DHS Guidance on International Students
As noted in APLU President Peter McPherson’s op-ed that was shared in Public Voice, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced guidance restricting the ability of international students to enroll in fully online programs while in the United States during the fall semester. The Department plans to publish the guidance in the Federal Register as a Temporary Final Rule but did not issue a publication date or specify if the public will be allowed to comment. Additionally, the agency released a FAQs document earlier today that did not clarify key questions for APLU institutions. The guidance replaces the existing flexibilities granted to colleges and universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have filed a lawsuit seeking injunctive relief that blocks the new guidance and expected rule.
APLU swiftly issued a statement on the guidance.
The guidance states:
Based on the guidance, it seems that if a program that is offered in-person were to transition to fully online in the middle of the semester due to the pandemic, the student would be required to transfer to a school offering in-person coursework or depart the United States.
Updated RISE Act Cosponsors
Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI) introduced the bipartisan Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act, which authorizes approximately $26 billion, consistent with APLU’s request, in supplemental funding for federal research agencies to ameliorate the tremendous disruption to federally funded research. The bill also provides temporary regulatory relief due to the pandemic. APLU issued a statement applauding the bill.
Original cosponsors on the legislation include House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH). In total, the bill has 41 cosponsors. APLU institutions are encouraged to urge their members of Congress to support the bill.
Associations Outline Reopening Costs for Senate HELP Committee
In response to last month’s Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on “COVID-19: Going Back to College Safely,” APLU worked with the presidential higher education associations to develop and send a letter to Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) outlining the financial burdens of safely reopening colleges and universities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter includes detailed financial information of costs related to personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing, cleaning and sanitation supplies, contact tracing, technology, and more. Thank you to the APLU institutions that provided us their projected costs as it greatly assisted the development of the letter.
The letter builds on the higher education community’s request of $47 billion to Congress to help stabilize universities and colleges and support students pursuing higher education.
Senators Introduce LOCAL Infrastructure Act
Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), John Barrasso (R-WY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Tom Carper (D-DE) introduced the Lifting Our Communities through Advance Liquidity for Infrastructure (LOCAL Infrastructure) Act (see bill text and fact sheet). The legislation aims to assist tax-exempt organizations with economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic by amending the federal tax code to restore advance refunding to manage bond debt and reduce borrowing costs for public projects. APLU has endorsed the legislation.
A similar bill, H.R. 2772, on advanced refunding was introduced by Representatives C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) in the House last year.