July 10 update: Lafayette has joined an amicus brief in support of Harvard and MIT’s suit challenging the forthcoming ICE SEVP rules barring study for international students that is entirely online.  

To the Lafayette Community:

Yesterday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued guidance that prevents international students from studying in the U.S. in a program that is exclusively online this fall. The guidance states that “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.” This policy has already been widely condemned as damaging to both international students and academic institutions.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many institutions are choosing to offer online instruction only this fall. Under the new guidance, international students enrolled only in online courses would have to transfer to another higher education institution offering hybrid or in-person courses, or else would be subject to deportation. This applies to both incoming and continuing students, regardless of whether they are currently in the United States or not.

Under Lafayette’s Path to Fall 2020 plan, international students residing on our campus will be able to take in-person classes. Given that some courses will be offered online only, this regulation may limit their course selection. More concerning is the impact on international students if the College were forced to shift at any point to primarily online instruction. If that happens, we will prioritize the ability of international students to enroll in face-to-face courses on campus.

Lafayette will join in national lobbying efforts to contest this pointless and unfair policy. In the meantime, we will do all we can to support our international students. Colleagues in admissions, campus life, and academic affairs are consulting with immigration counsel to determine the best options for our students in these evolving circumstances.

Thanks to the many in the community who have already expressed their support. International students with questions should follow up with Janine Block (blockj@lafayette.edu), Assistant Director of Intercultural Development and International Advising.

President Alison Byerly

1 Comment

  1. Gui F. de Avila ‘16 says:

    Thrilled to read this. Well done and thank you to Janine, President Byerly and everyone involved.

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