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Editorial: Lackluster support for international students displays trend of lip service

By Editorial Board

Sept. 30, 2019 1:19 a.m.

Arriving to college as an international student is often a leap of faith.

But at UCLA, making that leap might mean falling into an underfunded abyss.

The Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars offers a number of resources that guide international students through their transition to the University of California system. These programs include visa services and counseling, workshops across a number of subjects made for international students, inclusion training for groups across campus, and managing academic and mental health counseling services students may need.

And while international students already face an additional set of challenges the moment they step on campus, the Dashew Center remains grossly underfunded.

The UC prides itself on maintaining a substantial international student population across all of its campuses. However, over the past years, UCLA has proven this dedication to be little more than an attempt to rake in tuition profit, while advertising the university as a prestigious option on the global academic scene.

Meanwhile, international students are left to be an underfunded statistic on UCLA’s homepage.

With most of the Dashew Center funding coming from general funds and student services fees, the least it could do is funnel those resources back to the students it’s intended to serve.

UCLA invests in international students by giving them a place on campus, but the support seems to end there. Tuition for nonresidents is $42,993 per academic year, while tuition for California residents is $13,239. The university relies on these students to pad its own funds, but those funds rarely seem to find their way back to students after the quarterly bill is paid.

On top of that, students have reported experiencing delays with paperwork and other authorizations. In context with the Department of Homeland Security’s new “public charge” policy, this clear lack of support is inexcusable.

Administrative delays might be an inconvenience for some, but for international students, it could mean a failure to process critical paperwork for visas, aid or employment.

Needless to say, the stakes are high.

With increased funding comes more organized aid, but it’s a raise that’s long been overdue – and still remains a nonpriority.

International students are investing in their education, and they chose to do so at UCLA. The least the university could do is return the favor.

These students don’t need cheap fixes to an underlying problem – surprisingly, Dashew Center hoodies aren’t a replacement for real resources like trained translators, advisors and administrative support.

UCLA relies on the international student population for tuition, as well as a public image that celebrates diversity. But to do that image justice, it must affirm its belief in international students by boosting support and funding.

Of course, other students – namely those from California with a direct connection to the local economy and job market – deserve a slice of the pie. But in order to connect UCLA to the global community, the university must be doing so in a sustainable way, which means funding and support need to become a priority.

The school works hard to get these students to come to Westwood, but leaves them hung out to dry with little help from the administrative body on campus.

As if a foreign academic system and cultural climate weren’t enough to worry about.

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