DISSENT: The Case for Keeping Aid Close to Home
Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 02:01
The strict limits on financial aid to international students do not affect the integrity of the admissions process nor the diversity of the Georgetown community; rather, these limits correctly give preference to students at home before those from abroad.
It is for this reason that we dissent from the majority opinion of the editorial board in today’s piece, “Aid Without Borders.”
It is justifiably upsetting for international students that the amount of financial aid available to them is not the same as the amount available to students from the United States. This, however, does not mean that Georgetown does not support international students through their academic careers nor reject these students if they are unable to pay. In an article last year (“Foreign Students Face Limited Aid,” A1, Jan. 25, 2013), The Hoya chronicled an international student’s application process for financial aid. In the article, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Charles Deacon stated, “We admit international students regardless of financial need and help them figure out their finances after they are admitted.”
International students should not be — and statistics show that they are not — deterred from applying to Georgetown. According to the 2012-2013 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange published by the Institute of International Education, Georgetown is currently host to 2,240 international students, including 373 undergraduates.
Georgetown requires that all international students pay full tuition, which provides revenue to the university and the U.S. economy through expenditures on tuition, living expenses, room and board and transportation, etc. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, international students contributed a much-needed $24 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2012-2013 academic year.
Domestic students are most likely to stay in the United States after graduation. Georgetown, like all universities, has a strong interest in promoting the intellectual capabilities of its own nation. While foreign students unquestionably provide important assets to a competitive university, American citizens ought to receive preferential treatment. If Georgetown were to increase the amount of financial aid available to international students, the financial aid available for domestic students would decrease. There is only a certain amount of funds available because financial aid is a zero-sum game.
Lastly, international students should solidify their commitment to stay and work in the U.S. post-graduation if they are to receive further financial aid. In the status quo, international students obtain F-1 visas to come to college in the U.S. These non-immigrant student visas allow students to enroll in an academic or language program in the U.S. However, these visas make it incredibly difficult for international students to find a job in the U.S. after graduation because recent non-American graduates have a period of only 60 days to enroll in another university or a practical training program to gain employment. If an international student wants to stay in the U.S. for a longer period of time, he or she needs a company sponsor, which is resource intensive and limited to 65,000 cases per year. Given these barriers, the option of returning home and using newfound skills in the students’ home countries has been an increasingly viable option for international students. If these students decide to go home after studying in the U.S., they contribute significantly and quantifiably less to the American economy and society compared to a student from the United States.
Georgetown prides itself on a student body that is diverse by any definition. A constricted budget unfortunately prevents Georgetown from offering financial aid to all, both foreign and domestic students, on equal terms, but important distinctions must be made. Given such restrictions, we disagree with the editorial board in today’s opinion, and we judge the university’s current approach to be both reasoned and appropriate.
Katy Berk is a sophomore in the College. Kelly Nosé is a senior in the School of Nursing & Health Studies. They are both members of the editorial board of The Hoya.