By Matheus Maynard
City College’s Board of Trustees approved the layoff of international counselors over the summer amid concerns of budget deficits, leaving international student affairs to the discretion of regular academic counselors.
Students with F1 visa status must meet certain requirements in regards to studying in the United States according to the USCIS, and for this reason, City College designated a separate counseling program to assist international students.
Even with City College administrators assuring F1 students that they won’t be affected by this change, some F1 students are deeply concerned with the future of their education at City College.
Brazilian international student, Rodrigo Chen said “I don’t necessarily think counselors affect my decisions over my educational path, however, I feel sympathetic towards my fellow international students because some might need instruction and guidance to understand the college system in the U.S.”
The main requirements to keep F1 students’ status at City College is “to take a minimum of 12 units, maintain a GPA of 2.0, and to have satisfactory progress towards their academic programs” according to the Office of International Programs. In the case of unsatisfactory progress and GPA, international students are put on probation and assigned an international counselor to oversee their case and guide them through the work to bring their status back to satisfactory again.
International student Davi Luo said, “I think it is not fair with international students to have a service destined to them to be cut since we pay a lot of money to be here.”
Dean of International Education, Dr. Vinicio Lopez explained that “International (F-1) visa students have always been able to see all counselors at CCSF. Any CCSF counselor can meet with students regarding the Educational Plans. That is what they are qualified and trained to do. This has not changed! Any issue related to F-1 students (I-20 questions, visas, Optional Practical Training (OPT), working on campus, extensions, Immigration requirements, etc) is handled by the Designated School Officials (DSOs) or Primary Designated School Official (PDSO).”
Students, both domestic and international, are concerned with the increase of the wait time to see a counselor that could happen to this merge and diminishment in the number of counselors available.
“I don’t think cutting core student services is an effective way to save money in an educational institution,” said Luo.
Correction: In the print version of this article, the DSO quoted in the story did not agree to be quoted. Those quotes have been removed in this version.