WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Some international college students with certain visas could have to leave the country or transfer schools under new rules by the federal government.
That is if their university decides to go fully online in Fall 2020.
MSU plans to return in person come August, but the possibility is still very concerning for some international MSU students.
“It was a shock, it was unexpected,” MSU student Bianca Zuleta, who is from Bolivia, said.
“My heart kinda stopped and I couldn’t breathe,” MSU student Bridget Reilly, who is from Australia, said.
“It was kind of a surprise, I think for everyone,” an MSU graduate student who wishes to remain anonymous said.
“We think it’s in ways, unfair,” MSU student Sharome Burton, who is from Dominica, said.
That’s how those four MSU students felt when learning they’d have to leave the United States if their university goes fully online in the fall.
Zuleta is supposed to graduate in December.
“It’s really hard to have already made it to this point then having to take that step back, a lot of people make so many sacrifices for this that would all just be thrown away,” Zuleta said.
An anonymous student fears completing his master’s courses with limited internet resources if he’s deported.
“Sometimes we live in countries that have difficulties on that, here in the U.S. since it’s like a more ahead country, sometimes it’s easier to keep track of classes.”
Burton wants others to see the value in what international students bring to the table.
“By in large, live by the rules, provide excellence and of course monetary, financial contribution to the U.S. system, we think that’s unfair and not very well thought out of all things considered,” Burton said.
As does Reilly who also emphasizes the impact this could have from a financial standpoint.
“The international students are the backbone of higher education and we rake in 41 billion dollars a year at least,” Reilly said.
MSU Cycling Director Charlie Zamastil coaches many international students, he’s also advocating for them.
“I’ve even thrown out there that I’d be willing to be an instructor on record for one credit class held in the football field so that it would be a face to face class for international students only and I’d do it pro-bono,” Zamastil said.
For these students, it’s a fear of the unknown but a hope that their voices will be heard.
MSU Global Education Director Dr. Michael Mills is hosting a meeting via Zoom with international students and some of their coaches Thursday to discuss this.