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International Student Visas In Jeopardy After Policy Announcement

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A new policy from federal officials says international students cannot stay in the U.S. if they take classes entirely online this fall.

MIT and Harvard have announced they will sue the Trump administration over the announcement, and the policy has many international students in Utah on edge.

It has been a very intense past two days for international students and scholars, as well as their counterparts at schools across the county.

One student told KSL he is questioning why he came to the U.S. for his degree.

“I just completed my freshman year at the U,” said Tanmay Shaka, who is studying nursing.

The India native heard about the announcement regarding international students not being able to study full time online — something he doesn’t even enjoy.

“I believe in-person classes are far more better to build the relationship,” Shaka said.

The university said it has heard from many panicked students and officials want students to take at least one in-person or hybrid course. If they can’t because of their health, officials said there are options.

“It is called a medical reduced course load,” said Stephen Smith with University of Utah international student and scholar services. “If someone has a legitimate illness and if a medical professional says they should do less than full time, they can report that to us.”

Immigration attorney Jonathan Shaw said there are legal options too.

“Some cases, they might have a U.S. citizen family member that can petition for them or in other cases, let’s say someone is here on a U.S. student visa from Venezuela,” Shaw said. “They might be able to petition for asylum from that country of origin.”

For Shaka, the announcement from the government changed his view on the U.S. as a whole.

“After this happening, I don’t feel safe and my future doesn’t feel safe that I stay in the U.S.,” shake said.

University of Utah officials said all students are welcome to their campus and they’re proud of their close to 3,000 international students and scholars.

“You know the students on our campus just make it a better place,” Smith said.

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