Trump Administration to International Students: Take Classes in Person or Leave the U.S.csudhbulletin July 7, 2020 1 COMMENT
By Yeymy Garcia, Production Editor
Updated July 8 at 4:49 p.m.: The Bulletin misnamed Charles Thomas as chair of the Academic Senate – Current chair is Laura Talamante.
The federal organization in charge of issuing visas to international students in the U.S.–including hundreds of CSUDH students–announced yesterday that foreign students may not take a full online course load in the fall semester and legally stay in the country.
“The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States,” according to a statement released Monday by the Federal Student and Exchange Visitor Program.
The program is administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Under current federal regulations, nonimmigrant students must take a minimum of 12 units. They are allowed to take no more than three units online, a policy that was waived during the spring semester and summer intersession due to the coronavirus.
Monday’s announcement, however, amends that policy.
“Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status,” according to the release. ” If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.”
All 23 CSU campuses will be mostly online in the fall, including CSUDH. Theoretically, international students could still enroll in distance learning classes and participate from their home countries, but that would require reliable internet access, and then there are nations such as China with highly restrictive internet policies.
The announcement lit up Twitter, drawing widespread condemnation, including two once-hopeful U.S. Presidential candidates. Elizabeth Warren called it “senseless, cruel and xenophobic,” and Bernie Sanders tweeted that “The cruelty of this White House knows no bounds. Foreign students are being threatened with a choice: risk your life going to class in-person or get deported.”
Closer to home, in a comment on the Bulletin’s Facebook page, Charles Thomas, associate professor and previous chair of the CSUDH Academic Senate, called on the CSU to mount a legal challenge.
“The question is whether the CSU will legally challenge this decision,” Thomas wrote. “The California Community Colleges fought the CARES Act exclusion of DACA Dreamers. The CSUs and UCs DID NOT. The CCC won in court, BTW. And no, the UCs and CSUs don’t get the benefit of that win. Why? They didn’t fight it.So, will the CSU challenge this decision in court? Your move CSU.”
In a November, 2019 meeting of the CSUDH Academic Senate, William Franklin, vice president of student affairs, said that the percentage of international students at CSUDH in 2018 was 4 percent. In spring, 2018, total enrollment was 15.179, undergraduates amounting to 13,116. Four percent of that equated to about 520 students.
In Fall, 2019, total enrollment topped 17,000 for the first time.
Along with the personal toll this decision could take on international students, their families and faculty and staff who work with them there are also financial implications.
According to the College of Extended and International Education website, at CSUDH international students pay the standard full-time -resident tuition and fee amount of $6,945 for two semesters, plus an additional non-resident fee of $396 per unit ($9,450 for 24 units over two semesters). Adding an estimated $1,900 for books and supplies, and $1,495 for the health fee, international students will pay just under $20,000 for two semesters. If ‘they live on campus for nine months, that’s an added $19,000, coming out to $38, 230 a year.
In that same November, 2019 academic senate meeting, Hamoud Salhi, interim associate dean of international education, gave a presentation that touched upon the economic impact international students could bring to a campus.
Among the figures in the presentation: at a CSU campus with 300 international students, $4.5 million in revenue could be generated; 10 international students could fund one full-time faculty position; some buildings at CSU Long Beach were funded by revenue generated by its international student program.
IN April, J. Kim Mcnutt, dean of the College of Extended and International Education, said in an interview with an online higher education newspaper that while a long-term goal of the university is to grow international enrollment, she expected a dip in the fall due to the coronavirus but not enough to substantially affect revenue.
“We’re going to lose some students who want to come to CSUDH but can’t or won’t because of all of the uncertainty,” McNutt said. “. The positive is that we’re not dependent on a large number of international students as a revenue source. We never had that many to begin with, so we will feel an enrollment impact, but it’s something from which we can bounce back.”
In light of Monday’s announcement, The Bulletin will continue reporting on how potentially losing every international student will impact CSUDH.