US rescinds ICE rules for international students studying online

A photo of the north side of the White House.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has agreed to drop its policy requiring international students taking a fully online course load to leave the country. (Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

The U.S. has rescinded a policy that would have stripped international students taking all-online course loads of their visas, putting an end to a proposal that left international students at the Claremont Colleges in limbo.

The July 6 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy stipulated that international students on F-1 and M-1 visas could not remain in the U.S. while taking a full online course load, a decision that sparked outrage and legal action from higher institutions around the country. 

A judge announced the reversal at a hearing for a Harvard and MIT lawsuit filed against the federal government over the now-rescinded ICE regulations

Four of the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges — Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College and Pitzer College also filed a lawsuit against the new Student Exchange and Visitor Program guidelines on July 13. Harvey Mudd College was the only undergraduate Claremont College to not join the lawsuit and did not respond to a request for comment. 

Claremont Graduate University joined an amicus brief filed by the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration in support of Harvard and MIT’s lawsuit. 

The government’s reversal came shortly after Pomona College and Scripps College announced that their fall semesters will be completely online. Harvey Mudd College has opted for a hybrid mode of instruction allowing students to return to campus for the fall pending approval from the state, while Claremont McKenna College and Pitzer College have yet to finalize decisions.

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