File Photo/Nevada Sagebrush
The Northern Nevada International Center as it stands Feb. 5, 2018 on Center St. The University of Nevada, Reno announced the new ICE ruling will not affect international students.

The University of Nevada, Reno announced on Wednesday, July 8 in an email how international students will not be affected by the new Department of Homeland Security ruling, which requires any international students to relocate to their home countries if their colleges held fall courses online only. 

The email comes out after the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced on Monday, July 6, nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating online cannot remain in the United States.

“Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status,” ICE announced. “If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.”

Vice Provost David Zeh said this ruling will not affect the approximately 700 international students who attend the university.

“Fortunately, in Fall 2020, the University of Nevada, Reno is fully intending to operate under a hybrid instructional model incorporating a mixture of in-person, HyFlex….and fully online instruction,” Zeh said. “The new Homeland Security rule makes an exception for international students enrolled at such hybrid model universities.”

In the email, Zeh outlined international students will be able to either enter for the first time, remain in or return to the U.S. as long as the program is not entirely online, the student is not taking an entirely online course load for the fall 2020 semester and the student is only taking the number of online classes allowed…to make normal progress in their degree program.

“As mentioned before, please remember that international students can only take 3 credit hours online per semester while attending an institution of higher education in the U.S.,” Zeh said. “This immigration rule was suspended for the spring and summer semesters but it is fully in place for fall 2020.”

Zeh also said the graduate schools recommend international graduate students enroll in at least one thesis, dissertation, independent study or other research or studio-based course for the fall 2020 semester in precaution if the university is required to operate under Phase 1 guidelines

Phase 1 guidelines require most university employees, students and staff to work remotely off of campus.  

Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell University sued the Trump Administration over the decision. 

“The announcement disrupts our international students’ lives and jeopardizes their academic and research pursuits,” said President of MIT Rafael Reif. “ICE is unable to offer the most basic answers about how its policy will be interpreted or implemented. And the guidance comes after many US colleges and universities either released or are readying their final decisions for the fall – decisions designed to advance their educational mission and protect the health and safety of their communities.”


Taylor Johnson can be reached at or on Twitter @taylorkendyll.