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First-Year International Students Won't Be Allowed on Campus This Fall

7.21.20

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First-year international students will not be allowed to come to campus this year because of the federal visa restrictions announced earlier this month (over which Harvard and MIT sued the federal government), College dean Rakesh Khurana wrote in an email to students today. 

While the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy that would have banned international students from remaining in the United States if their courses are held online has since been revoked, Khurana wrote (emphasis added), “this reversal does not apply to our newly admitted international students who require F-1 sponsorship. At present, any incoming student who received a Form I-20 to begin their studies this fall will be unable to enter the U.S. in F-1 status as course instruction is fully remote.” 

“We abhor any policies that seek to force us to choose between our community's health and the education of our international students,” Khurana continued. “The University is working closely with members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation to extend the online exemption to newly admitted students and ensure that this flexibility remains in place for the duration of the public health emergency. Unfortunately, we don’t anticipate any change to the policy in time for the fall semester.” 

Newly admitted international students have the option either of taking their courses remotely from home, Khurana added, or deferring their enrollment at Harvard by July 31. “If you choose to defer,” he wrote, “Harvard will guarantee all international, first-year students housing when we are able to welcome you to campus safely.” 

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