New US guidelines a setback for students

The regulations block foreign pupils from entering the country if they take classes online

By   |  Published: 27th Jul 2020  12:02 amUpdated: 26th Jul 2020  8:12 pm

Days after revoking sweeping new restrictions on international students, Trump administration has recently announced new guidelines that will block any new foreign student from entering the United States if they plan to take their classes entirely online this fall.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said new students who were not already enrolled as of March 9 will not be able to obtain visas if they intend to pursue a full course of study entirely online. The announcement came as a blow to scores of Indian students, especially Telugus, hoping to enrol at universities that will provide classes entirely online as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the officials in the Embassy of the US, the number of Indian students going to the US has doubled in the last 10 years. Telugus contribute to this trend majorly. So, undoubtedly, the decision would hit them harder.

Shifali Gyadari, who is already pursuing her higher studies in New York, says the US government’s decision is completely unacceptable. “With the cases increasing every day, there’s no clue on the end of the pandemic. No school or university is willing to take in-person classes. Also, as per the mindset of Indian parents, they wouldn’t encourage their children to go study abroad in these tough times.”

Twenty-year-old Manasa just finished her bachelor’s here and had the idea of moving to the US for higher studies. But the pandemic has affected her life timeline and now she made up her mind to continue her education in India itself. While a lot of students were completely prepared and ready with alternative plans, there are others still hoping to realise their US dream amid the pandemic. For them, the fresh announcement just came as a setback.

“I am in a complete dilemma right now. I was making every effort to get into a top-ranking university in the United States expecting to switch to online learning if my course demanded to. I was trying my luck in every way. But now, with government’s latest decision, I’m forced to change plans,” said Warangal-based Ramya Priyadarshini.

However, Smridhi Singh, who is currently planning for her Master’s in the US believes taking classes entirely online is not that worthy. “I would not go even one semester online. Studying in an American university on campus is a lot more than just studies. One has to build rapport with professors and other professionals through regular events held in the university, which is not possible through online classes.”

Some are in a worry this would lead to an unplanned gap year, hitting their plans.

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