The College of St. Scholastica - Office of the President

Dear Saints Community,

As you may be aware, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has released new guidance stating that international online students holding F1 visas must return home unless they are attending in-person classes at their college.

To our international students: please know that you have my unequivocal support. I assure you that we are doing everything we can to ensure you are able to continue your educational journey here. As someone who has lived and worked in higher education in many countries, I understand and value the unique perspectives that you bring to our community. You are part of our Saints family. We are proud and grateful that out of all the colleges in the world, you have chosen to study at St. Scholastica.

Our Benedictine values of community and hospitality guide us to continue to be a place of welcome. During these times of uncertainty, it is vital that we stand up for what is right. Throughout these past few difficult months, we have seen our learning community come together to face one challenge after another. This will be no different. We won’t be divided based on where we come from; we will stand together – united – as one Saints family.

St. Scholastica has joined many other higher education institutions and organizations, including the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the American Council on Education, and others, in requesting that this new rule be withdrawn. The ACCU is asking Homeland Security to reinstate the flexibility offered to international students during the spring semester, and is also asking Congress to take up this matter if Homeland Security will not. Harvard University and MIT have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration asking that the rule be reversed. The Minnesota Private College Council has also taken this up and we have been in touch with our Congressional representatives in Washington DC asking that this be addressed immediately.

Meanwhile, a number of our staff members and our Office of International Programs are working on this situation. The fact that our fall return educational model is a hybrid model with in-person components should mean that our international students are not affected. We will have more details as these policies develop.

I am confident that when we return to campus this fall, we will be able to strike a sensible balance that ensures a vibrant educational experience for all while safeguarding our health.

I know I speak for all students, faculty and staff members when I say that we stand together in support of our international student community.


Barbara McDonald, Ed.D
The College of St. Scholastica

The College of St. Scholastica

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