New Delhi: In a big relief to international students, including those from India, the United States has rescinded its controversial rule that banned foreign students taking only online courses. On July 6, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had unveiled new guidelines for F-1 and M-1 visas given to students restricting them to only students who take in-person courses or a combination of online and in-person courses. Those who take only online courses would not be eligible for the visa, the rule had said. Also Read - US Presidential Debate: "Look at China, Russia, India... Air is Filthy", Trump Justifies Stand on Climate Change

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Notably, the U-turn by the Trump administration comes following a nationwide outrage against its order and a series of lawsuits filed by a large number of educational institutions, led by the prestigious Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), seeking a permanent injunctive relief to bar the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from enforcing the federal guidelines barring international students attending colleges and universities offering only online courses from staying in the country. Also Read - COVID-19 Vaccine Ready, To Be Announced in Weeks, Says Trump In Final Presidential Debate

Congressman Brad Scneider said this is a great win for international students, colleges and common sense. “The Administration needs to give us a plan to tackle our public health crisis – it can’t be recklessly creating rules one day and rescinding them the next,” he said in a tweet.

Last week, more than 136 Congressmen and 30 senators wrote to the Trump administration to rescind its order on international students.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, there were over 10 lakh international students in the US. According to a recent report of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), 1,94,556 Indian students were enrolled in various academic institutions in the US in January.

(With agency inputs)