Out of the 143 Indian students that were accepted to SIUC this semester, only nine enrolled in the university and came to the United States for the spring semester.
Carla Coppi, International Programs and Services director, said she has written letters to 50 of the students who did not show up and 38 students replied to the letter. Of those 38, 22 said theywere unable to receive visas.
Provost John Nicklow said the university does not have much information about thieissue at this point other than SIU Edwardsville had the same issue.
“Their government denied the visas,” he said. “There’s some indication that — I don’t know whether it’s politics or policy in India — are affecting some of the students coming at least to SIU as a system.”
Nicklow said he thinks other universities are having the same problem and it’s being investigated.
Coppi said she is going to contact the U.S. embassy in Hyderabad, India to see if there is anything she can do for the students.
“I am personally reaching out to this embassy to say ‘Please, please, please, I understand that my students are being denied, can you please tell me why?’” she said.
Coppi said she believes the embassy is looking at the Indian students’ transcripts to see if they are worthy of attending a university in America.
“That is not their place. It is our university’s job to determine if they can come to our school,” she said.
Nicklow said International Programs and Services has to make sure all of the university’s actions are aligned.
“We want to make sure students can get here,” he said. “I feel horrible for those students.”
Jagadish Surampally, a graduate student from India studying electrical and computer engineering, said many students in India are declined visas.
“Getting a visa depends on your financial status. If you have money and are a good student, then you are more likely to get one” he said.
Coppi said by American standards, to receive a visa an Indian student has to show they are financially stable, have a good academic record and will go back to India after graduating.
“What they plan to do after their schooling is the deal breaker,” he said. “Technically these students have to go back to India after they get their degrees, and that is what stops a lot of students from being able to come over here in the first place.”
Surampally has been in America for six months.
“Many of my friends were supposed to come to America, too, but were unable to receive visas,” he said.
Coppi said the visa process is extremely intimidating and subjective. She said a student must apply, have their background checked and go through an interview.
“These students basically have a minute to two minutes to plead their case, and that time can be completely life changing. That time determines if they are able to continue their education or not,” she said.
Despite the amount of students who were unable to join the university, international enrollment is up 77 students this semester from last.