Dear Future President,
As I and many other immigrant students are preparing to graduate high school, and embark on new journeys at college; we can’t help but wonder what will happen to us after we hit the age of 21, and detach from our parent’s visa status. My parents came here from India with a dream to give me a better platform, and followed the trail to the “land of opportunities”, but I feel like this country hasn’t accepted me, like I’ve accepted it. Even though I was born in a foreign country, we immigrated here when i was 7, and this is where I call home, but I’m still treated as an outsider because of my visa status, and even if I returned back to India, I’m technically an outsider there too; so where exactly are people like me supposed to call “home”
Recently this got to me when I started to look into my dream colleges, and calculate the total finances of my college education; and it is almost the double of what a regular student pays. For those who don’t know how the system works, after a student on a visa status hits the age of 21, they are considered a “foreign student”, and that means their college education is almost twice as much as a regular student. For example, for a UC their average cost per year for a “regular student” is about 13.5K, while a foreign student pays about 25K per year. And these numbers are just not fair for students like me who have spent a decade here, within the school systems, got the same educational platform like my peers. But once I hit college, why am I suddenly turned into a money making machine? It is not fair for students in my boat to be worried about all the extra burden that they have to deal with, and the financial debt they will end up with, even after spending so much of their educational life here.
I understand that the non-resident fees needs to apply for foreign students but I personally think that there needs to be an act/ policy in place that says that if a student has spent their high-school in the US, or a certain number of years in the country, that they will be considered a regular student, instead of a foreign student. This will not only make help us focus into getting into our dream colleges, but there wouldn’t be a need to sacrifice our dream schools just to stay out of debt. Students like me have dreams too, they want to higher up their educational portfolios, go to graduate school; but it is not fair for our paths to be made twice as hard as our peers. If we weren’t differentiated in public and private schools, we weren’t differentiated when we took all the mandatory steps to get into college; then why are we differentiated when it comes down to the financial aspect of it. I have not spent all these years in this country, working sleepless nights, and giving it my all just to be given a platform to make money out of me, and make me feel like an outsider. So with that, I plea to our future President to create a reform that helps students like myself with visa statuses to have another criteria to reduce their college funding, either it be the number of years we have spent here, or the academic performance; there needs to be a change in the system because we have accepted American as our home, and America needs to accept us too.