October 26, 2020
As you likely are aware, the Department of Homeland Security is considering a change that could cause significant obstacles for international students studying in the United States.
Under the current program, students are allowed flexibility to stay in the U.S. based on the time it typically takes to pursue a degree. For some graduate and PhD students, this can be up to seven years depending on their fields of study. The new proposal would restrict the duration for student visas to four years. It would also limit students from several Middle Eastern, Asian and African countries to two years.
International students are vital and valued members of the Tulane community. We are committed to safeguarding your educational opportunities, campus experience and emotional well-being. Having students and research scholars such as you with different life experiences representing many cultures and backgrounds enhances the Tulane experience for all and is essential to our mission as a global university.
Last week, Tulane University joined its peer institutions in the American Association of Universities in opposing these changes. We believe these restrictions would create tremendous uncertainty and anxiety for those with existing student visas and erect needless new barriers for international students considering programs in the U.S. The changes would make travel difficult for existing students whose visa status may change if they leave the country. It would also make it harder to apply for extensions for additional study or research work.
I know these proposals are yet another source of stress in an extraordinarily difficult year, compounded by the disruptions and isolation caused by COVID-19 and the challenges of studying in a foreign country. Due to restrictions, many of you have not been able to travel and spend time with loved ones. But I hope you will see Tulane as a family that also cares deeply for you and is here to help in any way we can. Please remember to reach out to our Office of International Students and Scholars with any concerns you have or assistance you need and know that you always have a home here at Tulane.