By Corrie Coleman | Reporter
Reports have surfaced that the White House may attempt to impose study and work visa restrictions on Chinese international students studying in the United States. Baylor, a school with 330 Chinese international students, would most likely be affected by these restrictions, and if the Trump administration carries out these restrictions, the number of international students at Baylor could drop.
Disputes between the United States and China over technology policies and trade have led the Trump administration to enforce tariffs and investment restrictions on Chinese products. In addition to restrictions on student visas, the White House has considered ending a program allowing frequent Chinese travelers to the U.S. to get 10-year visas. It is unclear if the potential visa restrictions will become policy.
There has been some resistance to these proposals. In a written statement to Insider Higher Ed, Esther D. Brimmer, executive director and CEO of the Association for International Educators, said “students should never be used as bargaining chips.”
“If the administration imposes restrictions that will further prohibit students and scholars from choosing the United States as their destination, we will suffer devastating impacts for decades to come,” Brimmer said.
Baylor enrollment includes students from 86 different foreign countries. The university receives the most international students from China than from any other nation, according to College Factual. Dr. Mark Bryant, director of international student and scholar services, said international students from China are valuable to the university.
“Chinese students add much to the university including their world perspective, cultural traditions, personal experiences and their contributions to academic life at Baylor,” Bryant said in an email interview. “We are a richer and stronger institution because they as well as other international students have chosen to be a part of our community.”
Guangzhou, China, senior Nicole Wang believes that if the Trump administration attempts to restrict student visas, Chinese students may look to study in other nations.
“These students are contributing to the university’s infrastructure … So it would be helpful for them to see that they are valued by the university. And I think Baylor does a great job,” Wang said. “Our mission statement includes ‘cultivating worldwide leadership.’”
Wang has recently been hired by Baylor’s Office of Student Employment, where she hopes to help international students find opportunities in the United States after graduation. She believes that students from other countries are essential to the United States’ economy.
“International students are contributing to the economy and they are creating jobs,” Wang said. “I hope there are more universities that are willing to offer more opportunities for international students to continue their careers in the United States.”
International students bring valuable experiences and knowledge to Baylor, Wang said.
“I think [international students] will be really helpful as Baylor becomes more of a global university,” Wang said. “You get to learn about their language and you get to learn about … all of the advantages that you took for granted and you get to understand how to better communicate.”