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03/18/2021: AAU and Other Higher Education Organizations Urge DOS and DHS to Take Action Ahead of Fall 2021 Term

  • Association of American Universities (AAU) joined American Council on Education (ACE) and 39 other higher education organizations on a letter to State and DHS urging them to take action on several issues ahead of the Fall 2021 semester – visa processing, consulate re-openings, ICE guidance, and travel restrictions.
  • The letter outlines several items State and DHS could do to help prepare for Fall 2021 including prioritizing student visas, waiving requirements for in-person interviews, relaxing ICE guidance, and expanding the exemption for students to allow more than those just from Europe/UK/Ireland to be exempt from travel restrictions.


Advocacy Campaigns:

Optional Practical Training (OPT) Program Advocacy


Regarding Delays in USCIS Receipt Notices


March - June 2020

In the last several months, numerous trade, industry, and higher education assocations and groups are focusing their advocacy efforts on the Optional Practical Training (OPT) and STEM OPT Programs. The OPT program offers talented international students, who complete their degrees, the opportunity to remain in the U.S. for a period of time and enhance their educational experience. Recent media coverage indicates that the current administration plans to curtail the OPT and STEM OPT program. Changing the program would serve to undermine decades of collaborative work between U.S. and international partners in the fields that contribute to the health and economic security of our country.

OPT Advocacy Efforts: 

Post- Election Considerations for the Biden Administration

Advocacy Campaign in Opposition to the Proposed Duration of Status (D/S) Rule

Official Comments Submitted to the U.S. Government:


Letters of Opposition to the Proposed Rule:

COVID-19 and Fall 2020 Advocacy

Current advocacy efforts are focused on COVID-19 and the pandemic’s impact on the international student and scholar community. In particular, efforts are underway to engage with the Administration and Congress to advocate on behalf of the international student community. There is also pending litigation by State of California and University of California.

COVID-19 and Fall 2020 Advocacy Efforts: 


Take Action:


Taking Action

Learn about Free Speech

UC San Diego supports student expression, rights and responsibilities to move toward positive, educational use of Free Speech. The pursuit of knowledge cannot be carried out without the ability to explore and express all ideas freely and openly. As part of this pursuit of knowledge, we encourage the UC San Diego community to keep learning about free speech and expression.


What Can You Do?

  • Stay Informed

  • Reach Out

    • Contact ISPO for advice and information. We are here for you.
  • Join

    • Urge Congress to support international students and scholars by joining advocacy efforts. Reference our Advocacy Legislative Guide which highlights what your legislators can do and tips for how to communicate with your legislator. Contacting representatives is a good way to see change done, regardless of your status in the United States or situation.