Ben Parker / Assistant Photography Editor

First-year international students wanting to walk the Arts Quad this fall must enroll in at least one in-person class under the latest ICE directive.

July 28, 2020

First-Year International Students Must Take an In-Person Class or Stay Home Under Latest ICE Mandate

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First-year international students must take at least one in-person class to study in Ithaca this fall, according to the latest guidance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The federal government reversed a policy barring international students who take all online courses from studying in the U.S. this semester, but this change doesn’t apply to new students, ICE clarified on Friday. Returning students can take all of their classes online in the U.S.

First-years face the brunt of this mandate because the current guidelines for international students continue regulations from March, which prevented students not already enrolled in an American university from taking all online classes.

New international students now must decide whether to take at least one class that includes an in-person component or study at home this semester.

Cornell has yet to release admitted student demographics for the Class of 2024. International students make up about 11 percent of the Class of 2023 and come from 39 countries.

The ruling also said international students will not face deportation if Cornell changes course mid-semester and halts in-person classes. Cornell International Services called the latest ICE guidance “good news” in a Friday email to students.

“The guidance offers flexibility to both continuing and new F-1 students, within the U.S., should Cornell University find it necessary to move from the hybrid to a fully online mode of instruction,” the email read.

More than 200 universities, including Cornell, backed a lawsuit filed by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this month, challenging the directive that prevented international students who take all online classes from studying in the U.S. this fall. The Trump administration rescinded this guidance on July 14 in response, but left rules for new students unclear.