Although more than 4,000 international students are currently on
campus, the University has seen a 12 percent decrease in
international student applications this year.

University administrators say the decrease is a result of
tightened U.S. security and challenges with immigration paperwork
since Sept. 11.

The University is losing international students to England,
France and other European countries because there are fewer travel
restrictions than in the U.S., International Center Director
Rodolfo Altamirano said.

“The past couple of years, we have been working double
time and triple time to compensate for the new regulations,”
he said.

MBA student Matthieu Garnier said he has noticed that
applications from students in Europe to schools in the United
States has “dropped dramatically” from last year.

“I think it has something to do with the economy, but also
because it’s harder to get a visa and there’s more
paperwork,” said MBA student Matthieu Garnier, who was born
in France.

International students must be especially careful when filling
out their visa forms, Altamirano said.

“One wrong move could terminate or deactivate their
visa,” he said.

Students must meet requirements and make sure that their
passports are valid, or they could be deemed unlawful, Altamirano
said. He said while most international students are not deported,
paperwork errors can complicate the process of obtaining or
renewing a visa.

In order to have a valid student visa, undergraduates must take
at least 12 credits at a time, a graduate student must take eight
credits and a doctoral student must have at least six credits. In
addition, international students are not allowed to work more than
20 hours per week.

“For our international students, there are so many
hindrances to come to the U.S.,” Altamirano said.

International students at the University said they have noticed
changes under new security laws.

“Before 9-11, it used to be fine to travel back and forth.
But now just by looking at our last name (immigration officials)
check us,” LSA sophomore and India native Aparnaa Bhatt
said.

One of students’ biggest fears is going home and not being
able to get back into the United States. Because background checks
for a visa can take up to six months, international students could
miss the first semester of school if they experience problems with
their paperwork.

“I’m not as influenced as other people because I
have a visa here, but I know other people who could not get a visa
and people who are scared to go back to their own country, because
they don’t know if they’ll be able to come back,”
said Business School student Ning Lu, who is from China.

The International Center helps students fill out immigration
forms and tries to make them feel more comfortable while
they’re at the University, Altamirano said.

“We want to show them that we are a home away from home.
We are caring and we want to help them and serve them,” he
added.

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