The spread of coronavirus has led to many United States institutions turning to virtual education so students can continue their learning.
But on Monday, US immigration authorities said that international students whose courses move fully online could face having their visas revoked.
An advisory said that unless students switch to courses with face-to-face tuition, they could be deported.
This of course has caused much anxiety and fear for the hundreds of thousands of international students who may be affected.
The White House measure, announced on Monday, is seen by some as Trump’s way of pressure colleges to reopen and abandon the cautious approaches that many have announced they would adopt to reduce Covid-19 transmission.
The effect may be to dramatically reduce the number of international students enrolling in the fall. Together with delays in processing visas as a result of the pandemic, immigrant advocates say the new rules, which must still be finalized this month, might discourage many overseas students from attending American universities, where they often pay full tuition.
Such changes could put foreign students’ visas, known as F-1 visas, at risk under the new rules. International students whose universities are not planning in-person classes — which is currently the case at schools including the University of Southern California and Harvard — would be required to return to their home countries if they are already in the United States. Those overseas would not be granted permission to enter the country to take online coursework here.