Visas hard for students to come by.Byline: Greg Bolt The Register-Guard
Friends, money and even congressional support haven't been enough to get Pema Chhopyyel a student visa.
Embassy officials in India have twice rejected the young Bhutanese man's application to come to Eugene and study communications and media at Lane Community College. It's his dream to get an American education and return to the tiny Himalayan kingdom to work in its fledgling broadcast company.
Chhopyyel and his supporters haven't given up, but their struggle highlights the growing concern over the future of international education in an increasingly cautious America. Student visa applicants are facing much closer scrutiny, in both the application process and when those who are approved arrive in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , which is expected to slow international enrollment nationwide.
The trend is of particular concern at the University of Oregon The University of Oregon is a public university located in Eugene, Oregon. The university was founded in 1876, graduating its first class two years later. The University of Oregon is one of 60 members of the Association of American Universities. , where a long tradition of welcoming foreign students has given the campus a distinctly international flavor. Already the UO has seen a small decrease in foreign student enrollment, but some worry that's just the beginning.
"I'm sure there is more to come," said Magid Shirzadegan, associate director of international programs at the UO. "We're very worried about next year."
The UO had 1,403 foreign students enrolled fall term, down from 1,440 in fall 2001 but up from 1,373 in 2000. The number has bounced around the 1,400 mark for several years after falling from a peak of more than 1,600, largely because of world economic problems in the mid-1990s.
LCC (Leadless Chip Carrier, Leaded Chip Carrier) See leadless chip carrier, CLCC and PLCC.
1. LCC - Language for Conversational Computing. Written at CMU in the 1960's. has seen its international student count drop to 180 from about 250 at its mid-1990s peak.
Part of the concern lies with the parents of foreign students, who worry whether their children will be safe if they come to America. Shirzadegan said last year's anthrax anthrax (ăn`thrăks), acute infectious disease of animals that can be secondarily transmitted to humans. It is caused by a bacterium (Bacillus anthracis scare frightened fright·en
v. fright·ened, fright·en·ing, fright·ens
1. To fill with fear; alarm.
2. many parents, and others worry that their children will be detained de·tain
tr.v. de·tained, de·tain·ing, de·tains
1. To keep from proceeding; delay or retard.
2. To keep in custody or temporary confinement: by immigration authorities immigration authorities npl → servicio sg de inmigración
immigration authorities npl → service m de l'immigration
and held without being able to contact anyone.
"After Sept. 11, some of the parents are scared for their kids to come to the U.S.," he said.
But new immigration rules The Immigration Rules of the United Kingdom are laid down by Parliament and provide the framework within which entry to the United Kingdom is administered. The requirements for Leave to Enter or Leave to Remain under different categories of the Rules are provided as well as invoked in the wake of the terrorist attacks may have the biggest effect. Under those rules, returning foreign students and family members who travel with them are subject to closer monitoring, and new students are finding it harder to get visas to enter the United States.
Blyth Carpenter, the Vida author and traveler who befriended Chhopyyel on one of her trips to Bhutan with her husband, said it didn't seem to help that a group of supporters raised $13,000 for Chhopyyel's college expenses, lined up a home for him, gathered dozens of letters of support and even got U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio's office to help. Chhopyyel never got past the embassy in Delhi.
"This has been a really tedious and sort of sad and discouraging dis·cour·age
tr.v. dis·cour·aged, dis·cour·ag·ing, dis·cour·ag·es
1. To deprive of confidence, hope, or spirit.
2. To hamper by discouraging; deter.
3. process," said Carpenter, who noted that embassy officials didn't even look at the documents before rejecting Chhopyyel's application. "Our visa officers seem to simply reject anybody they can reject. They assume anybody who is male and single is either a terrorist or a false immigrant planning to marry an American and stay."
International student advocates say they understand that tighter rules are needed, especially given that some of the Sept. 11 terrorists were in the country on student visas. But they hope those restrictions don't end up being so tight they keep legitimate students and scholars from coming to America and expanding the horizons of American campuses.
"We want the international students here, and we want the international faculty here and we're doing what we can to maintain their presence on campus," said Ginny Ginny is most often used as a short form of the name Virginia, but often also refers to Ginevra, Geneva, Genevieve and other Juniper-related names. In addition, when a food or beverage has a juniper taste, it is said to be ginny (the word gin is derived from the Dutch word for Stark, the UO's director of international student and scholar services. "We're very proud of our international population and the diversity they bring."
Khaled Ishaq, an international studies student from Yemen pursing a master's degree master's degree
An academic degree conferred by a college or university upon those who complete at least one year of prescribed study beyond the bachelor's degree.
Noun 1. at the UO, said people in Eugene have been very open and welcoming throughout his 18 months at the university. He said UO officials have worked hard to assist foreign students, but acknowledged that the current climate may make it difficult to attract new students from outside the country.
"They're trying their best, but it's not going to be an easy thing to do," he said. "I think for the most part many people have given up the idea of applying for schools in the U.S. for now."
Shirzadegan said the UO has seen a dip in the total number of international applications, but said the percentage of those accepted who actually come to the university is up. The UO has boosted its recruiting efforts with a program in which international students call applicants from their home countries and tell them about life at the university.
That's a first for the UO, which in the past could rely on its reputation alone to bring in foreign students.
"We never used to do recruiting," Shirzadegan said. "Students would come just by word of mouth."
In the long term, Shirzadegan said, he thinks international enrollment will rebound rebound (rē´bownd),
n/v 1. a recovery from illness.
n 2. an outbreak of fresh reflex activity after withdrawal of a stimulus
rebound adjective once the kinks are worked out of the new rules and people are more used to them. And in the end, he doesn't think the United States will fence itself off behind a bureaucratic bu·reau·crat
1. An official of a bureaucracy.
2. An official who is rigidly devoted to the details of administrative procedure.
bu Great Wall of China.
"I truly believe that in this era it is not possible to build this great China wall around our country," he said. "The U.S. cannot isolate isolate /iso·late/ (i´sah-lat)
1. to separate from others.
2. a group of individuals prevented by geographic, genetic, ecologic, social, or artificial barriers from interbreeding with others of their kind. itself."