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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

SCHUMER INTRODUCES BILL TO ALLOW MORE F-1 STUDENTS TO ATTEND PUBLIC SCHOOLS

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Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the chair of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, has introduced S. 823, legislation that would reform F-1 student rules for those attending public schools in the US. Under current law, an F-1 can only attend a public school in the US for one year even though F-1 students are required to pay tuition to the school system in an amount at least as high as the cost of educating them.The bill would allow students to attend for longer periods as long as they pay their way.


Why should we care when these same students can attend private schools for an unlimited amount of time? A lot of public schools, particularly in rural areas, face closure if they can't increase their enrollments and some innovative school districts like the one in Newcomb, New York are re-branding their schools as international prep schools as they welcome students from around the globe. It's a great way to bring the world to American kids that ordinarily would have little contact with international culture and it provides international students with exposure to an aspect of America that they often miss.


Immigration politics have blocked even relatively modest bills like this one from passing over the last few years, but hopefully we're going to see some change this year. My visits to the Hill last week leave me optimistic so hopefully this bill will have a real shot this year.


 

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  1. Anonymous's Avatar
    Thanks Greg. How about amending other rules in F-1 visa as well. Heard if one has a M.S and used the OPT, then he will not get another OPT if he goes to get an MBA, because another OPT will only be given if he went for a PhD, that is a higher degree. If this is true all the time, then it is unfair, as many people having gained the technical experience want to go for a business education. Can you comment on this.

    Thanks for your inputs.
  2. Mr. Robin DeLoria's Avatar
    Hi Greg... the 1996 legislation favored private schools and placed no restriction on the number of years an F1 visa holder could attend. With the advent of SEVIS, public school districts must first obtain designation from Home Land Security to become part of its electronic tracking of students.

    As a "component program" of a school district, having foreign students return for subsequent years opens many doors to its children. Newcomb School for example has hosted 30 students from 24 different countries in the last four years. Many of these student wanted to return, and would have been accepted.

    The public schools should be given the same opportunity to allow or disallow the students to return as do the private schools. That is what Schumers bill is about; giving States and public schools the choice of having the F1 students returning.

    Canada, allows returning F1 students. These foreign students in Canada, spend an estimated $3.8 billion a year there (not counting tuition fees). While the Schumer bill may become an economic policy change for the US, it should be remembered as an "education one".

  3. Skip Hults, Superintendent's Avatar
    Hey Greg! Thanks for remembering us at Newcomb! Our school has been transformed by the advent of our international program. Bringing the world to Newcomb works!!!!! It works for us and it will work for ALL RURAL, UNDERUTILIZED SCHOOLS! Our students have not only gained understanding of many nations, including Iraq, Lebanon, Bangladesh, China, Thailand, Russia, etc., we have continued relationships with the students from these nations. With skype and facebook, our students stay in close contact with our former students. The change in the F-1 law will allow us to compete with private schools. Greg, our little town so believes in the international program, they are building a dorm, and we will be able to use it to house these students- WHO HOPEFULLY WILL BE STAYING FOUR YEARS. Please Greg, encourage people to contact their senators to pass this bill and allow us to have the same rights as private schools.
  4. USC's Avatar
    Skip/Robin:

    Thank you for your posts. They reinforce the point that how much other cultures can contribute to the US and how foreign students educated in the US are the best ambassadors for the American way of life.
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