Kansas State University says it’s evaluating new guidance announced Monday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, including modifications to temporary exemptions for some non-immigrant students taking online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to publish the procedures and responsibilities in the Federal Register as a Temporary Final Rule.
The exemptions said non-immigrant students attending school operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. Several universities are making the decision to transition to online courses for the fall already.
Provost Charles Taber, in an email to News Radio KMAN, said K-State is planning for a fall semester that will provide face-to-face, hybrid, and online opportunities for students. He says the university believes that international students will be able to continue their education at K-State under current plans.
As for how that impacts international students should they begin the fall in-person, full time but have an interruption last fall, those protections may be jeopardized.
K-State spokesperson Michelle Geering says the university is reviewing ICE’s guidance and determining its possible impact, calling it a fluid situation.
Due to COVID-19, the Federal Student Exchange Visitor Program instituted a temporary exemption regarding online courses for the spring and summer semesters. This policy permitted foreign students to take more online courses than normally permitted by federal regulation to maintain their non-immigrant status during the COVID-19 emergency.
The U.S. State Department will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will also not permit these students to enter the U.S. ICE says those active students currently in the country and enrolled in such online-only programs must either leave the country or take other measures, like transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.
ICE’s temporary guidelines for the fall states that non-immigrant students attending schools adopting a hybrid model, like K-State, will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online.
K-State is planning fall classes to begin on Aug. 17.