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US looks to attract foreign students

Posted on September 23, 2011
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The new Study in the States program announced Friday aims to enrich the academic talent in the United States by attracting the brightest and most competitive international students through simplification of the visa application process.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration Custom Enforcement said the new online initiative as a part of the government’s increased effort to encourage international students to continue their studies in the United States. The initiative will simplify the visa process for international students interested in applying to higher education in the United States.

As part of the initiative, DHS and ICE have created a website for students applying to and attending colleges in the United States.

Tony Tambascia, executive director for the Office of International Services, said the website will be a useful tool because it was created by the government agencies that oversee the visa process.

“We’re reviewing this new website now to determine if we think it would be a resource we want to point students to,” Tambascia said. “There are many ways that students learn about how to go about becoming an international student at an American university, but the fact that this new site was developed by the Department of Homeland Security makes it interesting since DHS oversees all the rules and regulations for international students and scholars in the U.S.”

The interactive website offers foreign students the ability to track their own “road map to success” as they follow readily accessible information about applying for a student visa.

Anders Ho, a junior from Hong Kong majoring in international relations, said the website has the potential to offer useful tips that are not common knowledge for international students studying in the United States.

“International students are not necessarily [aware] of the procedures at American universities,” Ho said. “For example we have to apply for classes later than everybody else so it would be good if current international students can relay these types of helpful hints to new applicants on the site.”

Qi Shen, a graduate student from China studying in electrical engineering, said the visa application process is complicated.

“It’s great that the site is being launched because figuring out the steps for getting your student visa was one of the toughest parts in applying to different universities here,” Shen said.

The site also includes links to different social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, which allow students to share important information about visa requirements in a more accessible setting.

More than 1.1 million active nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors and their dependents attend colleges and universities, training programs and exchange programs in the United States, according to DHS.

Study in the States has also improved policies that give international students the opportunity to pursue a career in the United States after graduation. This year, DHS has also launched an extension to the STEM Designated Degree Program, which allows nonimmigrant graduates to stay in the United States up to 29 months after graduation as a part of Optional Practical Training.

Arlene Washington

20 Sep 2011

US looks to attract foreign students

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