NEBHE sent a letter on behalf of New England’s 260 public and independent postsecondary institutions to the Department of Homeland Security urging the agency to withdraw a proposed rule that would limit international student visas to a set number of years.
International students are currently allowed to stay in the U.S. for the duration of their studies. The new rules would generally limit the stays to two or four years when students would need to apply for an extension. That's shorter than many Ph.D. programs and shorter than many students take to finish a bachelor's degree.
While acknowledging the need to encourage program compliance, reduce fraud and enhance national security, the NEBHE letter warns "we also believe that the proposed regulation will do more harm than good—making the U.S. a less appealing higher education destination for students and scholars from abroad and directly threatening the missions, diversity, educational vitality and financial sustainability of New England institutions." The region's institutions enrolled more than 96,000 international students in 2018, representing 9.4% of the region's total enrollment and contributing more than $4.2 billion to the regional economy. Moreover, scientific innovations, including possible treatments for COVID-19, depend on our ability to attract top scholars from a global pool.
The NEBHE letter is cosigned by leaders and representatives of New England college associations and systems.