University's international students face economic difficulties

University's international students face economic difficulties

By Shambhu Sharan

The recent economic downturn hurt many university students.

The students, who graduated or are graduating soon, face difficulties paying their different bills.  Most students have jobs. However, the international students have many more problems. The University of Texas at Arlington’s international students makes up 10 percent of the student body. The university offers scholarships, research grants, teaching assistantship, research funding to pay tuition and bills for qualified international students.

The graduate international students have to keep their GPAs high. Physics graduate Kunal Tiwari said he lost the university’s tuition assistance last semester because his GPA dropped below 3.00. UTA’s education quality is much better than Indian universities. The only thing is education is more expensive here compared to India. International students pay 40-50 percent more tuition compare to in-state tuition.

International students cannot get students loans and are legally not permitted to work off campus jobs. They cannot get a social security numbers unless they have an on-campus job. The SSN is the basic requirement to get cell phone connections and other essential things. The students cannot work more than 20 hours each week, and the average on-campus job pays $7 an hour.

Undergraduate and master’s international students who have no scholarships and grants work and study hard to keep their GPA up to stay in the university.

Business Administration graduate student Prashant Dwivedi said the medical care here is expensive compared to the Southeast Asia. He spends $18,000 per year for all his expenses. He took a loan from a bank in India. He received scholarship for a semester that was the great help for him.

“It is very hard to get medical treatment when I become sick,” Dwivedi said. “Most cases, I can’t get an appointment same day at the University’s Health Service Center. The health insurance doesn’t cover the alternative medicine.”

Job market is looking for experts to employ them. Considering the job market, those who graduated are having hard time to find a job. H-1 visa has made stricter to get jobs for the international students.

Besides financial problems, most international students use public transportation to buy groceries and go off the campus. The University provides shuttle service on Saturday and Sunday from the campus to Wal-Mart.

Most Indian students like to eat cooked food at home. Due to busy schedules, they don’t find time every day to cook.

There is a scarcity of on-campus apartments because the university is demolishing the Legacy Height apartments. The landlords have increased the apartment rent.

After getting a university degree if students do not get hired in their field, they are compelled to work in low paying jobs like restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets.

I think university's international students have many difficulties and challenges. The university administration and the government should try to solve some of the problems.

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