Group of Over 500 College and University Presidents Applaud the Administration for Swift Designation of TPS for Ukraine

Coalition also requests Special Student Relief for the nearly 2,000 Ukrainian international students 

March 4, 2022
CONTACT: Jose Magaña-Salgado (

Washington, D.C.—The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration applauds the administration’s swift action to designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that roughly 75,000 noncitizen Ukrainians would benefit from TPS TPS and Special Student Relief (SSR) would protect Ukrainian nationals in the United States, including nearly 2,000 F-1 Ukrainian international students. We now urge the administration to swiftly provide SSR to Ukrainian international students in the United States. 

Jose Magaña-Salgado, Director of Policy and Communications, stated: “We commend and laud the administration for taking immediate action to designate Ukraine for TPS. Critically, we encourage the administration to use this momentum to similarly provide relief, both through TPS and SSR, to noncitizens from other war-torn and unsafe countries, including Black-majority countries such as Ethiopia, Cameroon, and Mauritania, as well as Afghanistan. The marshaling of State, DHS, and White House resources to provide relief to Ukraine demonstrates that the administration has the tools and authority to expand humanitarian protections via TPS aggressively, and we encourage the bold use of this authority.”

Jill Welch, Senior Policy Advisor, Presidents’ Alliance stated: “We are glad to see a swift TPS designation for Ukraine; now we urge the Department of Homeland Security to move quickly to provide Special Student Relief (SSR) for Ukrainian and other students who need the flexibility to drop below course load and to work off-campus to mitigate financial strain during these extraordinarily challenging times. According to Open Doors data, there were 1,739 Ukrainian students enrolled in U.S. higher education in 2020-21. And even as we applaud DHS’s actions that provide much-needed relief to Ukrainian nationals currently residing in the United States, we must not forget our students from other countries who also need both TPS and SSR. 

To highlight just a few of the countries with students studying in the United States for which DHS should immediately announce SSR: Afghanistan (354), Cameroon (930), Colombia (7107), Democratic Republic of the Congo (1125), El Salvador (1492), Ethiopia (2166), Guatemala (1102), and Sudan (324). While the numbers of students needing SSR may seem small in comparison to the numbers of displaced individuals worldwide, these students nonetheless need our support in enabling them to continue their programs without the additional stress of worrying whether they might fall out of status. Ultimately, a durable solution is needed both from Congress and the Administration for not only students from these countries with emergent circumstances but also for our undocumented students, scholars, and staff who are integral parts of our campus communities.”


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.