If there has been anything consistent about President Donald Trump, then it has been his inconsistencies! His constant tweets and executive decisions have left people wondering about US’s position on various issues such as Education, Foreign policy, Immigration, and Climate. As Indians do we need to worry about his policies? How will they affect us?
For quite a few generations now, USA has been the top destination for higher education thanks to the quality of education and quality of life that it provides. Further, a look at the QS World University Rankings for 2017 proves this point as well. While you have Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the first place, second and third places are occupied by Stanford and Harvard University respectively. University of Cambridge, London comes in at fourth place.
The top MBA Universities in USA rank this way,
- Harvard University, Cambridge
- Stanford University, Stanford
- University of Chicago, Chicago
Major Concerns Under Trump:
If you look at the statistics, there are over a million students who travel to the US to pursue higher education and of this Indians constitute about 150,000.
According to a survey conducted by the Institute of International Education (New Delhi), some of the major concerns that Indian students have are as follows:
- President Donald Trump’s travel ban and possible changes to the visa policy has thrown a wrench in the plans of many students who were hoping to have a smooth start in fall this year. Under the present regulations, once they have an approved I-20, and are enrolled in a program, they can stay for as long as they want. However, according to a new pitch that has been proposed by the Department of Homeland Security, international students will be required to apply for a visa every year. This will not only mean higher costs but additional paperwork and undue stress for students.
- The number of hate crimes that have been reported in last year is dissuading many Indians from applying to universities in the US. There is an increasing feeling of being unwelcome is what most of the students feel and this is could be associated with the anti-immigrant rhetoric that seems to be prevalent in most of Mr. Trump’s speeches.
- Another major worry for Indian students has been the job prospects after completion of their education. The concern is growing that the H1-B visa which is so popular amongst the Indians is going through some major changes and that the President is soon going to sign the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order. This will mean that the job prospects are not promising.
- Other countries such as UK, Canada, and Australia are now looking more attractive to Indian students. The visa processing times, the admissions process, safety, the affordability of stay and the educational facilities are all being considered better as compared to the US and hence the number of people considering these countries for their higher education has steadily increased in the past year.
Why these fears are unwarranted:
If we look at the situation a little closer, we can see that things are not as grim as they seem. Let me try to address each of the above fears:
- It is true that the Trump Travel Ban has posed some hurdles for students who have already applied for courses in the US. However, it must be stated that the ban is yet to be fully implemented and an exemption has been given to students and faculty. The newly proposed pitch which has not been submitted will take more than 18 months after such a submission. Further, there are clarifications from the Trump administration that the focus is low-paying jobs and not students. Therefore, students should look at facts and not assumptions.
- While the reports of the hate crimes raise alarm, universities and colleges are reaching out to students to allay their fears and show support through several outreach programs welcoming them to their campuses, reassuring the students that they will offer a safe environment to pursue their education. After all, it is also in their own interests to attract the best talent from all over the world.
- As far as job prospects are concerned in lieu of changes to the H1-B visa, Indian students will only benefit from it. There are two major changes that are being proposed. First, a law that makes it tougher to get an H1-B for low-paying jobs and Second, removing the master’s quota for H1-B. Here’s why it is beneficial for international students
- American companies pay quite high for students who have finished their master’s in the US, so this puts you in the higher income bracket. Plus, Indian students who may not earn so much and are graduating in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) have 3 years to achieve that target.
- Many MS students have been denied a visa because 70%-80% of the visa quota was being used up by the Tech Companies. Now, the students have a better chance of getting the said visa.
- Also, another important aspect that is not being considered is that the bill has only been introduced and it will take a while before it can be implemented.
- If we talk about other countries attracting the student population, then the biggest problem is that most Business schools that rank within the top 10 belong to the US, with a few from the UK and the least from Asia. The fact remains that America provides greater access to facilities, funding, along with a flexibility to choose the areas of study. Also, some of the best companies are American and the quality of life there is outstanding. This is something that forces students to rethink and head back to the US.
The world is increasingly becoming a global village and hence bringing your perspective to the American education is not only critical but invaluable. Opportunities since the arrival of Donald Trump have not reduced, in fact, in some ways, they have only improved.