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Study Abroad: US Embassy & World Consulates Prioritizing Student Visas
After clearing 62,000 visas this summer, the US embassy confirms that the universities of the USA remain in top priority for Indian students...

by Himani Verma / 25 Nov 2021 16:33 PM IST / 0 Comment(s) / 28

After clearing 62,000 visas this summer, the US embassy confirms that the universities of the USA remain in top priority for Indian students who are going to pursue higher education overseas.

Strategies introduced by the US to bring back the international students that are lost due to COVID.

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Centre (NSCRC), there is a dip in international students in the US due to COVID. And now, the United States is planning to bring back the lost students. The US is committed to its international education and welcoming Indian students to the States is always their priority.

US consulates and embassies around the globe prioritized student visas this past summer. International students were exempted from the US Presidential Proclamation that restricted the entry of individuals who had been in India in the 14 days before going to the United States. Therefore, Indian students were able to apply for visas and travel to America. This summer, the United States issued over 62,000 student visas. This shows that the USA remains the destination of choice for Indian students who will pursue higher education abroad.

The US Universities have taken several steps to amplify the recruitment process and provide increased access to information:

  • Several US universities have enhanced their engagement and participation in virtual recruitment initiatives such as virtual meet-ups, fairs, and special information sessions.

  • Also, the Universities are now providing special virtual video appointments and access to information through WhatsApp to help students and their families with their queries.

  • Using virtual reality headsets, now colleges have begun offering highly immersive campus tours so that the prospective students can experience a sense of the campus, including classrooms, dorm rooms, libraries, sports and recreation facilities, and aspects of social life on the campus.

  • Several universities have eliminated standardized tests from their admissions requirements to make it much easier for students to apply to their colleges.

  • Also, a new column has been included in the universities' application form that allows the students to share the unique challenges that they may have faced due to the pandemic, the impact of COVID on them, and how they had coped. This is done so that the students can add another dimension to their applications.

  • The Universities have provided additional time to submit the transcripts and documents in the light of school closures in India or due to postponement and delays in the student's examinations.

USA plans to address the primary concern of the students about the next wave of COVID

The students are anxious about the next pandemic wave or online education. Students and their families in India are more concerned about safety and physical health, especially when COVID is still lingering while choosing to study in the country or abroad. They are seeking information about the measures taken on the university campus to prevent COVID, testing, and the support that the student gets in case they get COVID positive.

American universities have been committed to the goal throughout the global pandemic. They have collated resources and established systems like COVID Testing, on-campus vaccination centers, and quarantine facilities to keep their students safe. Moreover, at many universities, newly developed COVID-19 helplines are available to support their students when they return to the university campus.

The USA is contemplating making more relaxed post-work visa policies for international students.

The United Kingdom government has loosened its restrictive visa policies of the past several years, which has benefitted them. Now the American government is considering making more relaxed post-work visa policies for international students.

The universities of America understand and appreciate that international students expect a robust return on investment. The USA includes practical training opportunities as part of the student process so that international students can gain valuable work experience in their education during and after their course completion. These new opportunities provided by the universities are genuinely unique to the USA higher education experience.

Now the students can pursue internships during the degree course called CPT (Curricular Practical Training) for up to one year. Also, students can gain work experience for up to one year after graduating through OPT (Optional Practical Training). There are even more opportunities for STEM graduate students, and these students can participate in OPT for up to three years.

The US plans to hike international student contributions

International students have contributed $44 billion to the US economy, and among this, India is the second-largest contributor to this. The American government and its people recognize the international students' positive contributions to US campuses, communities, and USA's economy. The students, researchers, scholars, and educators of the USA alike benefit when they engage with peers from around the globe. The US values the cultural capital and intellectuality the Indian students bring to their country.

In 2020, the US mission launched a second EducationUSA student advising center in Hyderabad at the Y-Axis Foundation. This brings the network of Education USA centers in India to eight, in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. These centers offer comprehensive, accurate, and current information about the opportunities to study at accredited post-secondary institutions in the United States of America. Their free mobile app, 'EducationUSA India,' provides the most recent updates on studying in America. This will continue to grow their efforts to reach students and parents with credible information about US higher education.

Initiatives in the form of discounts on tuition fees or scholarships

In the USA, there are more than 4,500 accredited higher educations. And each university system or institution has its own admissions policies. For each university, the students can check the admission criteria to which they are interested in applying. Indeed, the Universities recognize the pandemic's challenges for students throughout the world and have also updated their admission policies in many scenarios.

Many universities are now offering application fee waivers and have also announced that they would keep tuition, housing, and fees flat. Some American universities have extended the last date to fill out the application form and accept the admission offers. Several USA Universities have also allowed students to defer their education to a future year/semester if they were not comfortable attending the online classes and wanted an in-person immersive educational experience on the university campus. Whatever your requirement may be, EducationUSA is a great place to start for meaningful information about scholarships and finances.

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