AMHERST (CBS) – University of Massachusetts Amherst officials said they have changed a recent policy and will indeed accept Iranian students to certain programs at the school.
University officials said earlier this month that effective Feb. 1, students from Iran would not be admitted to some programs in engineering and natural sciences.
On Wednesday, UMass officials said they had discussions with the State Department and outside counsel before reaching the decision to allow Iranian students.
“This approach reflects the university’s longstanding commitment to wide access to educational opportunities,” said Michael Malone, vice chancellor for research and engagement at UMass Amherst. “We have always believed that excluding students from admission conflicts with our institutional values and principles. It is now clear, after further consultation and deliberation, that we can adopt a less restrictive policy.”
The school said federal law requires that the State Department deny visas to Iranian students looking to study certain fields in U.S. colleges.
The National Iranian American Council said previously that UMass’ interpretation of the law was flawed and may violate protections against discrimination.
After changing its stance on accepting Iranian students, UMass will instead develop study plans for students based on their projected coursework.