Paul L. Caron

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Law Schools Scramble To Retain Foreign Students Amid ICE Online Education Ban

Karen Sloan (, Law Schools Scramble to Retain Foreign Students Amid ICE Online Education Ban:

Government regulations announced this week will shut out foreign law students who are taking classes online this fall—a move experts say is intended to pressure colleges and universities to return to campus. ...

Virtually every corner of higher education has been roiled in recent days by the unexpected changes to ICE’s Student Exchange Visitor Program, and law school administrators are similarly grappling with how best to accommodate their international students. They are also concerned that the new regulations will further depress the number of foreign students who want to enroll at a U.S. law school in the fall. ...

ICE regulations limit the number of online credits that those here on international student visas may take, but the agency lifted that limit for the spring and summer semesters due to the COVID-19 pandemic—when virtually every college and university moved to online classes. Under the changes announced Monday, international students in fully online programs will have to leave the country or transfer to schools offering in-person or hybrid classes. Moreover, if schools offering a hybrid of online and in-person classes this fall are forced to move fully online due to changing public health conditions, international law students would have to return to their home countries mid-semester. ...

Some international students who intended to take all their fall classes online for health reasons will now be forced to take at least one class in person in order to remain in the country. ... Some international students who intended to take all their fall classes online for health reasons will now be forced to take at least one class in person in order to remain in the country.

New York Times, Trump Visa Rules Seen as Way to Pressure Colleges on Reopening:

International students will be required to take at least one in-person class to keep their visas, at a time when many universities are prioritizing online instruction.

Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink


Why the lies about this being a new rule. International students on a visa have always required a "full load" with only one "online" course allowed unless the student is directly proctored by a university employee.

Posted by: Art | Jul 10, 2020 4:26:24 PM

There's a legitimate reason for this rule. Otherwise, students could enroll at Western Governors University, and move into the US.

Posted by: Half Canadian | Jul 10, 2020 11:47:08 AM


While some see the new regs as forcing universities to make a difficult binary choice - either requiring faculty (especially vulnerable ones) to go into classrooms to avoid having too many classes taught online, or protecting faculty by permitting them to teach online and thereby adversely affecting foreign students - there is a third option which does not involve online teaching over the Internet (so it has no effect on foreign students) but does not force vulnerable faculty to risk infection by repeated exposure in a classroom.

In essence, students would assemble in one classroom, but the professor would be in another separate ("TV studio") room, or in his office with a video cam.

The professor's image and voice would be carried to the classroom by a cable - or, if necessary, by an inTRAnet connection.

The professor will see, hear, and call upon students from a monitor in the studio or in his office, and the students will see and hear the professor (probably better than if he were in the classroom) on a large-screen TV in the classroom.

If a simple cable is used to connect the classroom where the students are, with the room the professor is in, there is obviously not an "online class." Indeed, it's just like any other "overflow" classroom used when all students cannot fit in one room.

On the other hand, if the two rooms are connected by an internal intranet, it's not an "online class" since there is a well recognized distinction between online classes utilizing the Internet, and the use of an intranet where the signal is confined to a single building.

In either situation the students have virtually all of the advantages denied them with online classes; e.g., they are physically in the same room where they can easily see and hear each other; interact before, during, and after class; share documents, ideas, or work with each other; and even do joint projects, etc.

They can also see and hear the professor better than they would if they were seated far away in a socially-distanced classroom, and the professor wore a mask and/or was behind a plexiglass shield.

If desired, the professor's voice and image (plus anything on the blackboard, a projector, or in a computer file) could also be transmitted over the Internet for any students who might, for whatever reason (e.g., risk of infection, child care responsibilities, employment, etc.) prefer online instruction.

But the other students (including foreign students), together in the physical classroom in a building on campus, would not be receiving online instruction from "online classes" of the type limited by the new ICE regulations.

Posted by: LawProf John Banzhaf | Jul 9, 2020 12:12:10 PM