NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The more than 8,000 foreign students at Rutgers who would have faced expulsion from the country if they were not taking a course load consisting entirely of in-person classes can breathe a sigh of relief.
President Donald Trump's administration on Tuesday rescinded a rule that would have required international students to transfer or leave the United States if even one of their classes was held utilizing remote instruction.
Rutgers and hundreds of universities pushed back against the proposed rule and by Monday, Trump's office was facing eight federal lawsuits.
Rutgers University president Jonathan Holloway announced Monday the university would join as an amicus in the lawsuit filed by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to block the "draconian" rules.
In fact, an announcement that the rule would be rescinded was made at the start of a hearing in a federal lawsuit in Boston brought by Harvard and MIT. U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs said federal immigration authorities agreed to pull the directive and return to the status quo.
The July 6 announcement had sent officials at Rutgers and Middlesex County College scurrying to identify how their international students would be impacted. Both schools had previously announced they were going to employ remote instruction for the vast majority of their fall schedules.
Middlesex County College, which has a campus in Edison and centers in New Brunswick and Perth Amboy, is home to about 100 international students enrolled on F-1 visas.
Critics viewed the rule as part of Trump’s effort to pressure the nation’s schools and colleges to reopen this fall even as national COVID-19 cases rise.
The policy drew sharp backlash from higher education institutions, with more than 200 signing court briefs supporting the challenge by Harvard and MIT. Colleges said the policy would put students’ safety at risk and hurt schools financially.
Many schools rely on tuition from international students, and some stood to lose millions of dollars in revenue if the rule had taken hold.