The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Office of International Education and Development (OIED) is welcoming news that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has rescinded its order revoking temporary exemptions for non-immigrant students taking only online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester.
The announcement came Tuesday at the start of a hearing for a lawsuit filed by universities that challenged the ICE order. It also came minutes before the OIED was scheduled to hold a virtual town hall to update international students on the University’s response to the initial order.
“This is great news for our international students. International students are a vital part of our institution,” said William Hyndman III, assistant vice president OIED, on learning the news Tuesday. International students add tremendous value to FAMU and other universities, Hyndman said.
“They provide diversity, help to internationalize the campus and contribute to our community,” he said. “Nationally, there are over one million international students in the U.S. and they contribute over $41 billion to the U.S. economy. We are very happy that this rule has been rescinded.”
As part of the initial ICE order, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) would have required international students attending schools to be enrolled in at least one face-to-face or hybrid class to remain in the country.
In response to the ICE announcement, Maurice Edington, Ph.D., provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, said FAMU was working to provide course enrollment options to accommodate the needs of international students. Tuesday’s town hall was designed to reassure international students and their families of those plans. More than 150 people signed in to the event.
About 250 international students are enrolled at FAMU at this time.
“We highly value our international students,” Hyndman said. “They have long been an integral and essential component of the FAMU educational experience. We will work closely with our students to accomplish what is in their best interest during this unprecedented crisis.”