UW supports federal lawsuit over international student rule

MADISON — The University of Wisconsin supports a multi-state lawsuit filed Monday challenging the Trump administration’s new restrictions on international students, interim system president Tommy Thompson said.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul is one of 18 attorneys general that joined the lawsuit, which is led by Massachusetts. More than 200 universities back the legal challenge, arguing that the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy jeopardizes students’ safety and forces schools to reconsider fall plans they have spent months preparing.

The lawsuit challenges a recently announced directive saying international students cannot stay in the U.S. if they take all their classes online this fall.

“We fully support the attorney general’s action today joining the lawsuit challenging the ICE rules regarding international students," Thompson said in a statement. "While we provided background for the lawsuit, our belief is that our universities’ planned hybrid model of teaching delivery during the fall 2020 semester ensures our compliance with the rules if they are upheld.”

At UW-Madison, international students paid nearly $162 million in tuition and fees and nearly $19 million in housing last year, Kaul said. More than 26% of course sections at UW-Madison are taught by international teaching assistants.

The potential budget loss at other campuses is large as well. International students paid more than $21 million in tuition at UW-Milwaukee, more than $2.2 million at UW-Stevens Point, $3.7 million at UW-Stout and $1.4 million at UW-Green Bay, Kaul said.