On Friday afternoon, Kent State University President Todd Diacon sent an email to the Kent State community regarding international students’ fate in the fall semester. Recent changes to federal visa regulations have forced the university and the international student community into a challenging situation. According to the Trump administration, in order for international students to retain their student visas, they are now required to take at least some in-person classes in the fall semester.
The administration’s plan to require in-person classes for international students would affect around one million students, according to data from the 2019 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. China sends the highest number of students — with about 370,000 enrolled in American universities in 2018-2019 — followed by India with just over 200,000 students enrolled that year.
Diacon said he believes these new guidelines, “Ignore the health and safety requirements for physical distancing.” He also stated he wrote a letter to federal representatives in Washington D.C., asking them to urge the Department of Homeland Security to reconsider these new restrictions and return to the more flexible guidelines that were in place during the spring semester.
Kent State is an international education destination. Students reign from 99 countries and include 12 international Fulbright Scholars funded by the U.S. Department of State.
“Our entire university community benefits from the diversity that our international students bring to Kent State. They are invaluable members of our Golden Flashes family, and their contributions to our learning and living environment are immeasurable,” Diacon said.
President Diacon thanked the Office of Global Education, the Center for English as a Second Language and the deans and advisors in all colleges for their support to international students during this time.
“They have worked diligently to ensure all international students have schedules that comply with the new rules. Their efforts have been exceptional, and I thank everyone involved for their hard work,” he said.
Contact Ciana White at firstname.lastname@example.org.