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New ICE guidance bars 1st-year international students with all online classes from entering US

July 24, 2020
<p>The International Center pictured on July 7, 2020.</p>

The International Center pictured on July 7, 2020.

First-year international students will likely be unable to study in the United States, according to an update by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the Student and Exchange Visitor’s Program (SEVP) guidance Friday. 

Any student outside of the U.S. must obtain an F-1 or M-1 student visa permitting them to study in the U.S. The guidance said that whether an individual is eligible to receive their student visa is a decision made by the U.S. Department of State, not SEVP. However, a March 9 SEVP Broadcast Message said that Designated School Officials (DSO) should not issue a “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status” for a new student outside the U.S. planning to take classes at an SEVP-certified institution fully online. 

A previous ICE policy prohibiting international students with all-online classes from studying in the U.S. was rescinded July 14, following backlash from hundreds of universities nationwide. 

The updated guidance states new, nonimmigrant students intending to pursue a full course of study online will likely not be able to obtain their visa to study in the U.S. 

If a nonimmigrant student was enrolled in classes in the U.S. on March 9, but left the country, that student would likely remain eligible for a visa.

According to the Office for International Students and Scholars 2018 Annual Statistical report, 1,302 new international students — including 737 undergraduate students — were welcomed to MSU for the fall 2018 semester. 

"The guidance issued today from the federal government provides some much-needed clarity for MSU and our international student community as we prepare for the fall semester," MSU Deputy Spokesperson Dan Olsen said in a statement. "Whether we are six feet or 6,000 miles apart, MSU is working to ensure international students feel welcome, supported and included in our global Spartan community. This includes having a wide variety of online, hybrid and in-person classes available so students can get the courses they need for their individual situations."

This article has been updated to include a quote from MSU Deputy Spokesperson Dan Olsen. This is a developing story. Stay with The State News for updates.

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