Now things are even harder. Currently, Stanford plans to omit students who are in college each semester in order to maintain a social distance. First-year students will be on campus in the fall and summer terms – meaning Fang will study remotely in one semester and will have to leave the U.S. for that period.
Fang is now being determined whether he wants to pay about $ 60,000 a year for distance learning from China. If he does, he won’t have all the unplanned interactions and conversations that usually come with school experience.
Living with uncertainty
For now, 29-year-old Chinese national team player Chen Na is not affected by the changes on Monday.
At New York University (NYU), where Chen is halfway through her two-year master’s degree, her courses will be a combination of the Internet and beyond when the fall semester begins.
“I can’t stop thinking about it,” she said. “I just feel helpless and vulnerable. I’ll do my best to stay here legally.”
If the courses only go online, transferring to another university will not be an option – several other schools offering the Chen Interactive Telecommunications Program are studying.
Instead, she should try to return to China, which would be expensive.
When Chen first heard the rule change, she felt desensitized because there were a number of other rules that made the situation more difficult for international students.
“We don’t have a lot of power here and sometimes we fall victim to all these political games,” Chen said. “I’m really aware of my foreign status here, I know I’m a foreigner. I don’t necessarily see growing hostility from other people, but I feel like a politician, it destroys us.”
Difficulty returning home
Some students may find it harder to get home than others.
Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, says some students might not be able to go home at all.
“The bigger problem is that some of these countries have travel restrictions and can’t go home, so what do they do?” she added. “It’s a puzzle for a lot of students.”
Maitri Parsana, who has just completed her third year of biological sciences at Buffalo University in New York State, does not know how she would return to India if she were forced to leave.
Her university has said it will offer hybrid courses, but the 22-year-old from Gujarat state still doesn’t know if her specific classes will be online or offline.
Parsana says there are no flights to India, but hopes her government will organize flights to get the stranded students back home.
“I’m definitely scared. I really don’t know what to do. I’ve already been under stress because of my school and now I have to emphasize one more thing,” she said, adding that the U.S. seems to focus more on international students than solving real problems, like pandemic.
“We just feel like we’ve been pushed out of this country for no reason.”
It’s not just students hurt by Monday’s decision. It could also affect the U.S. economy.
If students are forced to leave the country, they may not be willing to continue to pay tuition fees to study distance from another time zone.
Nicholas Henderson, co-founder and director of Essai Education, Delhi’s Institute for Testing Preparation and Counseling for Indian Students Wanting to Study in the U.S., said regulations can prompt colleagues to change their policies into hybrid models, for example, helping people stay .
“I think what Covid has shown is that universities are willing to work with students,” he said.
But even so, there is a risk that U.S. policy may discourage prospective students from choosing to study in the United States.
When Parsana first came to the United States, she planned to try to settle there. Now she says she doesn’t want to live in the US and would encourage students who want to study abroad to consider another country, such as Australia or Canada.
“I don’t know what (the U.S. government is trying) to do because their economy will go to ashes if it does,” Parsana said. “If they keep making these rules, not many people will come here for education.”
If international students are sent home earlier, it will not affect their education alone. Students might miss out on a job opportunity – which is often one of the reasons why they may have chosen to study in the US.
A 25-year-old South Korean university student says he feels “disappointed” which, due to a policy change on Monday, he might have missed in that scheme. CNN has agreed not to use his real name because of his privacy concerns.
He only has one semester of his graduate studies, and when he applied for his courses, they were all offline. They have now switched to online courses, and it seems they will either have to finish home or switch to another university for the final semester.
“I have no idea what’s going on,” he said. “I just renewed my house contract.”
If he goes home, he won’t qualify for a temporary employment program – and if he wants to work in the U.S., he’ll probably have to find a company to sponsor his visa.
“I’m so frustrated,” he said. “I just want to get at least some opportunities to compete.”
Chen faces a similar situation. Before the pandemic, she planned to stay in the US and find a job after graduating in 2021. But now Chen has assessed whether the US is the best place to be after all.
“I wonder if it’s really worth going through all of that … instead of finding a country that values me more,” she said.
CNH’s Esha Mitra contributed to this New Delhi story.