All smiles for graduation day

In the Competition for the World’s Best Minds, Why is the Federal Government Making things harder?

February 15, 2020

For generations, a US education was the gold standard in international degrees. The diversity of the US market, the focus on liberal arts education and infrastructure and faculty all set the standard for the world. In recent years though, it seems the Federal Government through the US Departments of Education, State and Homeland Security are determined to undermine that quality brand.

Whether it is accrediting apparently bogus universities, and blocking efforts to rein in bad actors, or creating fake institutions to entrap students (not all of whom are completely innocent we have to point out), it seems that the national priority is to undermine the American education brand.

Let’s be clear, the University of Northern Virginias' and Tri-Valleys' need to be identified and rooted out. Legitimate enforcement is always necessary and appropriate.

However coming on the heels of dropping visa approval rates for most institutions, especially those not in the US News Top 100, and ever more punitive efforts designed to punish and discourage international students from staying and making their fortunes in the United States, one could be forgiven for thinking that it almost looks intentional.

Here are the facts, international students, like any group of people, will have a small percentage of misbehavior. More often than not, this is caught early by all of the good work that DSO’s do at the schools for the sake of being amazing international educators (that really is an unpaid government job.) This cannot mean that all are presumed guilty which seems the case at the moment.

It is also true that international students are a powerful force for innovation, job creation and they add $41 billion and supported 458,290 jobs to the U.S. economy during the 2018-2019 academic year according to NAFSA, a leading international education advocacy organization. Finally, it is also a fact that in an era when government support for higher education is shrinking, that institutions must have new revenue sources to continue to deliver high quality programs that families and students expect.

So why, unlike every other major nation competing for international students (U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc.), is our government going out of their way to undermine the efforts to recruit the best young minds in the world?

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* Photo Credit EducationUSA