VISA COMPLIANCE FEE (IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS)
GSS held the last meeting of the semester on Wednesday, December 7th. This semester has been particularly difficult, and there is bad news for international students.
VISA COMPLIANCE FEE
During the meeting Union Member Cera Fisher brought up to the GSS attention a new fee for international students that UConn’s Board of Trustees has approved this week. This fee amounts $700 ($350 per semester) and will be charged to all F-1 and J-1 visa holders starting Fall 2017. According to the Administration, this fee will be implemented in order to finance Global Affairs House and ISSS.
UConn Administration’s decision remains unclear based on the public data available in the institutional website, which contradicts the figures stated by CFO Scott Jordan and Provost Mun Choi in the Town Hall Meeting on November 16, 2016. Moreover, besides its original purpose, this fee will serve to finance other initiatives such as the First Year Experience program, which has been specifically designed for freshmen undergraduate students, or cultural centers, which are neither specific nor exclusive to the international community. According to the information provided in the resolution (see below), it seems that the University is trying to compensate the institution’s economic deficit at the expense of international students.
It is important to take into account that this fee is not mandatory, and it is up to the University whether to implement it or not. Moreover, Faculty was unaware of this decision, and GSS Executive Board did not know that the Administration was still considering this fee after the Administration informed last GSS Executive Board that they had dismissed the idea.
Given the situation and the fact that this fee will be in effect next academic year, the Union is already working on this issue to turn it down, as Cera Fisher informed. However, it is important that all graduate students organize and campaign together against this fee that targets in an unfair manner a specific group within the graduate community. The LANGSA Team is designing an action plan in order to join the GSS and the Union in their efforts to ensure that all graduate students are treated fairly and demand the Administration to be more transparent.
-Town Hall Meeting FY18 (presentation): https://docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=http://evpacfo.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1608/2016/11/FY18-Fee-Proposal-Town-Hall-FINAL.pdf&hl=en
-Town Hall Meeting FY18 video (new fee from minute 5:50): https://mediasite.dl.uconn.edu/Mediasite/Play/38e24032e1d744e2961bb722a87875d31d
-Board of Trustees’ Approved Fee Adjustments (see page 2): http://boardoftrustees.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1799/2016/11/Att.-12-FY-18-Fees.pdf