'Horrifying' new U.S. rules on online college courses leave Japanese students in limbo
Japan Times -- Jul 08
In a move that will affect Japanese studying in the U.S., the government there said Monday that international students attending American universities will have to depart the country or transition to another college if their classes are moved entirely online for the fall semester amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the new guidelines issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the government will stop issuing visas for students planning to pursue online-only courses starting in September, while those already in the U.S. will need to transfer to institutions that still conduct in-person classes or leave the country altogether.

Subject to the decision are holders of the F-1 and M-1 visas, which are used by academic and vocational students, respectively. Of about 400,000 F-1 visas issued in fiscal 2019, about 15,000 were given to Japanese students, according to U.S. State Department statistics.

Meanwhile, students adopting a hybrid model — a mixture of online and in-person classes — will need to prove that their programs are “not entirely online” and that they are taking “the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program” to be exempt, the guidelines said.

In a regular news conference Tuesday afternoon, the top Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga did not respond in detail to the measure, only saying the government is monitoring its effects on Japanese students “with high concern” and will work with agencies to provide necessary information.

News source: Japan Times
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