Ivy Leave: US asking international students to leave could backfire

By: |
July 9, 2020 4:30 AM

Almost 10% of American universities were projected in a recent study to be readying to take all their courses completely online.

It is indeed shocking that the US government would have taken such a stand, in the midst of a raging pandemic, which calls for distancing, something that is facilitated by the shift to online. It is indeed shocking that the US government would have taken such a stand, in the midst of a raging pandemic, which calls for distancing, something that is facilitated by the shift to online. (Representative image)

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had ordered international students out of the country if they were enrolled in programmes that were fully online—even as universities have refused to slash fees even when they have moved teaching online. An apt commentary on the general state of affairs of the US federal administration, a 2015 tweet of American president Donald Trump has gone viral: “When foreigners attend our great colleges & want to stay in the US, they should not be thrown out of our country”. While there is a reported softening of stance —no deportation just yet, ICE has clarified, after having threatened students who couldn’t manage to transfer to in-person courses/institutions and didn’t leave the US voluntarily—the situation remains uncertain for lakhs of Indian students, apart from students of other nationalities (Chinese, Arab, etc).

Almost 10% of American universities were projected in a recent study to be readying to take all their courses completely online. Given how international students account for a large a chunk of the student community in most American universities—and the bearing this has for the universities’ revenue—US universities will suffer if the ICE orders an exodus, which, in turn, kills the hunger for a US degree and the American Dream. This is perhaps why Harvard and MIT have decided to take relevant federal departments to court over the move. It is indeed shocking that the US government would have taken such a stand, in the midst of a raging pandemic, which calls for distancing, something that is facilitated by the shift to online. In any case, countries with a huge student outgo to the US—like India—should use this opportunity to fix their own higher education ecosystem, so as to offer an attractive alternative to Ivy League education.

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