By Anton Lucanus
Despite competition from improved colleges in Southeast and East Asia, the US is still an attractive study prospect for international students.
Every year, over a million immigrants are granted permanent residence in the US, according to Department of Homeland Security numbers. It works out to 328 immigrants for every 100,000 people living in the US.
Young people, from less developed countries, in particular, are competing to get a foothold in the American education system, which they believe is the passport to a successful life. As former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, once said, “In America, with education and hard work, it really does not matter where you come from; it matters only where you are going.”
According to the Institute of International Education headquartered in New York, around 583,000 international students enrolled in American colleges and universities during 2006-2007. The admission numbers increased over the years, and the year 2015-2016 was the first time that admissions topped one million students.
However, 2017 admissions of international students showed that the US is losing its popularity among the world’s students. Only 400,000 international students received US visas in 2017, which amounted to a 17% drop in admission from 2016, and a significant 40% drop from 2015.
Many reasons are attributed to this decline. One of the biggest hindrances is the current US administration’s immigration policies, which is turning the American Dream into an “American Nightmare.” Visa applications are being scrutinized and combed over minutely and international students are compelled to leave the US after graduation because work visas are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. Many US colleges believe that these restrictive policies are making education in the US unattractive to students around the world.
Hence, the increase of improved colleges in Southeast Asia and East Asia.
However, there is hope yet to overcome this seemingly insurmountable barrier. It’s called PassRight, an organization focused on disrupting the current US visa process through transparency and efficiency, serving as a dashboard for visa applicants. As PassRight CTO , Gal Talmor, said, “With PassRight, you can see the whole case: You have access and guidance to the correct forms, documents, and questionnaires. You can follow the steps, backtrack, move things around, and feel confident in the decision-making process. Transparency of the process makes it easier and more empowering.”
The visa process aside, US colleges are becoming too costly for many international students, with colleges increasing their tuition to make up for drastic budget cuts from state funds for local students. On the flip side, more colleges in countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia in Southeast Asia and South Korea in East Asia, are increasing their international student enrolment. However, when it comes to International students in the US, the problem is not just the price but the eligibility for applying for a work visa. According to Liran Rosenfeld, CEO of PassRight, the only way for foreign graduates to get a work visa is the H-1B lottery. That’s not a safe route to pay off student loans. What if you’re not selected in the lottery? What’s next? According to Rosenfeld, the only other option is the O-1 Visa for those who are extraordinary. The criteria for O-1 visa is related to students who are doing more than just to study. The important thing is to know what the O-1 criteria are, in order to try and achieve those.
PassRight considered the O-1 Visa company is helping students understand what to do in order to qualify for the O-1 Visa by the time they graduate and ready for their OPT year. The OPT is the last chance to work hard and try to get eligibility for the O-1. StudentIt appears these Asian colleges are doubling down on efforts to woo international students disenchanted with western college procedures. Along with low tuition and low living costs, these Asian countries are adapting their education systems to attract larger numbers of international students. For instance, Malaysia is making the visa process easier with the aim of increasing its international student population to 200,000 by 2020, while Japan is aiming for a 60% increase in international students, hoping to enroll 300,000 by 2020.
Despite the blossoming conveniences and improved global rankings of Southeast Asian colleges closer to home, the US still holds allure as the golden Land of Opportunity for many international students. For instance, over the past year, the number of Nepalese students studying in the US has shown a phenomenal increase of 18%. Nepal now ranks 12th among top 25 countries sending students to the US for higher education.
Former US President Barack Obama once said, “When we study together, we learn together, we work together and we prosper together.”
Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to guide current students to achieve personal and academic goals.