International students who are studying at American universities on Visas will have to leave the country if their classes are entirely online this fall. The announcement was made earlier this week and could result in a big blow to colleges’ bottom lines. CNBC’s Robert Frank reports. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO:
With a growing number of colleges planning to offer fall classes online, many international students will not be able to stay in U.S., according to new rules issued Monday. That could mean a significant hit to school budgets — and student aid.
Under the guidelines issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.”
Students who are enrolled in such programs “must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction,” according to federal immigration authorities.
“At a time when new international student enrollment is in decline, our nation risks losing global talent with new policies that hurt us academically and economically,” Esther Brimmer, the executive director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, said in a statement.
International students in the U.S. contributed nearly $41 billion to the national economy in the 2018-2019 academic year, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators. (By other accounts, the number is even higher.)
For years, there has been a major influx of students studying in this country, particularly from China.
In fact, one-third of all the international students in the U.S. come from China — more than any other nation, both in sheer numbers and as an overall percentage, according to the Institute of International Education.
Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, the number of Chinese students in America was roughly 370,000, according to the latest data.
But those numbers had been falling more recently due to more restrictive student visa policies in the U.S. and changing attitudes abroad about studying here.
The coronavirus crisis “throws fuel on the fire,” said Hafeez Lakhani, president of New York-based Lakhani Coaching.
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