The scandal concerning students from Nepal should prompt a long-overdue conversation about institutional priorities surrounding international students in higher education, write Laura A. Kaub and James Linville.
A number of questions came to mind after reading this 16 July 2018 Inside Higher Ed article written by well-intentioned colleagues. Below are the questions and my responses.
What is the precise definition of “high achieving, low income” (HALI) students? This would be helpful in thinking about the type of student the authors are discussing in Nepal, the African countries that their organization serves, and elsewhere.
Do the authors know how many of the 60 Nepali students offered scholarships by UT Tyler fall into this category? Young people are one of Nepal’s major exports in the form of adopted children and students. Needless to say, many from the latter category are drawn from that country’s upper classes.
How do institutions verify need? Even if you trust, for whatever reason, you must always verify. I know of a number of cases in which children from families of considerable means gamed the system and received need-based need. I know one US colleague who wanted to give all Vietnamese applicants need-based aid, as if all Vietnamese students are poor. Moral of the story: even rich people want need-based aid. It’s up to those who run the system to close any existing loopholes and not open any new ones.
Instead of loans, why not guarantee on-campus jobs for these students? Who would make the loans? What would the interest rate be? How would you guarantee repayment, e.g., withhold the diploma until the outstanding balance is paid? What are the visa implications of these loans?
Finally, the notion that scholarships are (or should be) taxed is absurd but something that is beyond the control of the authors.