NAFSA continues to monitor and respond to legislation and policies arising from COVID-19 that impact international education and exchange.
- Issue Brief: Asks to Sustain International Student Enrollment at U.S. Colleges and Universities Impacted by COVID-19
- Issue Brief: Asks to Support U.S. Study Abroad Programs Impacted by COVID-19
- Congressional Issue Brief: Fall 2020 Financial Impact of COVID-19 on International Education
- Congressional Issue Brief: Spring 2020 Financial Impact of COVID-19 on International Education
- Spring 2020 NAFSA Financial Impact Survey Summary Brief
Policy & Advocacy Resources
- [TAKE ACTION] Send an email to your lawmaker to urge their support for our key asks of Congress to restore, grow, and diversify study abroad participation and to restore U.S. leadership in attracting and retaining international student and scholar talent, using a simple, customizable form.
Policy & Regulatory Updates
May 5, 2021
On May 5, 2021, NAFSA sent a letter to DOS Secretary Antony Blinken thanking the agency for its April 26 and April 30 announcements extending eligibility to international students and exchange visitors for national interest exception waivers from the countries currently covered by COVID-19 travel restrictions, but asking that DOS remove reference to an August 1, 2021 “condition” in the NIE policy.
April 26, 2021
On April 23, NAFSA CEO Esther D. Brimmer, DPhil wrote a letter to Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Ian G . Brownlee expressing disappointment in the U.S. Department of State's announcement that 80 percent of countries would soon be placed at a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory.
On April 26, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Ian G. Brownlee replied to Dr. Brimmer's letter expressing his thanks, and his hope that NAFSA and the Bureau of Consular Affairs continue to engage on important and pertinent issues. He wrote that "Your suggestion to provide a more nuanced approach to our Travel Advisories is well-taken. As we look at ways to evolve the Travel Advisory system, this is indeed something we wish to explore."
February 2, 2021
NAFSA joined with the American Council on Education (ACE) and 53 other U.S. higher education associations requesting the acting U.S. Secretary of Education clarify that emergency student aid funds provided by the recent COVID-19 relief package can be distributed to international students and Dreamers. While the legislation does not restrict these students from receiving funds, former Education Secretary DeVos issued guidance last year placing limitations on the emergency aid.
January 28, 2020
NAFSA joined the American Council on Education (ACE) and 53 other U.S. higher education organizations in requesting that the acting U.S. Secretary of Education clarify that emergency student aid funds provided by the recent COVID-19 relief package "can be used to help all students, including undocumented students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, as well as international students."
September 25, 2020
As negotiations surrounding a supplemental COVID-19 spending package continued, NAFSA and higher education associations wrote to leadership outlining the financial toll colleges and universities have taken due to COVID-19, and requesting any supplemental bill include at least $120 billion for higher education.
August 6, 2020
NAFSA joined the American Council on Education (ACE) and other higher education associations in a letter to congressional leadership supporting changes to the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Main Street Lending Program (MSLP) that would increase financial support options for colleges and universities.
August 5, 2020
Higher education associations wrote a letter to congressional leadership outlining what student and institutional aid provisions should be included in a supplemental COVID-19 spending bill.
July 22, 2020
NAFSA and other higher education associations sent a letter to Congress requesting assurance that any new initiatives created in a new COVID-19 relief package are implemented effectively by the Department of Education.
July 2, 2020
In response to questions raised at a June 4 hearing, NAFSA joined the American Council on Education (ACE) and other higher education associations in a letter sharing information on costs involved in safely reopening college campuses.
June 22, 2020
NAFSA joined a letter led by the American Council on Education (ACE) to Chairman Powell of the Federal Reserve, commenting on the Main Street Lending Program nonprofit organization facilities, and encouraging the inclusion of higher education institutions in the lending program.
June 8, 2020
NAFSA joined the Alliance for Peacebuilding and 70 additional organizations in sending a letter to Congress urging robust support for foreign assistance in a new COVID-19 supplemental funding package.
June 1, 2020
NAFSA has joined the American Council on Education (ACE) and other higher education associations in letters to Congress advocating for increased financial support options for colleges and universities in future COVID-19 relief legislation. The letters encourage Congress to expand the Main Street Lending Program to nonprofits, including public & private institutions of higher education, expanding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to nonprofits of all sizes, and to create a new lending facility in the Main Street Lending Program specifically for higher education institutions.
May 21, 2020
NAFSA joined ACE and other higher education associations and more than 320 members of the business community in letters urging the White House to consider international students and their positive impact on U.S. higher education and economy twhen reviewing non-immigrant programs such as the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program—a key factor in attracting hardworking students from around the globe to study in the United States.
April 30, 2020
Last month, President Trump issued a presidential proclamation pausing entry of certain immigrant groups and directing the Secretaries of State, Labor and Homeland Security to review nonimmigrant programs. NAFSA joined with higher education associations to send a letter to these agencies sharing the value of international students and scholars and offering to serve as a resource during this review period.
April 23, 2020
NAFSA joined higher education associations in letters led by the American Council on Education (ACE) requesting changes to the Main Street Lending program, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and the Economic Impact Disaster Loans (EIDL) to allow greater funding assistance options to higher education institutions.
April 9, 2020
NAFSA joined a coalition of associations led by the American Council on Education (ACE) in letters to the Senate and House of Representatives calling for increased financial support for higher education institutions and students.
March 20, 2020
NAFSA sent letters to U.S. House and Senate leadership requesting as part of any federal stimulus or relief measures considered by Congress support for international education programs and activities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
NAFSA also joined the American Council on Education and other higher education associations in letters to House and Senate leaders outlining ways the federal government can assist students and U.S. institutions of higher education in recovering from this crisis.
December 27, 2020
In the last few days of 2020, the U.S. Congress passed an agreement on another COVID-19 relief package, which was signed into law on December 27 as part of a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill consisting of fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills and authorizations.
July 21, 2020
The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing examining the State Department’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
July 4, 2020
The deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program has been extended through August 8, 2020. The extension was passed unanimously by both the House & Senate.
June 5, 2020
President Trump signed into law H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, an update to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that was established by the CARES Act in March 2020. The bill loosens requirements to expand the type of forgivable expenses for employers to allow for more assistance for fixed costs such as rent. It also lengthens the loan forgiveness period from eight weeks to twenty-four weeks. The application deadline for PPP loans remains June 30, 2020.
May 15, 2020
The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) as an additional COVID-19 relief package. The bill would expand access to PPP loans to all non-profit organizations and included $100 billion in funding for K-12 and higher education, as well as a provision extending the immigration status, employment authorization, or other authorized period of stay for those whose status or stay expired or will expire during the declared public health emergency. It passed with support from only one House Republican, and has not yet been taken up for consideration by the Senate.
March 27, 2020
President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.