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New ICE protocol should not impact ASU students, University says

Proposed regulations say international students at hybrid model schools can stay but asks online-only students to leave the U.S.

DACA Rally

A student holds up a sign at the DACA rally on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019 at the Hayden Lawn in Tempe, Arizona. 

International students are not expected to be impacted by new rules from ICE that dictate they would have to return to their country if their school hosts classes online-only in the fall, a University official confirmed. 

"ASU does not believe the new regulations and procedures proposed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will have a material impact on the University or its international students," University spokesperson Katie Paquet said in an email Monday after the agency issued "temporary procedural adaptations" for international students enrolled in fall 2020 classes.

International students all over the country are being asked to go home and are blocked from reentering the country by the new set of anticipated regulations. The new guidelines say international students enrolled in schools that have announced they will host classes online in the fall will not be issued visas to return for the upcoming semester. 

Students residing in the country must leave, transfer to another school or "face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings," according to an ICE press release

ASU has adopted a hybrid model for most classes and an in-person option for a select few. Regulations say students at a school with a hybrid model will be allowed to take more than one class. Universities must certify that the program is not completely online and that the student is participating in the minimum required courses for degree progress. 

The new exemptions say students at schools with in-person classes are bound by federal regulations that already exist. F students, foreign students coming to the U.S. to pursue a degree at a Student and Exchange Visitor Program-approved institution, are permitted to take a maximum of one class or three credit hours. 

M students, foreign students enrolled in vocational programs at "nonacademic institutions," are subject to the same regulations if their classes are operating entirely online.  

"Students attending ASU on a F-1 visa do not now generally participate in ASU Online courses at any significant level. Students attending ASU on a F-1 visa in fall 2020 will continue to participate in immersive, synchronous classroom instruction both in-person and through ASU Sync," Paquet said. 

The last announcement, made in March by President Donald Trump's administration, had been much more flexible in allowing international students to participate in online courses due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Arizona reached 100,000 total positive coronavirus cases Monday and is still on track to open campus to students for in-person and hybrid classes.

READ MORE: As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, students worry about on-campus classes

According to data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, more than 1.1 million students in the U.S. currently have active student visas, allowing them to live in America while they maintain a full course of study.

60% of universities are planning to go host classes in-person and 24% are following through with a hybrid model, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education's tracker of about 1,100 schools. Only 9% of schools are planning for online-only instruction. 

Doris Meissner, director and senior fellow of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute, told The Arizona Republic Monday the required move of international students could add financial strain on higher education institutions. 

"International students are so baked into the higher education, environment and model that exists in this country," Meissner said. 

ASU has about 13,000 international students. Their tuition is set at around $54,593 a year, totaling roughly over $700 million in tuition before scholarship consideration. International students do not qualify for federal or state financial aid but can receive help from the University. 

The University spokesperson said they were working to inform all international students about the topic and provide them with contact information for the provost's office. 

Brad Farnsworth, vice president of the American Council on Education, told Politico Monday that higher education administrators were looking for guidance on how to keep students enrolled. Farnsworth said new guidance will "sow confusion and uncertainty."

"There's going to be a scramble for interpretation and colleges will be craving that certainty, and they'll be asking the U.S. government to help clarify to get additional details on interpretation," Farnsworth said. 

ASU did not provide details for how they would move forward with changes to how classes are delivered given these new regulations. 

Reach the reporter at and follow @piperjhansen on Twitter. 

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Piper HansenDigital Editor-in-Chief

Piper Hansen is the digital editor-in-chief at The State Press, overseeing all digital content. Joining SP in Spring 2020, she has covered student government, housing and COVID-19. She has previously written about state politics for The Arizona Republic and the Arizona Capitol Times and covers social justice for Cronkite News.

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