Fabienne Fleurantin/ Staff Writer
At FIU, every student’s experiences differ as we all come from various backgrounds, environments and hold different perspectives. My college experience so far has been an amazing one–extremely memorable with the blessing of new and long-lasting friendships. However, that may not be the case for all.
I’m an American citizen and have had the privilege of access to scholarship opportunities, grants and financial aid due to my status. I’m also eligible to obtain a job on or off-campus, if I choose to do so. However, this is not the case for international students.
For in-state students, total matriculation for fall and spring is $6,570.88. For out-of-state, it is three times higher, totaling to $18,969.75, according to admission.fiu.edu.
Recent graduate, Vivian Betancourt, enjoyed her undergraduate experience at FIU, but did comment on the difficulties that came with paying for tuition.
“It is important to understand that being an international student is very expensive,” Betancourt said. “The tuition costs three times more than a regular student, and even the insurance for international students is higher. The problem is that you can just work on campus and have to deal with a lot of expenses.”
FIU does offer many scholarships and work-study jobs for all students, but the competition is fierce and the wait is long. Essentially, it is on a first come, first serve basis. Some students will more than likely receive jobs based on their inside connections. The more people you know, the farther you go.
Usually, if one could not find a job on-campus, what they would do is search off-campus. But that cannot be done if they were never offered one in the first place. That option has been taken away from them.
“This is the hardest part since you depend on your personal income. So, if you can’t find a job on campus, then things get harder for you because there is no other place you can work at,” Betancourt said. “Unfortunately, this is not something that FIU can change since this is an immigration law that universities and students have to follow.”
As a result of her being an international student, not only was it difficult for her to try to find a job on campus, but after graduation as well.
“I graduated from FIU this past summer, and now I’m waiting for my OPT permit for U.S. Immigration services,” Betancourt said. “This permit allows international students to work after graduation. It costs $410, which may not be a lot of money. But when you don’t have a job, it’s difficult.”
There are many complications to being an international student, and it is not fair that they have to go through all these hoops just to take one step in the right direction.
To an extent, I understand the protections and protocol that go into protecting our country as a whole and making sure we are safe, but these students are not a threat. Their only mission is to get an education and and create a better life for themselves.
It doesn’t make sense to have tuition that is three times higher and not have a job to compensate for it. If anything, they would need that job more to be able to pay for their education.
FIU should consider creating jobs dedicated to international students, in the hope that it will help them pay their tuition and possibly have some money left over for their OPT.
This small change could create immense waves and transform the lives of international students for the better.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
Photo taken from Flickr.