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IU issues statement for international students

Hannah Buxbaum, Indiana University Vice President for International Affairs (photo courtesy of Indiana University)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Indiana University Vice President for International Affairs Hannah Buxbaum has issued a statement in response to updated guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The new guidance states that international students enrolled in online-only courses must leave the U.S.

The DHS says the U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students who are enrolled in schools that are fully online for the fall semester. Those students are being required to depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction. Additionally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not permit such students to enter the country.

Buxbaum says IU’s current plan is to welcome students back to its campuses in August with a blend of in-person and online instruction.

“It is unconscionable to inflict this level of uncertainty on those who have invested their time and trust in U.S. educational institutions, as it would be to force our international students to leave their homes, their classmates and their academic communities because of a university’s decision made in the interest of public health and safety,” Buxbaum said. “It is particularly unconscionable considering that ongoing travel restrictions and the continued suspension of routine visa issuance for students make a return to the United States far from guaranteed, jeopardizing students’ academic degrees should their institutions return to normal operations.”

“We recognize that many of our international students, particularly those beginning new programs with us, will not be able to arrive to the university in time for the fall semester. We commit to offering them a robust course of study remotely,” said Buxbaum.

Buxbaum says most of IU’s international students remained in the U.S. to continue their studies as the COVID-19 pandemic spread, and the university is committed to working with them to ensure their course schedules meet the updated requirements.

Buxbaum says the university believes it can avoid disruptive consequences for its students as a result of this guidance. The university says it is “dismayed” by the guidance as it replaces the more flexible accommodation offered during the spring and summer terms, which allowed international students residing in the U.S. to take a fully online course load as colleges and universities responded to the pandemic.