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University responds to ICE guidance that restricts international students’ fall semester options

Update July 10: President Mangelsdorf and Provost Clark issue a new statement regarding the ICE policy.

The University of Rochester, like many institutions, was surprised by the July 6 guidance issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is the agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with oversight of the F-1 student visa program. We are sharing our strong concerns with our elected officials and working with them and our national associations to reverse this misguided policy.

There are many serious implications for our international students, the University of Rochester, and the future of global education everywhere associated with this announcement, but of paramount concern is that it jeopardizes public health broadly and the safety of thousands of international students nationwide who will be forced to suddenly return home. When correlated to the largely disrupted international travel landscape, its requirements for departure will be difficult and dangerous to enact from a practical perspective. This decision is also very troubling at a time when institutions are embracing alternative modes of delivery.  As institutions demonstrated during Spring 2020, metrics/evaluations are being put in place for online delivery to ensure accurate assessment of a student’s academic progress.

International students are the most regulated category of students in the United States, and higher education institutions have done an excellent job of helping them meet all the compliance obligations placed on them by the federal government. Our international students contribute in innumerable ways to the academic and cultural life of the University of Rochester ​and of the nation, and we will continue our unwavering support to them.

We therefore join with other U.S. higher education institutions to strongly urge the administration to rescind this guidance and provide temporary flexibility to permit international students to participate in the range of in-person, online, and hybrid instruction that we are all implementing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We know this announcement from ICE has caused a great deal of concern and anxiety for our international students, and we are working quickly to analyze and summarize how international students will be affected, and will continue to post updated information as soon as it is available to the International Services Office website. Staff from ISO are available to offer support. Please contact Ravi Shankar, Assistant Vice Provost & Director of the International Services Office, at with questions.

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