International student fee proposal to be reviewed by committee

Varad Diwate

The New International Student Matriculation fee committee is being formed to look into a new $120 fee for incoming international students.

The fee is proposed for all new international students on both the undergraduate and graduate level.

The fee committee has two co-leaders: James Dorsett, director of International Students and Scholars Office, and Presha Kardile, director of student diversity for the Government of the Student Body.

Kardile was appointed as the student co-chairwoman last week by GSB President Spencer Hughes.

The two leaders will meet this week to discuss forming the rest of the committee. Dorsett said they will try to include representation from all international student groups.

The committee’s purpose will be to make recommendations regarding the fee based on its research. The proposal will then go through the Special Student Fee and Tuition Committee before the Board of Regents gives the final approval.

Dorsett said the committee will go through a decision tree. The first discussions would be about the need for this new fee. If there is a need, the committee will work on the specifics of the funding model.

The proposed fee is planned to improve international student orientation in several ways. The new funding would make it possible to have more training for team leaders, meals for students and potentially even an outing.

Dorsett said the new fee can also help with the current advising and programming efforts.

“I understand this is money; somebody has to pay for it,” Dorsett said. “If you pay this, yes, it hurts. But the rest of your time you don’t pay for it. The people behind you pay, and you get the benefit.”

This has been the fourth consecutive year of increasing international enrollment. Dorsett said the proposed fee can help with growing need for programs and services.

During this process, the committee will get feedback from various groups as well as nonaligned students. This would probably be done with a combination of open meetings, surveys and focus groups.

Dorsett said the orientation for international students is currently funded by $22 per student allocation of the $195 fee paid by all undergraduate students.

Because of growing international enrollment, it is becoming more difficult to continue the orientation with this funding model.

“I agree with James Dorsett that we need more people to work for the orientation and less people in every group,” Kardile said. “During orientation, you give out all the information that has to be given out in one week when all the kids are jet-lagged, when they don’t have a phone. It would be great to space it out during the semester.”

Kardile said it is worthwhile to provide a good transition for international students.

Dorsett said the universities of Northern Iowa and Iowa have already instituted the $120 fee as of two years ago. The $120 amount was proposed because the Board of Regents generally want to see uniformity between the three universities.

The committee is also deciding if this is going to be the right amount.

Dorsett said discussions about the fee began last year. However, the administration at that time did not support a new fee. Last month, the university administration gave a nod to go ahead with this proposal.