Foreign Students, Local Burden

There’s a problem with foreign students attending our state universities that’s not immediately obvious, and I wanted to make sure I pointed it out.

State universities receive a significant part of their funding from the state.  At my alma mater, it was much more than half, with government funding, research grants, and charitable donations making up around 85% of funding (according to the fund raising campaigns that used to be run on campus).  Nearly all of that money comes from within the United States.

When a foreign student comes to campus, they filled a place that was paid for mostly by Americans, even though most of those students came from well-to-do families abroad.  Even if they pay twice the cost in tuition, they’re still getting a great deal on the cost of an education.  Not only that, but they’re willing and able to take student research positions without pay.  That takes away opportunities from American students competing for the all important experience required to get a job after school.

I’m not saying this out of animosity, but there’s only so many opportunities available to our students.  If we allow foreign students to come to our country and take those opportunities, then they will be the ones who prosper while our own people (who paid the taxes to support the university both directly and indirectly) never see the benefit of their country’s investment.

I’ve been told there’s plenty of opportunity for students in STEM fields, you just need to go out and find it.  If there’s really “more than enough to go around”, then we need to make unlimited opportunities available for student internships within the school.  I know that’s unrealistic – that’s the source of my frustration.  Americans are paying a premium to support our universities, but are being shortchanged on opportunity by foreign students who attend them.  If Americans are paying for the universities, then Americans should be favored in the process when there’s a shortage of work.

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