Coalition of Over 500 College and University Presidents Calls on Secretaries Mayorkas and Blinken to Designate Ukraine for TPS and Special Student Relief

Country conditions continue to devolve, making it unsafe for Ukrainians to return 

February 24, 2022
Contact: Jose Magaña-Salgado (

Washington, D.C.—In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent armed conflict and extraordinary conditions, the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, a coalition of over 500 college and university presidents, calls on Secretaries Mayork


as and Blinken to issue a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation and announce Special Student Relief (SSR) for Ukrainian nationals residing or studying in the United States. TPS provides work permits and protection from deportation for those from designated countries who cannot safely return to their home country. SSR provides additional flexibility and relief for Ukrainian international students, preventing them from losing their F-1 status. There are 104,618 Ukrainian noncitizens in the United States who could benefit from TPS, representing the ceiling of potential beneficiaries, according to the U.S. Census’ 2019 American Community Survey.* Migration Policy Institute estimates that roughly 30,000 Ukrainians in the United States would be potential beneficiaries of TPS or DED, as they do not have U.S. citizenship or permanent status**. TPS and SSR would protect Ukrainian noncitizens in the United States, including nearly 2,000 F-1 Ukrainian international students.

Jose Magaña-Salgado, Director of Policy and Communications, stated: “The situation in Ukraine is a textbook example of an armed conflict and extraordinary conditions that warrant a TPS designation under the law. This conflict represents the most significant attack on a European country since World War II. A failure to utilize TPS promptly and expeditiously would be an abdication of this administration’s duties to Ukrainian nationals in the United States, and commitment to humanitarian protections and migrants.”

Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director, stated: “In addition to a TPS designation for Ukraine, we call on Secretaries Blinken and Mayorkas to immediately announce SSR for Ukrainian international students, which allows eligible students to remain in the United States by suspending or altering rules regarding status, full course of study, and work eligibility during the designation period. International students from Ukraine will likely face significant obstacles and complexities in the coming weeks, months, and years; and uncertainty over their courses or ability to remain in the United States should not be one of those obstacles.” 

*This estimate includes lawful permanent resident status holders, undocumented immigrants, and other visa holders. This estimate was obtained by research conducted by Professor Tom K. Wong and the U.S. Immigration Policy Center.
** This figure was added on February 25, 2022 after the data was shared by MPI.


The nonpartisan, nonprofit Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration brings college and university presidents and chancellors together on the immigration issues that impact higher education, our students, campuses, communities and nation. We work to advance just, forward-looking immigration policies and practices at the federal, state, and campus levels that are consistent with our heritage as a nation of immigrants and the academic values of equity and openness. The Alliance is composed of over 500 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, enrolling over five million students in 43 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.