“I think they should just open the system,” Oso said, adding, “They are working on a fairly limited schedule, so I think they can expand it and prioritize students.”
Visa processing has been delayed as US embassies and consulates operate at reduced capacity worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving some overseas students unable to attend the start of the academic session.
The wait and complications threaten the country’s standing and the preferred choice of international students, as well as their economic contribution to many universities and local economies, at approximately $40,000 million annually.
Enrollment of new international students in the United States was down 43% in the fall of 2020 compared to the previous year, months after COVID-19 was confined to the world. New student arrivals in person are down 72%, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE) enrollment survey.
“Many US consulates abroad are not yet fully functional,” said Rachel Banks, director of the NAFSA (Association of International Educators). “Students and academics are still finding it difficult to get an appointment.”
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