ICE Releases Data on International Students, Details COVID-19 Impact

On March 19, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), released its annual reportSEVIS by the Numbers, on international student trends in 2020. The report details a significant decrease in new student enrollment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 1.25 million active records in Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) for F-1 and M-1 students during calendar year 2020, down 17.86% from 2019. U.S. schools saw a 72% decrease in new international student enrollment in 2020 compared to 2019. Between 2019 and 2020, international students who were approved to participate in the Optional Practical Training program decreased by 12%. While China (down 91,936 students) and India (down 41,761 students) sent fewer international students in 2020 compared to 2019, both remained the most popular countries of origin for international students studying in the U.S. The full report is available here.

Department of Ed Announces HEERF and SNAP Flexibilities to Assist Institutions and Students

On March 19, the Department of Education published guidance for postsecondary institutions on reporting lost revenue related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance details how institutions can leverage funds available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund grant program. More information and key resources are available here, including a Notice of InterpretationLost Revenue FAQs; and updates to existing FAQs.


Also, on March 19, the Department informed institutions that they can conduct direct outreach to students who are temporarily eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. In February, the Department of Education and Department of Agriculture issued guidance detailing the temporary expansion of flexibilities for postsecondary student SNAP eligibility. More information can be found on the SNAP benefits for students webpage and Q&A on student eligibility.

White House to Release FY22 Preview Budget Next Week

The White House is expected to release a “preview” budget proposal for fiscal year 2022 (FY22) next week, which would enable lawmakers in the House and Senate to begin the annual appropriations process. The proposal, reported by Roll Call, is expected to include agency funding levels and President Biden’s discretionary funding priorities. Tax proposals and mandatory spending programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, are not expected to be announced until the President releases his full budget proposal later this spring.


The budget proposal will initiate what is expected to be a months-long process for Congress to approve government funding for the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1. The FY22 budget will be the first in a decade without caps on discretionary spending, making it easier for Biden to propose spending increases. The delay in releasing a budget request is not uncommon for incoming administrations; however, due to obstacles in the transition and the Biden administration’s focus on passing the American Rescue Plan, the formal budget proposal has been further postponed.


On March 17, CGS joined a FY 2022 appropriations request letter to Congress seeking funding increases for various programs, including requesting that $35 million be allocated for the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need program. CGS will continue to update its FY 2022 Appropriations Advocacy webpage with funding requests and advocacy resources for members.

Deadline Extended: Complete the 2021 CGS Membership Engagement Survey

CGS invites you to participate in the 2021 CGS Member Satisfaction & Engagement Survey. The survey, which is fielded every five years, will provide critical feedback to the CGS Board and staff and inform strategic planning and member programming over the next several years. CGS members should have received an email from CGS President Suzanne Ortega containing the Qualtrics survey invitation. The survey’s deadline has been extended to March 29 and should take no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Enyu Zhou at

Senate HELP Committee Holds Nomination Hearing for Deputy Secretary of Education

On March 24, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) held a confirmation hearing for Cynthia Marten to serve as the deputy secretary of the Department of Education. Marten most recently served as the superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District and previously as a teacher, principal, vice principal, and literary specialist. Her testimony garnered bipartisan support, which paves a clear path to confirmation in the coming weeks. Notably, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), the Committee’s ranking member, voiced support for Marten’s nomination, despite noting her limited experience in higher education. If confirmed, Marten would serve under Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, who was sworn in earlier this month.