking there. (I hope so, or his comment makes no sense…at least not in regards to any country that does not give an unlimited budget to its universities.) The similar concerns facing Canadian and American universities in this regard are self-evident . . . and, I am presuming, to Bob as well.

                2. do you have anything other than conjecture to add?

                  Do you have anything but your imaginings? My first take is that when lots of schools adopt similar policies that those policies probably make sense. That’s what I think is called a rebuttable presumption. You haven’t done any rebutting.

                3. Do you have any evidence that foreign students have crowded out domestic students? Or do you just get to make assertions?

                  You know, having your kid get turned down by the state university is not a happy experience. I rather imagine that state legislators would be pretty sensitive to voters complaining about foreign students getting in while their constituents don’t, and that budgets are affected.

        2. State taxpayers aren’t the primary source of funding for most state universities. Tuition/room and board, endowments, and grants are.

          1. I admittedly spoke to broadly and upon an older model where tuition wasn’t so high.

          2. Public institutions received the largest proportion of their revenues from government sources (including federal, state, and local government3 grants, contracts, and appropriations), which constituted 41 percent of their overall revenues, while student tuition and fees constituted the largest primary source of revenue at private for-profit institutions (94 percent). At private nonprofit institutions, all other revenue sources (including gifts, capital or private grants and contracts, hospital revenue, sales and services of educational activities, and other revenue) constituted 32 percent of overall revenues, and student tuition and fees constituted 31 percent of overall revenues.

            https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cud.asp

        3. “The taxpayers of a state are the primary means of support for the school, and thus should be the school’s primary client.”

          The visa policy applies to private and public schools.

          “Now they have come to rely on that extra income, making them shunt aside their primary constituents, that is, state residents.”

          It’s the exact opposite. If they can use out-of-state money to decrease the tuition burden on in-state students, or the tax burden on the state, that’s core “primary constituents” service.

          1. “It’s the exact opposite. If they can use out-of-state money to decrease the tuition burden on in-state students, or the tax burden on the state, that’s core “primary constituents” service.”

            This is always a bit of odd logic for a state school: “We have to admit more out of state people and less in state people in order drive revenues up”

            The primary and core goals of any state-run educational facility should be helping to educate their state’s residents. If you’re making decisions that reduce the number of state residents able to attend the university, to the benefit of out of state or foreign students, then something is very wrong with the decision making process. Something along the lines of “we had to destroy the village in order to save it”

            1. “The primary and core goals of any state-run educational facility…”

              Is whatever the state wants it to be, not what Armchair Lawyer decides is the Platonic Ideal of primary and core goals for sate-run educational facilities. States spend money on all sorts of educational facilities whose primary purpose is not to educate the state’s residents. (Research facilities, as an example.) If a state wants to use its state university system to increase tourism, it can do that.

              “If you’re making decisions that reduce the number of state residents able to attend the university…”

              That’s not necessarily what is happening, just because you keep insisting it to be the case. Further, if a state can use out-of-state tuition to make in-state tuition more affordable for residents, that serves even your “primary and core goal” of helping to educate the state’s residents.

              1. So….maybe it’s just me….

                But if the state-funded, state university has a major goal, the enrolling and teaching of foreign students, as opposed to its own state’s student’s….

                This is just me, but as a state taxpayer in said state, I would have a problem with that.

                Perhaps you think differently.

                1. The “as opposed” is not justified.

                  Enrolling foreign students does not necessarily reduce opportunities for state residents. It may increase them.

                2. You’re an uncreative idiot. It’s not surprising that your “it’s just me” isn’t how any state, blue or red, behaves. I think differently from you. So does Texas.

          2. But has tuition decreased to in-state residents due to more foreign students? Sadly, no, it has not. Tuition goes up at faster than the rate of inflation while there are more and more foreign students added.

            You have to show some actual data that foreign students are subsidizing in-state students. I’m open to the idea that perhaps as foreign student population of a state U has gone up, the rate of tuition increase is less than say, a state U that has fewer foreign students.

            1. “Tuition goes up at faster than the rate of inflation while there are more and more foreign students added.”

              Right. It’s possible that in-state tuition rate increases would have gone up faster without the out-of-state rate subsidizing.

              Anyway, the states are free to let whomever they want into college, at whatever rate they want. And the state of Texas doesn’t have to justify its decisions to someone you (unless you’re from Texas).

            2. Tuition goes up at faster than the rate of inflation while there are more and more foreign students added.

              The problem with that argument, even assuming it’s correct, is that you’re talking about sticker price, not actual tuition.

      2. Lots of these schools, especially state universities, would have to charge more to American students if there weren’t so many foreigners paying full freight.

        Or they would have to cut costs and reduce their inflated tuitions?

    3. “online only format demonstrates a school does not take its product seriously.”
      You are quite ignorant about such matters

  3. This is just another anti-immigrant action taken by this administration. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense so long as his base believes he’s looking after them.

    1. If classes are online, why is being here needed?

    2. Send the aliens home AND hurt American hating institutions, win/win!

      1. When foreigners attend our great colleges & want to stay in the U.S., they should not be thrown out of our country.

        -Donald Trump.

        https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/633695559900073984

  4. Martial arts instruction is stopped due to COVID-19. I have taken seminar lessons for both kendo and iaido from sensei in Japan, Chile, Canada, and the US all without leaving home in the past 3 months. I have also conducted telemedicine visits for patients 100s of miles away. I’m pretty much ok with the proposed rule.

  5. “We may soon see litigation that seeks to protect these interests.”

    No doubt already filed in Hawaii.

    1. If anti-ACA cases can routinely be filed in Texas then immigration cases can be filed in Hawaii.

  6. This whole paragraph below smacks of elitist assumptions. So much so that it just shows the complete disconnect academia has from the world at large.
    -Online students don’t need to be physically in the United States to take online classes. Maybe if a student comes here to take residential classes in good faith then the campus suddenly closes that should go into renewed consideration, but just because schools fleece international students for revenue does not present a compelling reason that our immigration policy should bow down to that need.
    -Who cares about H1B visas when US citizens are out of work. Talent is here. Companies should hire it before importing it. That is a pretty basic operation of a sovereign country.
    -Lastly, only liberal elite are concerned about so-called “credibility” we have with frankly European elites. No one else does.

    “As it is, the United States’ handling of the pandemic has made the country lose much credibility. Between that and the tightening of other immigration benefits, such as the refusal to issue most H-1B visas and green cards for the rest of the year that I discussed previously, we risk losing international talent in ways that will greatly hurt both the economy and the progress of science. Hopefully university-based and popular pressure will prevail in having SEVP continue the exemptions from the spring into the fall semester.”

    1. While I agree with some of your points . . .
      “-Lastly, only liberal elite are concerned about so-called “credibility” we have with frankly European elites. No one else does.”

      This is laughably wrong. Republican politicians and political commentators talk ALL THE TIME about how America is seen as inept or corrupt or engaging in improper wars. BUT, BUT BUT . . . these people only do this when Obama or Bill Clinton is president. When a democrat is in the Oval Office, then it is *really* important to Republicans when the world looks askance at America and American actions. But when Trump became president and every country on earth (exceptions: Israel, Russia, N. Korea, India, and maybe China) started laughing AT us, that ridicule suddenly became meaningless, and you never heard any of the opinion whores at Fox News lament this fall from grace.

      Fair? Balanced? You be the judge. [trademark!!!] 😉

  7. On the plus side, ICE has started training their own version of the SA! So they should have no shortage of manpower for kicking out all of these students taking our jobs:

    https://twitter.com/A_Huebner/status/1280257924137390085

    (Sorry, “Enforcement and Removal Operations Citizens Academy”.)

    1. And there is something wrong with this?

    2. Okay, I give up.

      What part of that is supposed to be objectionable?

      1. Did you read past “to whom it may concern”? Because, I’ll admit, that part is fine. But literally every single sentence after that gives me the heebie-jeebies, and if you can’t imagine why every libertarian and liberal who speaks English would have that reaction, you need to have your head examined.

        O, and bonus points for the fact that ICE somehow has plenty of PPE for these citizen removal volunteers, but not for the actual people trying to challenge their deportation, or their lawyers.

        1. These sorts of programs are pretty common for law enforcement agencies, and are usually seen as a positive way to help the community understand and engage with the work that they’re doing. (It’s certainly played an important role in my local department’s community policing strategy.) Can you point to what aspects of the program you think warrant a comparison to the Nazis?

          And do you feel similarly about this similar program run by a different ICE component since 2014?

          https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/hsi-san-juan-graduates-sixth-cohort-hsi-citizens-academy

          1. Absolutely. It’s bad enough that various law enforcement organisations seem to think that it’s their job to wage war on the civilian population without them enlisting civilians as a fifth column.

            1. It seems like you think that these programs are designed to turn the “graduates” into some kind of police auxiliary. If so, you’re wrong: the point is to have interested community members learn a little bit about the agency and what their job entails and to make personal connections with some of the people who work there, which most normal people think is a good thing.

              (I also find it bizarre that you view citizens assisting the police as both treasonous and tantamount to Naziism.)

    3. Martinned, does the Netherlands enforce its immigration laws? With trained officers?

      1. Gotta do something to keep out the Belgians.

  8. “Second, universities heavily rely on the revenue from international student tuition (one estimate places the national figure at $41 billion a year).”

    Well, let’s open those dine-in restaurants and hairdressers now!

    1. Lockdown protesters deserve to be treated like criminals and have their health insurance revoked. Social justice protestors are patriots and we should praise them for their nobel cause. That sort of logic apparently works when immigrants fund your institution also.

      Whatever is good for liberals = OK! Anything else = Evil!

      1. What makes you think that protesting against police brutality isn’t good for everybody?

  9. I was shocked when I scrolled down past the first I of the name and didn’t see who I expected.

      1. Heh [a genuinely funny comment!]

  10. I don’t know if Trump, or someone close to him, thought this up, but bravo. You see, the university system is a taxpayer funded institutional base of liberal/progressive support (like NPR). Moreover, much of what can be seen as regressive in the PC movement directly was an outgrowth of the XXXX-studies departments going mainstream.

    This is politics, in other words. Republicans are finally punishing their enemies.

    1. “Yeah. Let’s close all the universities. Republicans don’t need no fancy book-larnin’ ”

      Right? Because that’s exactly what you and your allies on this thread are saying.

      The fact of the matter is that the American university system is one of the glories of this country. That Republicans want to tear it down is tragic, but in keeping with their general attitude towards anything that smacks of intellectual activity. Kind of like the Cultural Revolution.

      1. With respect bernard 11, I don’t think this is what anyone is saying = Yeah. Let’s close all the universities. Republicans don’t need no fancy book-larnin and your comparison to Mao’s Cultural Revolution is especially inapt. You know better.

        Look, Congress wrote the law. ICE is enforcing the law as written. If you don’t like it, then change the law. That is how our system works. With the exception of Iranian and Chinese students, I would like to see these students stay here in the US, personally.

        One thing not addressed are the exquisitely documented activities of Chinese graduate students in theft of IP. To me, there are legitimate national security issues there.

        1. Read some of the comments here, and on other threads dealing with universities. Here’s one:

          Send the aliens home AND hurt American hating institutions, win/win!

          As far as IP goes that’s not a problem created by letting students stay here and take classes online. Whatever the size of the problem, it’s irrelevant to the issue at at hand.

  11. This change . . . defies common sense.

    Er, no, common sense is exactly what it has on its side. People don’t need to be in the US to attend online classes. Therefore, there is no need for the US to give them student visas, which the United States issues for the sole purpose of allowing students to attend an educational program.

    There are other arguments to be made, but all of them depart the realm of mere “common sense” in favor of discussion of secondary effects through the resulting incentives.

  12. The is nothing new, they are just enforcing the law as written. If you don’t take classes then you don’t qualify for a student visa. This is the way it has to be unless Congress changes the law.

    1. Molly, your sentence makes no sense. (Due to an accidentally missing word or two???)

      Yes, if you don’t take classes, then you don’t qualify for a student visa. BUT LITERALLY NO ONE has made that argument. On either side of the debate. The entire discussion has been about ONLINE learning, and whether or not it’s a good idea to ban foreign students who are forced to do this due to Covid. Literally no one is arguing that someone who is not a student should be getting a student visa. Not sure who you are arguing against.

      Counterpoint 1: “But today’s topic is husband beating.”

      Counterpoint 2: https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/weekend-update-w-emily-litella/n8618

      1. Sorry, I meant that if you don’t like on campus classes then you don’t qualify for a student visa. They should either take on campus classes or leave the country. It is important to have the law enforced as written.

        1. I also don’t understand this post. Why on earth does it matter (in terms of qualifying or not qualifying for a student visa) if you like or dislike your on-campus classes???? (I am assuming that by “on-campus” you really mean in-person, right. . . nothing else makes sense to me in this context.)

          How is that requirement not a massive First Amendment violation (or the state equivalent). I think all 50 states have roughly equal free speech protections–in the context of students expressing positive or negative opinions about the education they are getting while in college/university/post-grad.

          1. Ok, I am more sober now (j/k). My point is that the visa laws must be enforced as written. Nothing about 1A. I did not meant to say “like”, I meant “take”.

            1. LOL. Okay, fair enough. 🙂

    2. The is nothing new, they are just enforcing the law as written. If you don’t take classes then you don’t qualify for a student visa. This is the way it has to be unless Congress changes the law.

      This dumb take has the added disadvantage of being based on a false premise. It’s not the law; it’s just a regulation.

      All Congress wrote was that the person had to be a “bona fide student qualified to pursue a full course of study.”

  13. If you have a virtual college/university now, it is likely that it was only a matter of time that hallowed halls of a campus were doomed.
    Consider Harvard medical school. 170 of the brightest minds in the world, so they claim, yet they cannot be taught to wash their hands and wear a face mask, so online instruction is planned.

  14. America does best when it’s a beacon to the world, attracting great students from all over to come and lend their brainpower for a while. And then maybe stay. Maybe become smart citizens.

    But screw that, lets close the doors out of spite.

    I also repeat my notice of how many here who claimed it was a liberal trick to equate being anti-illegal with being anti-immigrant…and here y’all are.

  15. The point of a visa is that it gives a person the right to ask DHS to enter and stay in the US for the purposes of the visa class. A visa issued for the purposes of being a student at a university in the US is just that. If DHS allows students to use it differently (eg live in the US and not be on a campus because it is closed) then any person holding a different visa class is given room to ask for an exception that gives them entry and live privileges even though the job has ended/the event was cancelled/etc. too.

    I get most of you commenting aren’t experts in the INA and haven’t spent years on the visa line overseas issuing visas like I have. But just because you have the opinion that the president (whose agencies are faithfully executing the law) must be racists and anyone who isn’t outraged by DHS doing its job must hate immigrants, doesn’t change the simple fact that you are wrong wholly and completely about about the law.

    Don’t like the outcome of the law??? Then ask Congress to amend the INA to account for online education like I did when I heard about this. That’s the solution. Fulminating about orange man bad etc just makes you look ignorant and won’t help any foreign student whose US education has been interrupted by the response to the fact of the pandemic.

    1. Don’t like the outcome? Far far easier to vote in November, get rid of Trump, and once there’s a non-insane non-racist president, this policy will be quickly reversed.

      (I agree that having Congress act would have the benefit of permanence…not dependent on the whims of who happens to be inhabiting the Oval Office. But that’s outweighed by the vastly greater speed of getting a new president. The odds of getting a pro-immigrant law past McConnell in the Senate, in an election year, is pretty close to zero.)

      1. By the way changing the law will not change the number of students allowed back on campuses. That number will be limited for public health reasons. It has nothing to do with “orange man bad.”

    2. Congress doesn’t need to amend the INA, because the INA does not say that online classes don’t count.

  16. I don’t see how these rules prevent international students from taking whatever on-line courses they want at US schools. Nothing restricts where students can be when taking on-line courses. There is no need to be in the United States.

    1. Did you really miss the point the prior 50 posters made? The issue is not that foreign students are not being prevented from staying in their own countries, paying full tuition, and “attending” class in that way. The point is that, for a lot of us, that is not as good an education as it would be if they were allowed in person. And prior posters have even given helpful partial lists of reasons (lack of reliable internet connections in many parts of the world, possible govt surveillance of online classes by the more authoritarian govts, lack of access to resources here like museums, libraries, etc that domestic students will have, the ability to easily and quickly return to campus when online learning changes to in-person, etc..)

      It’s fine to read those lists and still favor this policy. But you should at least start with an understanding of what the dispute is actually all about, right?

      1. sm811,
        No one questions that studying is a foreign country is a culturally broadening experience. But cultural enrichment is not and never has been the rational for the student visa program.
        At my university the policy is that any class that can be taught online will be taught online at least for the fall. Courses given on campus will be limited to those with identifiable pedagogical necessity, such as laboratory classes. Therefore the number of students invited back on campus will be strictly limited. That policy is likely to be continued for the Winter semester.

        1. Don,
          Agreed that cultural enrichment is not sufficient. But as my post (and many of the earlier posts) mention, there are significant pedagogical reasons why online classes taken from a US location can be qualitatively better and more educational than ones where the student is still overseas. I get the sense that people who support this new policy just gloss over all those things, and that’s not a strong argument, IMO.

          1. Name them = there are significant pedagogical reasons why online classes taken from a US location can be qualitatively better and more educational than ones where the student is still overseas

            1. XY,

              Read sm811’s comment just above, and mine below.

            2. XY,
              As Bernard wrote, there are already 5-15 different posts giving just a sample non-exhaustive list of educational benefits to being here in America while doing online education.

      2. Don’t overlook the simple fact of time zone differences.

        Beijing is twelve hours later than Eastern time. A 2:00 PM class will be taught at 2:00 AM to a student there.

        Much of Western Europe is six hours later – nine hours later than the West Coast. So that alone means that, no, actually not just as easy.

        The class schedule will be awkward to terrible. Interaction with teachers and fellow students will be constrained. Loads of other problems.

        Besides. One thing missing from this whole thread is the question of what the benefit of this is. Trump gets to show off his xenophobia, and kick around foreigners, and I guess his supporters like that. Otherwise what?

        There isn’t any benefit. What harm does it do to let these students stay here and take their classes online?

        Answer – none, unless, as I said, you just hate the idea of any foreigners being here.

        1. There is cross border contamination with corona virus and the reason requirement of 2 weeks quarantine before using any public means of transport.

          Harvard and MIT have filed suit this morning. Let’s see how far that goes.

          1. Don,
            I doubt there is a single poster here who is pro immigrants who would have any problem with a student visa requirement of “When you get here, there is a mandatory 2-week quarantine period.” Trump certainly could have instituted this policy. He did not, so it’s fair to say that “Concern about foreign students bringing in additional coronavirus spreaders” is not a real issue in Trump’s eyes.
            (Some students *will* still be coming, since their schools will have some in-person component. I sure hope all 50 states have this 14-day quarantining period mandated for all foreign students…it’s like the least unreasonable restriction I can imagine, in order to protect my and your grandparents.)

            1. I doubt there is a single poster here who is pro immigrants who would have any problem with a student visa requirement of “When you get here, there is a mandatory 2-week quarantine period.” Trump certainly could have instituted this policy. He did not, so it’s fair to say that “Concern about foreign students bringing in additional coronavirus spreaders” is not a real issue in Trump’s eyes.

              I just want to emphasize that “when you get here” misleadingly applies that this policy is about people not being allowed to come here from overseas. In fact, we’re not just blocking new people from coming; we’re kicking out people already here.

              1. Great point, and one I should have emphasized as well. It certainly puts the lie to the “it’s to protect us from Covid” argument.

      3. How does any of that that impact US universities? If their campus is closed they won’t lose any revenue. If the students don’t do as well, they can simply flunk them. What’s it to them? I don’t see an argument that the universities who are suing the administration have anything concrete to gain.

        1. Agreed, it is unclear that Harvard and MIT get past the standing issue as they can point to no damages from the ruling

  17. Phoenix alumni asking a bunch of questions to inform their already formed opinions in support of ICE: If you want to learn about how this and why that, just get some foreign friends so you can ask them all those questions. And maybe come back to comment when you actually know something about the topic.

  18. A bit of writing advice. Instead of writing [grammar issues theirs] you can use the abbreviated [sic].

    Maybe Prof. Manta should take an online writing course.

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