The reversal unexpectedly earlier this week by the administration of the triumph of a policy that would have banned international students to take a load of courses exclusively online was good news for current students, but leaves unanswered questions about new international students seeking schools Attend operate online formats or hybrid

the decision of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to rescind the policy July 6 -., which came in response a lawsuit filed by Harvard University and the Institute of Technology of Massachusetts - reverts back orientation original policy issued in March suspending requirements that prohibit international students not to take more than one class online at a time . The suspension gave institutions significant flexibility to adjust the mode of instruction in response to the reversal of the pandemic without putting their current international students at risk of violating their immigration status.

However, the orientation of March was written at a time when universities had changed all their transactions online, so that politics does not deal with hybrid models in which institutions offer a mixture of in person and online classes. Was also written in response to an abrupt change and midsemester was not intended to deal with a possible influx of new international students. The guide says explicitly that applies to current students and

And on Wednesday, "is not intended for new students or initials that are outside the United States." - one day after it agreed to rescind the controversial directive - - Program students and exchange visitors within ICE reissued a FAQ with discouraging language about new students. FAQ reiterates the previously issued guidance indicating that new international students who have not yet reached the US "must remain in their country of origin."

Alliance of Presidents on Education Immigration and Superior, a group focused on higher education and immigration policy, said on Twitter that the "FAQ does not address a key issue" because it does not provide flexibility "to allow new students to come and study."

"This is a complicated issue becomes more complicated by the inability of the government to respond clearly and expand the orientation of a sensible manner," said Miriam Feldblum, executive director of the Alliance of Presidents. "Chaos Instead, during the last week you just created. We are very grateful that they listened and reversed the policy very wrong they were going to carry out, but now we're back where we were in spring where we are saying we need a constant flexibility. "

Brad Farnsworth, vice president of global participation in the American Council of Education, said the sector higher ed must now turn their attention to new questions. "If rescinds the note of 6 July, what we do with the new international students?"

Farnsworth said his understanding is that no further guidance SEVP, new international students would have to meet the normal regulation limiting them to an online class at a time. He thinks the best is that the government allow that new international travel to the US to take a hybrid course load that could involve more than one online class students.

"Reasonable people may disagree, but I think if a school is fully online, has zero activity face to face, I think it will be very hard for that student to obtain a visa to come here, "Farnsworth said. "What I think our best option is to look into getting the most extensive and broader definition of the hybrid status we can get."

It is not clear when or if the SEVP plans to issue further guidance on the new international students. SEVP spokeswoman did not respond to requests for an interview

A short-term orientation for new students who are currently outside the US may have limited practical impact :. many universities have accepted that many or most new international students from abroad will not be able to join them in time for classes in person this fall in light of the suspensions in the processing of visas and restrictions the entry into the US for travelers from Brazil, China, much of Europe and Iran.

However, there have been some recent movement. The US State Department announced that it was beginning to resume the routine processing of visa earlier this week, and has been suggested to give priority to travelers with urgent needs, including students. Some embassies in Europe have posted notices on their websites saying they are accepting appointments for visa interviews for students who might qualify for a national interest waiver from a Trump administration proclaims otherwise limiting travel to the US from the continent. (An official of the State Department confirmed that certain academics and students may qualify for exemptions national interest under the respective travel restrictions from the Schengen area in Europe, and from the UK and Ireland presidential proclamations.)

in this backdrop, universities are seeking greater clarity ice standards for new students entering the US during a pandemic -. and they are looking for quickly

"does not clear all what the rules are," said Audrey Anderson, an attorney who chairs the practice of higher education in the law firm of Tennessee Bass, Berry & Sims . "They should not hide the ball. ICE should do its job and off steering clear of the public."

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, professor of law and director of the Center for Clinical Immigrant Rights at Pennsylvania State University, said the ICE must be flexible in the light of the result of demand Harvard / MIT.

"the spirit of the results in the case of Harvard / MIT in my opinion really requires ICE to visit this FAQ to maximize flexibility for universities and students so they can make the adjustments they need" said.

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