The United States Department of Homeland Security has withdrawn a temporary federal rule intended to strip international students studying exclusively online of their visas, the Boston Globe reported.
The decision came as a surprise during a hearing today for a lawsuit filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology challenging the restriction, the Globe further reported.
The administration agreed to “return to status quo” without any further explanation, the Globe further reported. International students will be able to continue studying under the policy which was revised in March to allow them to take all their classes online and still fulfill visa requirements.
More than 200 universities joined the suit, AP News reported. The attorneys general of Pennsylvania, 16 other states and the District of Columbia also sued the administration over the rule, followed by companies including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, saying the policy is harmful to their businesses, The Hill reported.
The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement released the guidelines requiring international students to take in-person classes on U.S. soil or leave the country on July 6, The Temple News reported.