The scrapping brings relief to thousands of Indian students who are studying in American universities.
Indians are the second largest student community with over 200,000 students or a fifth of the one million foreign students taking up courses in the US. American district judge Allison Burroughs announced at an online hearing on Tuesday that the government had agreed to rescind last week’s requirement that international students take at least one in-person class, even amid the resurgent coronavirus pandemic and as colleges prepare online-only coursework, Bloomberg reported.
A senior U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official, however, said the administration still intended to issue a regulation in the coming weeks addressing whether foreign students can remain in the United States if their classes move online.
The July 6 move by the administration blindsided many universities and colleges that were still making plans for the fall semester, trying to balance concerns about rising cases of the novel coronavirus in many U.S. states and the desire to return to classes.
A flurry of lawsuits were filed challenging the rule including one brought by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and another by a coalition of state governments. Dozens of big companies and colleges and universities filed “friend-of-the-court” briefs opposing the rule.
Harvard planned to hold all of its classes online for the upcoming academic year.
Trump, who is pushing schools across the country to reopen in the autumn, said he thought Harvard’s plan not to hold in-person classes was ridiculous. The universities argued the measure was unlawful and would adversely affect their academic institutions.
ET reported that large technology companies such as Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Paypal had told the US court that deporting students would hurt American educational institutions as well as the US economy. In all, 19 companies and local unions, like the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, the Software Alliance and the Information Technology Industry Council, had signed the brief in a case where Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and 180 other colleges have filed, opposing the July 6 directive by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The revocation of the rule by the Trump administration came ahead of the July 15 ICE deadline for universities to declare whether they would be conducting courses only online in the upcoming semester starting in September.