H1B, OPT and the likes of US education for Indians under Trump

What an educational disaster would it be to see a combination of Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos aggregate a set of rules that change education in the US for the whole world. Going by Trump’s inaugural speech that hinted towards a very radical foreign policy, keeping America at the centre and bringing jobs back to the country, the prospects of Indian students achieving the American dream seem very bleak for now. As a US college aspirant, students have been trained to think about RoI as the primary parameter. Hence, while increasing tuition costs or foreign exchange did not deter them from their dreams to study in US, the anti-immigrant rallies by Trump may be the last straw.

But will Indians be affected to that extent as we think? Indian students aren’t worried about Trump’s policies affecting their US admissions mainly because they aren’t sure how soon or smoothly will the latter’s policies be implemented. Chandrashekhar Reddy, a student from Tuck School of Business, USA, says, “The USA wants the best people in their country to enhance their growth. They want foreign students to study in the US, to increase monetary inflows that supports the economy.” Agreeing with Reddy’s statements, another student from Yale School of Management, Karan Mehta, says, “It may not be very easy for Trump to implement the suggested immigration changes as he would need approval from both the houses and a new treaty would have to be signed between the Indian and US embassy.” In fact, some US college aspirants believe that Republicans have always been supportive of the H1B visa. An aspirant Rahul Wij, says, “I do not recall Trump rallying for restricting F-1 or H1B visas.”

Supporting students arguments, Vibha Kagzi, CEO, ReachIvy, an international education consultant in Mumbai, said, “Trump is a businessman and Indian students being the largest lot of foreign students in the US, bring millions of dollars into the country through college enrollment. Trump wouldn’t take such a big financial risk. In terms of RoI, Indians in US aren’t seeking white collar jobs. Trump can make policies to bring more Americans to government-funded companies, but the private sector will always be open to specialised talent from India.”

In fact, student positivity with US education goes to the level of believing that there wouldn’t even be any reduction in the H1B pool. “Donald Trump wants to create jobs. He is going to add more jobs to the economy for Americans. Considering how unemployment rate in the US in 2016 has reduced to 4.8% as compared to 9.8% in 2010, increasing more jobs will only allow more opportunities to suffice American as well as immigrant population,” said Reddy. Now this is a high level of optimism to have in a government that came to power rallying against immigrants. Is it a safe bet to put trust in Trump’s policies? Only time will tell…