A sense of relief swept through the hundreds of Indian students of the shuttered Tri-Valley University with the US authorities on Wednesday announcing guidelines enabling them to apply to be allowed to stay and study.
They are not being put on the first flight home, as most of them feared.
"Students who contact SEVP (Student and Exchange Visa Program) representatives will be advised they have three options," US immigration and customs spokesperson Virginia Kice told HT .
One of the affected students called the announcement a "great opportunity".
About 1,500 students - mostly from India - were left without a valid status to stay here in the US after their university was raided for allegedly running an immigration racket enabling job-seekers to come in as students.
A few of them were detained for questioning by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and radio-tagged.
The rest feared the worst, arrest or deportation - or both. The three options before them now are:
One: Students who contact ICE to be processed for voluntary departure can choose when they want to leave and will remain in the US until without the fear of being arrested.
"And this keeps their immigration history clean," Kice said.
Does this mean these students can go home, start the process all over again, apply to a US university and return if accepted? Not clear.
Two: Leave the US on your own.
Three: Stay and file for re-instatement of the status as student with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The authorities will decide this on a case-by-case basis and much will depend on admissions.