10/23/19 Purdue Hovde Hall

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has rescinded its policy that would have barred international students from remaining in the country had they enrolled in online-only coursework.

The decision comes Tuesday following lawsuits filed by Harvard University and Massachussetts Institute of Technology challenging the DHS policy. Purdue filed an amicus brief on Thursday announcing its opposition to the policy, which would have sent home any of the University's more than 9,000 international students who opted into fully online course loads.

Director of the Office of International Students & Scholars Christine Collins was watching the broadcast of the DHS hearing when the decision was made. She was overjoyed, she said, adding that the agreement between the government and the universities was reached in advance. The federal judge ended the hearing within minutes.

"Purdue is pleased with the outcome," Collins said. "We'll continue to do all that we can to support our international students during this time of uncertainty."

The decision reverts ISS back to the guidelines it followed in March, when international students were permitted to stay in the U.S. despite in-person courses being canceled at universities nationwide. Students will be allowed to retain their F-1 visa status.

"It eliminates all the extra things that might have been harmful to students for the Fall 2020 semester," Collins added.

The next step for ISS, Collins says, is to issue an email with new guidance for international students and to update the FAQ page on the Protect Purdue website.

Last fall, 9,085 international students attended Purdue's West Lafayette campus, Collins said, and there was no expectation that number would decrease this fall.

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