Foreign Students Look Forward to Visa Stability

Trump also issued an executive order in May banning Chinese graduate students from entering the country, saying they illegally acquire intellectual property from the United States.

“Trump’s multiple attempts to limit international students’ rights was stressful,” said Anna Shchetinina, a Russian student at the University of Minnesota. “However, I realize that during a Biden’s era relationships between Russia and the USA might get even more complicated” because of tension between the two countries.

“We, as Fulbrights, have a privilege, as we are directly sponsored by the Department of State,” said Jose A. Almodovar, 28, a Dominican student studying at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. “But many international students are not, and they live in fear that at some point their visa privileges will be terminated under President Trump for no reason whatsoever.”

“Concessions were only given to international students this semester because of a push from big universities to allow for flexibility due to the extenuating circumstances and uncertainty created by the pandemic,” said Mariana C.

“I’m scared that if Trump [is] re-elected, this same push from universities won’t be enough to keep the government pliant to the needs of the international student community,” she added before Biden was projected as president-elect.

“All I feel as an international student right now is relief,” tweeted Payel Paul, a biology graduate student at Indiana University-Bloomington. “Hopefully I will be able to continue the rest of my Ph.D. in peace, without the stress and fear of uncertainty hanging over my head. I will always be immensely thankful to the IUBiology faculty for always having our backs.”

Some students shared that they do not expect a big change in student visa policies or international student status.

“I honestly think Biden is going to be more moderate, but won’t do a positive radical change in the visa system. So, his administration is going to be less xenophobic but won’t also dramatically change visas to be in favor of international students here,” said Mohamed Badawy, 26, an Egyptian student at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York.

“Maybe it’d have been different had not COVID hit. But he got a lot on his plate to deal with now, if he wins. If he doesn’t, Trump would make the visa situation harder and difficult,” Badawy added.

“For me, as for a public health student, it’s preferable to see someone in the office who does not discredit the work of public health experts across the country and respects scientific expertise applied to fight the pandemic,” Ivasiy said.

“I hope federal funds will include financial aid for international students as well,” Ayesha-Wirasto said. International students are eligible for private loans, not federal aid, and little other financial aid. More than 60% of foreign students pay their tuition and fees out of pocket, according to the Institute for International Education.

Madeline Joung writes for VOA.This article is published courtesy of the Voice of America (VOA).