Responding to International Student Visa Policy Changes

Dear Cooper Union,

The Cooper Union is deeply troubled by the guidance released by the Office of Homeland Security on Monday, intended to prohibit international students from continuing their education in the United States during the Coronavirus pandemic. This order unnecessarily punishes both international students and schools that are seeking to balance the health and safety of their communities and the public with their educational mission during these extraordinary circumstances. We are disappointed the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has chosen the vibrant global communities of higher education in the United States as the target of this poorly timed, insensitive policy.

As Cooper is a small school, each international student plays a significant role in our community, contributing to the diversity of thought and practice in our classrooms, labs, and studios. We have a storied history of opening our doors to students from all over the world, representing 35 countries today, who seek the compelling and inventive educational experience Cooper Union offers.

With this longstanding practice under threat, we are actively reviewing the U.S Department of Homeland Security Procedures for Fall Term 2020 and quickly mobilizing across our schools and disciplines to offer a hybrid model of learning this fall that will satisfy the requirements of the new government guidance. The Deans are working in collaboration to develop a formal solution that will complement the curricula of all three schools without placing an undue burden on students with an already rigorous course load. This will provide international students who are either currently in the United States or those who are planning to return to the U.S. this fall with the ability to participate in both at-Cooper, in-person classwork as well as online learning and remain in compliance with their visa requirements.  As previously shared, we are developing a plan for facilities, including studios and labs, to be open this fall for socially distanced work for all students in the New York area.

Additionally, we know that housing may be a concern should you decide to be in New York City for the fall semester. If you have already applied to live in our student residence hall, we have your application and will be completing the housing assignment process in the coming weeks. If you have questions about housing or need any support in the meantime, please contact our housing team at

For those of you who are planning to stay in your home countries for the fall semester, please know that you will be able to access and complete all classroom and studio teaching online as previously announced by President Sparks

As always, please contact Hala Alkasm, Assistant Director of International Student Advisement, with any questions you may have.

We will stay in touch frequently with additional updates on this as they become available.

Mark Campbell
VP Enrollment

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.