ICE’s ruling is a staggering blow to the US’s computer science departments

Universities across the US stand to lose the lifeblood of key science and technology programs after the Trump administration announced earlier this week that international students cannot stay in the country if the institutions they attend are only offering online classes.

International students make up the bulk of enrollment in graduate computer science and engineering programs. In addition to paying tuition, these students help professors conduct research, teach undergraduates, and help retain top faculty.

The new policy may prompt some students to postpone their education or drop out, cutting enrollment for the fall semester and even future academic years. It could also accelerate the trend of foreign students choosing countries like China and Canada over the US, and reduce the number of graduates in key fields where job applicants are already scarce.

“This is not a necessary policy at all,” said Stuart Anderson, the executive director of the National Foundation

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College students on visas fret over ICE ruling that could force them out of US

When University of Southern California student Mage Zhang spent more than $5,000 for a flight home to China in late May, she packed all her belongings and thought this could be a trip of no return.

President Donald Trump administration’s new rule on international students confirmed her worries.

Issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday, the new regulation says international students attending colleges in the U.S. cannot stay in the country if their classes are held fully online and not in a classroom.

In a provost letter to students on July 1, USC announced undergraduates will be “primarily or exclusively” taking classes online in the fall term. Zhang said she didn’t expect to return to campus before November.

“The risks and expenses are too high for a returning trip to the U.S., and I’d rather take online classes at home,” said Zhang, who will be a senior this year.

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