President Trump proposes changes to international student visas

Kaitlyn Bowers, Features Editor

International student Mami Okada began fearing the possibility of her student visa being taken away, when the pandemic first hit and classes went mostly remote. Now, President Trump’s recent proposal has given her even more reason to fear the possibility. 

“When I heard about Trump’s proposal, I didn’t really get why he felt this change was necessary, and I still don’t get it,” Okada said. “It doesn’t feel welcoming. Many international students come to the U.S. with their purposes. They have something that they want to achieve here. It is sad that he stops many people from chasing their dreams.”

On Sept. 25, President Trump’s administration released a 256-page document detailing proposed changes that would drastically affect how international student visas work. If these changes go into effect, international students will only have 4 years to complete their degree, despite statistics showing that most first-time college students take around 5 years to finish a bachelor’s degree. 

The proposal change would limit the stay for international students from certain countries—mainly Middle Eastern and African countries—to only 2 years. Many students would also be required to apply for extensions that may or may not be granted. This could lead to much uncertainty among international students. 

Mami Okada makes up just one of many international students that call themselves an Osprey. In fact, UNF is ranked 52 out of 1,204 U.S. universities in College Factual’s list, “Overall Best Value U.S. Colleges & Universities for International Students.”

However, if the changes go through, assistant director of UNF International Center Adianez Garcia Campos fears that the rate of international students will decline.

“Decisions happen throughout your [college] career and you don’t know where you’ll end up,” Garcia Campos said. “So having a limitation of 2 years or 4 years, depending on the country, can cause a lot of uncertainty for students, and with that, we’ll probably see a decline in the international student population.”

Garcia Campos also points out that many students may not be able to afford to take the amount of classes required each semester to graduate within 4 years. For families who have planned for 5 years of education, a change to a 4 year requirement can be quite the financial burden. 

If the proposed changes are implemented, current international students will not have to worry about their current degree being affected. However, if they intend on pursuing a degree past that and the changes do go into effect, the regulations will also apply to them. 

Only time will tell if these changes will go through. Regardless, the UNF International Center is here to help. More information on the center can be found here. 

Featured image by Jeremy Dorrough via Unsplash.


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