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Trump has big plans for immigration and education. What exactly does this mean for Indian students? Let’s take a look.
1. It’ll Be Harder to Get Financial Aid
Trump’s campaign ensured dramatic fiscal reforms, and his election of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education confirmed it. There will be substantial reductions in public college funding. With limited funds, colleges will most likely cut down on student financial aid. Most colleges will prioritize domestic students when distributing financial aid, which means that international students, including Indian students, will suffer first.
2. It’ll Be Harder to Get into Public Colleges
Most US colleges have need-based admission, which means that they consider your financial situation in their admission process. In other words, if you don’t have enough money, they’ll ponder if you’re worth funding. If they decide that you’re not worth it, they’ll outrightly reject you. Since international students are more likely to get rejected funding, they’re also more likely to get rejected admission.
3. There’ll Be More Debt
Students who apply to US colleges with need-based admission will know that they won’t get accepted if the college doesn’t fund them. Since they will also know that colleges are less likely to fund them before, they’ll be more likely to take loans before even taking a chance, leaving them with years of debt.
4. It’ll Be Harder to Get into Private Colleges Too
Because of budget cuts in public colleges, international students will instead opt for US private colleges. This booming influx of international students into private colleges means that Indians will have more competition in private colleges as well.
5. But It Might Get Easier to Get into US Colleges
‘This article doesn’t make sense!’ you start. Hold your chill, and maybe it will. 😉
Given America’s politico-economic climate, more international students might pick other nations over the US. Furthermore, even American domestics might start to look abroad, Canada being a prime location. This might leave open a vacuum for Indian students still looking to go to the US.
Ultimately, it depends on whether the efflux of students from the US will be substantial enough to create a demand for international students in US colleges.
6. Drastic Career Changes
Indian undergraduates already studying in the US will be forced to reassess their post-graduate plans due to financial strain. This will either drastically change their career paths or make them settle for lower wages.
7. Racism and Bigotry
Trump looks to foster a healthy relationship with India. The same can’t be said of some of his radical supporters. It’s not a stretch to consider that hate criminals driven by racial prejudice see no distinction between shades of brown. For people like these, the only distinction is the binary of good Americans and freeloading outsiders. Racial hate crimes have increased since Trump’s victory. So, Indian students in the US will be forced to stay alert, especially if they attend college in more conservative spots.
As our two-sided argument about the college issue shows, we really don’t know what will happen. We can sit around all day trying to figure out how Trump’s policies will influence Indian students, but we just don’t know what these policies will be.
Trump flip-flops more than a pancake on heat, so he carries a frightening shade of uncertainty. Moreover, dramatic policy changes to education and immigration will likely be opposed at multiple levels – at the court and at congress – which means we can’t even tell how many of his policies will come to pass. Case in point is his H1B wage reform.
We must also keep in mind that any executed reform will have a flurry of economic effects, both short-term and long-term. Predicting these effects involve a thorough consideration of all parameters at play, something that is well beyond the scope of this article.
So our point is that if you’re already in the US, just carry on. And if you’re looking to go there, rest assured. Look at other places, both domestically and globally. America isn’t the be all and end all of higher education, and that rings true now more than ever.
About the author
A Neuropsychology and Computer Science major who currently seeks to advance neuroprosthetic and machine learning R&D. He also sporadically writes silly things, usually for blogs, online publications and his naively abstruse YouTube channel.
1) Neuroprosthetic R&D in India
2) Eliminating poverty in India
3) AI development