AACSB Response to Immigrant Mobility Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

AACSB reiterates the valuable contributions of business education and the potential negative impacts of restricted immigrant mobility.

The Honorable Mike Pompeo U.S. Department of State Office of the Secretary
The Honorable Eugene Scalia U.S. Department of Labor Office of the Secretary
The Honorable Chad Wolf U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of the Secretary

May 14, 2020

Dear Secretary Pompeo, Acting Secretary Wolf, and Secretary Scalia,

On behalf of AACSB International (AACSB), the world’s largest accreditor and association for business education for more than 100 years, we reach out today to respond to the April 22, 2020, “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.”

While the world faces a number of unprecedented challenges amid the COVID-19 outbreak, all aspects of globalization are affected, including business education. AACSB believes that business schools are a force for good in society and advocates for open access to quality education for all.

Student and faculty mobility across universities, along with supportive immigration policies across governments, create access to the world’s top talent. Within business schools, this talent provides expertise and critical support for economic forecasting and growth and prepares learners to lead and innovate with a global mindset. International students and study abroad opportunities are core to the higher education ecosystem leading to creative opportunities, enhanced cultural awareness, and an appreciation for diverse and inclusive perspectives on a local and global scale.

International students also contribute significant revenue toward school operations through tuition, housing, and living expenses for the duration of their studies. The absence of these financial contributions could increase tuition for local students or negatively impact key educational programs, resulting in job loss for faculty and staff or elimination of community support initiatives.

The economic impact of policies restricting international mobility will detrimentally impact the ability for business education to contribute to the continual improvement of the world’s industries and societies.

Critical to the U.S. market and attracting international students is the Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows students to work in the U.S. following graduation. This exposure enhances the employability of the student in a global market, but also provides them with skills to successfully pursue their own enterprises—allowing them to elevate capabilities and contribute to U.S. and global economies.

We ask along with the American Council on Education (ACE), Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Association of International Educators (NAFSA) to reevaluate section six of this proclamation and strongly consider implementing the tactics below, to help prevent irreparable damage to schools and society.

  • Prioritize applications for international student visas to facilitate enrollment for upcoming semesters.
  • Waive the interview process for F-1 and M-1 applicants, or offer remote interviews in place of physical interviews until the travel restrictions with the pandemic have lessened.
  • Allow for international students to start their fall semester virtually if interview delays for visas prevent their physical attendance.
  • Preserve Optional Practical Training for international students graduated from local universities and colleges.

As we continue to see during COVID-19, our global economies are intricately interconnected and shared. As you evaluate future action on immigration, we hope that you will consider the invaluable contributions of business education in developing the workforce of the future, and we welcome the opportunity to continue this conversation with you.

Sincerely,
Tom Robinson
President and Chief Executive Officer
AACSB International

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