Indian students studying in the USA can heave a sigh of relief. After a week of turmoil, the US government has rescinded a rule it had passed recently to strip international students of their US visas if their course shifted to online classes.
International students can now continue to stay in the USA with valid visas even if they’re coursework is all online.
International Students In The US Will Not Lose F 1 Visa Status – Why The Change
There are currently over 1 million international students including Indians in the USA. These students pay a higher tuition fee than American students because of which the American colleges and universities can subsidize tuition fees for American citizens. They also contribute to the US economy in a big way.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and need for social distancing, educational institutions had decided to do away with most in-person classes for the time being and moved towards online classes.
Technically, this would allow students to complete their coursework for the semester from anywhere in the world.
Opposition From Universities And Tech Giants
On July 6th, when the US government announced that international students would not be allowed to stay in the country if they chose to pursue courses that were completely online, students panicked and educators protested.
Within 2 days, Harvard and MIT challenged the order in court on the basis that the order would harm students personally and financially. By July 13th, they were joined by 60 other universities including Yale and Princeton, teacher’s unions and 18 US states.
The schools also believed that the order had been passed to pressurize them into restarting in-person classes without regard to the student and teacher’s health. They were backed by over a dozen US tech companies including Google, Microsoft and Facebook.
Before the case could proceed in court, the US government took back the initial order. And now it is clear that international students in the US will not lose F 1 visa status over online classes.
What Does This Mean For International Students In The USA?
Foreign students in the USA can now continue with their intended course through in-person classes, online classes or a combination of both as per the school’s plan. Their F-1 visa status will not be affected by this choice.
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