Higher Education in the US: Admissions to US universities may tumble in next term after new visa rules

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July 7, 2020 5:52 PM

The move is also going to affect students who are planning to get admitted into one of the US universities this year as the US government has said that students will not be provided travel visa till their classes remain online.

Students who had come back to India in view of the Coronavirus pandemic will also not be allowed to go back to the United States if all their classes remain online in the upcoming fall semester.

The problems of students studying in the US universities might increase after the Donald Trump administration in its recent order asked the currently enrolled students to pack for home if their classes in the next semester are completely online and don’t require their presence in the campuses, IE reported. The move is also going to affect students who are planning to get admitted into one of the US universities this year as the US government has said that students will not be provided travel visa till their classes remain online.

Students who had come back to India in view of the Coronavirus pandemic will also not be allowed to go back to the United States if all their classes remain online in the upcoming fall semester. The government order has however allowed students who have offline classes to stay in the country. A maximum of one online class or three credit hours online will also be allowed for students who are attending campus classes. The administration also clarified that the students who are enrolled in a hybrid programme consisting of online as well as offline classes will also be allowed to reside in the country on the condition of their university certifying that the students are attending a minimum number of online classes only.

Till the time students are actually studying on the campus, visa will not be provided to the students, Sumeet Jain, co-founder of Yocket, told The Indian Express.

The rationale behind the decision taken by The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) was also not made clear in the passed order. The statement issued by the SEVP only said that there is “a need to resume the balanced protections implemented by federal regulations.” However, some experts reading between the lines said that the decision may well be a pressure tactic of the Trump administration on schools and universities to open the campuses. Already, a large number of students have postponed their foreign education plans upto the next year and the present order may further discourage the students to enrol in the impending term. Experts believe that the recent order which can bring the US universities into losses will force the universities to open the campuses in order to attract students. President Donald Trump also tweeted barely hours after the SEVP order was issued on Monday that the schools must open in the next semester.

Asking students to join the online programme will be very difficult for the universities, Jain said. He also said that already most students have deferred their plans for this year. In view of the order issued by the SEVP, some universities have already changed tack. Harvard Business School which was earlier mulling a fully online MBA programme changed its decision and said that the programme will be in a hybrid format. Other universities are also expected to follow suit in order to save their already sinking revenues. The order issued by the government might also be challenged in the court, Sudhanshu Kaushik, Executive Director of the North American Association of Indian Students (NAAIS) told IE.

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