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Local universities address US decision on foreign student visas

Posted at 4:14 PM, Jul 07, 2020

International students may be deported from the United States if they are taking online courses this fall, according to an announcement by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, students are forced to decide whether to take in-person classes or risk losing their visa to stay in the country.

READ MORE: Feds could deport foreign students if in-person classes are not held

The University of Oklahoma said it is offering both online and in-person courses. OU officials said the university is committed to supporting its foreign students and is working to find solutions regarding their needs.

International students – who have already been disproportionately affected by the pandemic – are essential to OU’s teaching and research purpose as well as to our community, and the university is committed to supporting them. The latest guidance issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement presents an array of anxieties and uncertainties, now most acutely for our international student community. Though the new guidance is not yet final, OU is closely reviewing it to assess how it might impact the university’s international students and is actively working with state, federal and campus partners to create meaningful solutions that will address the needs of OU students.

Oklahoma State University said OSU Stillwater and OSU-Tulsa are both offering in-person classes in the fall, and it is not in the category of “schools operating entirely online." Unlike the Stillwater campus, OSU-Tulsa does not have an international student program since there are no dormitories or residential life at that campus. OSU Stillwater said the new rule should not effect most students and that the university will continue to monitor the situation.

While our international students may have some of their classes offered online, we are making every effort to offer most of our classes in person this fall, and it doesn’t appear that the guidance will negatively impact the majority of our students. Oklahoma State University is committed to our international students, and the university will work diligently to assist them in continuing their education in a safe and welcoming environment. If the situation changes, we will monitor and make the campus community aware of that.

We are encouraging OSU international students to not make any sudden decisions regarding their plan of study based on the July 6th announcement. There should be no immediate effect on the F-1 immigration status of those studying here on campus.

The University of Tulsa is offering in-person and online courses this fall. However, the university has not yet identified exactly which courses will be in-person, online or hybrid. TU officials said they are hoping to have that sorted out later this month. At this time, officials are unable to say whether any of their international students would be affected.

A representative from Tulsa Community College said 110 students on an F1 Visa attended during the 2019-2020 academic year.

We are currently in contact with the students on a F1 Visa about the new rule and its implications for the upcoming semester. Helping them navigate and remain in compliance for Fall 2020 is a top priority.

TCC plans to offer in-person classes as well as online and blended courses.

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