WENR, September 2017: Americas

United States: University of California Files Lawsuit Against the Trump Administration over DACA Repeal

The University of California is suing the Trump administration over its repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows people who entered the United Stated illegally as minors to work and study in the country. In its lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the University of California argues the government is violating the rights of its students and staff that face deportation based on “unreasoned executive whim.” It’s the first lawsuit filed against the DACA repeal by a university. University of California President Janet Napolitano led DHS under President Obama and is one of the main architects of DACA. The University of California system has approximately 4,000 students who are undocumented and staff, researchers, and professors who are DACA beneficiaries.

University of California
September 8

United States: New Political Climate Affects International Enrollments at Some HEIs More Than Others

Higher education institutions in the U.S. report that they are expecting a decrease or no change at all in the number of international students enrolling for the fall semester. Many also report an increase in questions about changes to the H1-B visa and optional practical training programs and concerns over safety. Some institutions are experiencing a decrease in the number of students from China, India, and Saudi Arabia. The decline in students from Saudi Arabia can be tied to a tightening of rules for the scholarship program run by the Saudi government.  Not all universities, however, are seeing a drop in international student enrollment. New York University, which has the highest number of international students in the country, estimates 21 percent of its incoming class is comprised of international students – a record for the institution, though it represents a modest 1 percent increase from the previous year.

Inside Higher Ed
September 5

Chile: Growth in International Student Enrollment

The number of international students enrolled in Chilean universities moderately increased last year. According to a recent survey by Servicio de Información de Educación Superior, the number of international students earning a degree Chile increased to 19,219 in 2016.  Other Latin American countries such as Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia, were the primary senders of international students though 54 percent of international students were already in Chile when they began their studies. The number of exchange students in Chile also grew last year. The growth was driven by students from North America and Europe, with 40 percent of European exchange students coming from Spain and France.

University World News
September 1

United States: Texas University Students Struggle after Harvey

While many universities and colleges in Texas were spared the worst damage from Hurricane Harvey, many students from affected areas are struggling to return to campus as the fall semester begins. The University of Texas at Austin estimates that almost one-third of its students come from areas hard-hit by the storm. University officials across the region are trying to cooperate with students who may not be able to make it to class – some delayed opening, others are asking professors to excuse absences. Many universities are also offering long-term counseling for affected students.

The Texas Tribune
August 30

Brazil: Increase in Outbound Students

The number of Brazilian students studying abroad increased in 2016 after a slight drop the previous year. About 247,000 Brazilian students studied abroad last year, an increase of 14 percent, most for short term programs of 2-3 months. However, there was a notable increase in the number of students who studied abroad for a year or more. Canada remains the preferred country of study for Brazilian students, followed by the U.S., U.K., Ireland, and Australia. Brazilian students enroll primarily in language programs and it is estimated students spent $2.2 billion USD in 2016.


ICEF Monitor
August 29

Canada: International Students Applying for Visas to Canada May Receive Help from a Robot

Three international students from India studying at Dalhousie University in Halifax created the ‘RovBot’ to help international students navigate the visa application process. The students had encountered problems while applying for visas, especially finding information specific to their situation and speaking to advisors. In response, they created a robot that universities can use to help answer basic but important questions. This would give advisors time to answer more complex questions. The group is still developing the technology but there is already interest from universities and the Canadian government. Testing is expected to start in January 2018.

The PIE News
August 23

Posted in Americas, Regional News Summaries