FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Just as universities nationwide are deciding whether or not to transition over to virtual classes amid the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of foreign students could soon find themselves in a precarious situation.
ICE is telling these students they must attend a school offering in-person courses or face the possibility of deportation.
RELATED: ICE announces students on visas must leave US or transfer to another college if their schools go online-only
"Most of us in the field are upset by this," says Dale Scully, Vice President of Campus Life at Fresno Pacific University. "We don't quite think it demonstrates who we are as institutions of higher education and we would like to see more discussion about it."
The California State University system, which Fresno State is apart of, has already announced plans for students to take online courses in the fall because of the global health crisis.
Meantime, Fresno Pacific University is expecting to welcome back in-person classes this Fall.
Scully says about 40 students currently make up the international student population at the private college.
"We have some graduate students involved in Master's programs, we have some in our seminary and we have traditional undergrads and many athletes that we get from international destinations," Scully said.
Those affected are students on the F-1 and M-1 visas.
ICE has suggested those students transfer to a school like Fresno Pacific -- one offering in-person courses to maintain their legal status.
"We want to help one another out," Scully said. "If by some chance we could help a community college or another four-year institution by taking their students for a semester or two, we would be happy to do that."
More than 1 million of the country's higher education students come from overseas.
Local administrators react to recent ICE announcement on international students