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September 30, 2020

From: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Subject: Global: Yet Another Regulatory Threat to International Students

First Thought

Insights drawn weekly from Karin Fischer's global-education newsletter, latitude(s). Subscribe here.

The Trump administration has proposed placing strict caps on the amount of time international students can study in the United States, replacing a system that permitted students to stay until they completed their degree.

Students who wish to be in the U.S. for more than four years would have to petition for an extension. And some students, including those from countries that are designated as state sponsors of terror or that have high visa overstay rates, would be granted visas for just two years.

The proposed rule, published in the Federal Register on Friday, is the latest example of the Trump administration’s use of regulation to reshape America’s international-student landscape. While the change may seem obscure, it represents a significant break with past practice.

And you've heard this before: Many fear it could send a message that the U.S. is unwelcoming to students from abroad. There's a lot to unpack here. Karin answers your most pressing questions about the proposed regulation in this week's latitude(s).

The Reading List

  • International undergraduate enrollments fell more than 11 percent from the previous year, according to preliminary data from the National Student Clearinghouse, the deepest decline of any demographic group.
  • Federal prosecutors abruptly dropped charges against a Chinese scientist at the University of Virginia who had been arrested on allegations of stealing proprietary software code.
  • Chinese students are bristling against campus lockdowns that are intended to keep them safe from the coronavirus.

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"How do we make sure that if students do decide to postpone going to graduate school for a year, we don’t lose contact with them and we continue to remain connected and to encourage them to enter graduate programs at a later date?"

—Suzanne T. Ortega, president of the Council of Graduate Schools, says doctoral programs that suspend admissions for one year may face challenges in rebuilding an admissions pipeline. International students are among those most likely to defer admissions this spring.

Read the full story by The Chronicle's Megan Zahneis: More Doctoral Programs Suspend Admissions. That Could Have Lasting Effects on Graduate Education.