Presidents’ Alliance Applauds Temporary Protected Status and Special Student Relief Announcements for Venezuela and Afghanistan

For Immediate Release: September 22, 2023

Contact: Jason Koh,

Presidents’ Alliance Applauds Temporary Protected Status and Special Student Relief Announcements for Venezuela and Afghanistan

Washington D.C. –  The Presidents’ Alliance commends the Biden administration’s recent decision to redesignate and extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelan and Afghan nationals, and granting Special Student Relief (SSR) for Afghan international students here in the U.S. on F-1 visas. These crucial decisions reflect a practical and necessary response to the severe instability impacting both nations, rendering safe return impossible for those affected. The extension of TPS is a significant step forward in providing much-needed protections for thousands of families who seek refuge and the opportunity to live, work, and contribute to their communities in the United States.

Furthermore, we recognize that these decisions hold implications for thousands of international students. The Presidents’ Alliance urges the Biden Administration and Secretary Mayorkas to also announce the redesignation and extension of Special Student Relief (SSR) for Venezuelan students. This would offer these students greater flexibility to continue their education without hindrance, acknowledging the extraordinary hardships they face due to the crises at home.

Jill Welch, Senior Policy Advisor to the Presidents’ Alliance, stated:

“This week’s TPS announcements for Venezuelan nationals and TPS and SSR for Afghan nationals is welcomed and much needed. It represents a tremendously positive development for our Venezuelan and Afghan students, staff, scholars, and community members. SSR allows students the flexibility to drop below course load without losing student status and to work off-campus to help mitigate enormous financial strain. We reiterate our call for the administration to couple Special Student Relief with Temporary Protected Status (SSR).” 

Education is a fundamental human right, and we believe that by extending SSR, the United States can contribute to providing students from countries in crisis with the opportunity to pursue their dreams and aspirations despite the challenges they face. We stand ready to collaborate with the administration and relevant agencies to ensure that this relief reaches those who need it most.


The Special Student Relief (SSR) is the suspension of certain regulatory requirements by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for an F‑1 student from parts of the world that are experiencing emergent circumstances. Regulatory requirements that may be suspended or altered for an F-1 student include: duration of status, full course of study and off-campus employment eligibility. Learn more about the program here.

Also watch our webinar on TPS and SSR here.


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 support undocumented, international and refugee students, and advance forward-looking immigration policies and practices at the federal level, in our states, and across our college campuses. The Alliance is composed of 550+ college and university presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, enrolling over five million students in 43 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.