by Laurie Patton

Dear Middlebury Community, 

Earlier today, the U.S. government rescinded a troubling policy that would have barred international students from studying exclusively online while living in the United States and would have further restricted students pursuing their academic programs from abroad. 

U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs (Middlebury ’83), who oversaw the proceedings, announced the decision at a hearing in Boston. Judge Burroughs noted that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the two universities that filed the lawsuit came to agreement before the hearing. The move rescinds the July 6 guidance from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that said international students enrolled in online-only programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic would need to leave the United States or transfer to a school that offered in-person learning to maintain their status.

We at Middlebury are thrilled about this decision, which alleviates immediate concerns for Middlebury College students who planned to study remotely from abroad and for Middlebury Institute of International Studies students who wish to remain in the United States and continue their studies.

Middlebury joined 180 other colleges and universities last week in filing an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT, arguing that the ICE guidance was antithetical to the goals of higher education institutions working to support learning in light of the pandemic. The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, of which Middlebury is a member, also released a statement on the matter

While this latest action does not resolve other challenging issues related to March directives from ICE, which now stand as the prevailing guidance, it does alleviate concerns about fall plans. Middlebury will continue to monitor any developments and support our students in every way we can.

Laurie Patton