DHS Rescinds Guidance on International Students

July 14, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I am pleased to share with you that the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is rescinding its recent guidance that would have prohibited international students from remaining in status or obtaining a visa to study in the U.S. if they are receiving remote-only instruction this fall. The action means that the waiver issued last spring to provide international students and institutions needed support and flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic will remain in effect.

Today’s announcement is the result of the collective action and unified voice of higher education institutions from across the country and the strong support of many members of Congress, including our own congressional delegation. The DHS guidance was deeply misguided and a senseless action that would have been harmful to the educational aspirations of international students and limited the ability of colleges and universities to adapt models of instruction to meet the urgent needs posed by the global pandemic.

Seattle University will continue to do everything we can to support our international students during this time of challenge and uncertainty. We joined in the amicus brief in support of the lawsuit brought by Harvard and MIT that led to today’s reversal by DHS. In addition, and with the unanimous support of the university’s Board of Trustees, Seattle U joined a coalition of 20 western U.S. universities that filed a similar lawsuit yesterday in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Ore., seeking an injunction of the guidance.

I want to reiterate to our international students that you are greatly valued members of our campus community who make many positive contributions, not only to our campus and educational mission but also to the cultural, social and economic vitality of the region and nation. I look forward to welcoming you back this fall.


Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.