September 21, 2016

EDITORIAL: Support International Students and Reinstate CPT

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Last spring, the Cornell economics department decided to discontinue access to Curricular Practical Training work authorization for international students in the major. This decision will force international students to get Optional Practical Training visas in order to pursue summer internships and independent studies. The policy change not only makes it much harder for international students to intern over the summer, but also jeopardizes their chances of finding jobs in the U.S. after graduation.

For many international students, seeking internships and jobs is already hard enough. After graduation, they must make a tough decision between pursuing and paying for a graduate degree and attempting the daunting task of obtaining an H-1B temporary work visa. The discontinuation of CPT will make it more difficult for international students to work in this country and obtain the H-1B visa. The concern that the independent study courses for CPT work authorization provides an unfair advantage to international students is inconsequential in the face of the vast challenges that international students face in securing work and obtaining visas after graduation.

The University should be actively supporting international students in their education and career aspirations and helping them navigate the challenging visa process. Cornell already devotes many resources to organizing career-development opportunities for students. Aiding international students — who comprised over 21 percent of total Cornell enrollment in 2015 — in finding jobs and obtaining necessary work visas is an obvious part of Cornell’s responsibility to students.

But recent Cornell policy represents a disregard of international students rather than acts of understanding and support. The economics department’s decision to end CPT follows Cornell’s decision to end need-blind admissions for international students, which some students say could limit the diversity of international students at Cornell.

Simply, Cornell should do more to support international students. The Student Assembly is currently considering a resolution calling for the restoration of CPT in the economics department. Not only should the economics department heed the S.A. resolution, which is likely to pass this week, but the University should also undertake a systematic review of CPT across all Cornell departments and work to ensure CPT work authorization is accessible to international students of all majors. Further, individual colleges should provide its departments with the resources administrators and professors need in order to offer CPT work authorization and other support for international students.

This struggle over CPT authorization in the economics department reflects a larger issue: the challenges of being an international student often go unrecognized.

5 thoughts on “EDITORIAL: Support International Students and Reinstate CPT

  1. the tone of this article suggests foreign students feel they have a right to work in the US. foreign students have no such right. you are here to study and i have no problem with that.

    foreign students have no right to immigrate to the US, either, and are in fact committing visa fraud if that is their intention when entering on an f-1 visa. “You must maintain a residence abroad which you have no intention of giving up” is a condition of the f-1 visa.

    • I don’t see how the tone of this article convey that somehow foreign students at Cornell at large feel entitled to work in the U.S. or that they will abuse the privilege of F-1 visa to immigrate unfairly. All this article asks for is to reinstate the CPT in the Econ department, which is a federal approved program supported by almost all respectable undergraduate programs in the U.S.

      This articles does not in anyway endorse international students obtain any unfair advantage over either the domestic Cornell students or the international students bodies present at other undergrad institutions. They can work after they graduate after college wherever they want whether it be Goldman or Alphabet as long as they get the job offer and H1B visa to support their work status.

      Honestly, your reply just conveys the feeling that you are at least a bit xenophobic or butt-hurt at international students. Rather than spewing what you really don’t know about, it would be more constructive to vote for Trump who seems to share your opinions.

      • you need to work on your reading comprehension skills. this whole piece is a complaint and expressing a sense of entitlement to something they are clearly not entitled to . you missed the part about visa fraud, too: “You must maintain a residence abroad which you have no intention of giving up” is a condition of the f-1 visa”.

        • One’s career goals have little to do with intention to immigrate. Though under some circumstances one thing may lead to another, at this point these are entirely separate things. Also, you are confusing people who have an intention to move on to H1B visa status while on F-1 visa with people who actually work illegally on F-1 visa. The latter is visa fraud but the former is not visa fraud. Also, practically speaking, having CPT does not automatically lead to a job or a change in immigration status.

          Personally, I do not support ECON department offering independent study courses that are only available to international students or supporting CPT for career experiences irrelevant to an education in economics. However, I think Cornell should support the career development of students without consideration of their national identity. If you don’t agree with this, then we have nothing in common, but if you do, it is more constructive to talk about how far we are willing to go in support of that goal, who should be the ones supporting it and how, rather than jumping to conclusions based on presumed “entitlements” and “rights.”

          • “The discontinuation of CPT will make it more difficult for international students to work in this country and obtain the H-1B visa. The concern that the independent study courses for CPT work authorization provides an unfair advantage to international students is inconsequential in the face of the vast challenges that international students face in securing work and obtaining visas after graduation.”
            .
            this is what they are complaining about. their goal is to stay in the US.
            .
            the h1b is used primarily to displace ameican workers with cheaper foreign guest workers. think “disney” then multiply it by hundreds because that is what is happening right now.
            .
            the OPT visa is used the same way. fortunately, the OPT laws have been tightened.
            .
            if you really want to learn bout how foreign guest worker are displacing americans via the h1b program look here: https://www.facebook.com/SaveAmericanITJobs/

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