Trump Administration Rescinds Visa Rule Amid Widespread Pushback

The Trump administration has rescinded guidance that would have prohibited international students from studying at campuses offering online-only instruction this fall. The move came on Tuesday amid widespread pushback from the higher-education community that included multiple lawsuits and a near-unanimous chorus of protest, alleging unnecessary cruelty by the White House during a deadly pandemic.

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The administration announced the decision to rescind the guidance at a hearing related to a lawsuit, brought by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that challenged the rule. According to several reports, the federal judge presiding over the case, Allison D. Burroughs, announced on Tuesday afternoon that the two sides had reached a resolution.

The news will come as a relief to American colleges, many of which are planning a hybrid model of instruction and are worried that a sudden change in teaching plans during the coming semester would force their international students to leave the country. Some campuses, planning to operate online only, had been scrambling to figure out a way for international students to remain eligible for their visas.

It was not  immediately clear on Tuesday afternoon whether the Trump administration planned to replace the rescinded guidance with something else. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Tuesday that the administration was considering trimming down the guidance to apply only to newly enrolling international students.

Andy Thomason is a senior editor at The Chronicle. Send him a tip at And follow him on Twitter @arthomason.