Green cards for grads is viable
Published: Sunday, April 10, 2011
Updated: Sunday, April 10, 2011 13:04
In late March, President John Hitt suggested yet another innovative idea that could help make our university a better place: green cards for graduates.
When a student comes to the United States to earn a degree, they are given an F-1 visa, which allows them to study here legally. After graduation, however, the student is given a period of 60 days to either leave the country or transfer to a different school.
Hitt's idea is to give students in engineering or science a green card when they earn their diploma. This would allow these students to use what they learned in the U.S. to contribute back to our workforce in the areas where we need it most. It isn't logical to pit our recently graduated international students against us in the international market.
The fields of science and engineering are always expanding and are always in need of the most talented, innovative minds. We want America to be the best in these fields but we won't achieve that if we're turning away intelligent, capable individuals.
Right now, Hitt's idea is in its infancy and it was only recently unveiled at "The Voices of Smart Power" panel. However, there are a few provisions that should be implemented in order for Hitt's plan to work.
It's possible for a student barely squeak by graduation — "C's get degrees" — which is something we want to avoid with international students.
In order for someone to graduate from UCF's Aerospace Engineering, he or she needs to have only a 2.0 grade point average, or a C average. If these international students are really serious about earning both a green card and a degree then they should at least strive for a GPA that's above the UCF average.
One international student at "The Voices of Smart Power" panel suggested that international students often work harder than American students, so achieving this shouldn't be terribly difficult. The same student also noted that if this idea were to be implemented it would be too popular and UCF wouldn't be able to accommodate for all the international students.
In response to this, we believe it's only fair that UCF not shift its admission standards to accommodate for international students.
In addition to this, we think these students should also have to pass the citizenship test, just like any other immigrant.
Offering green cards to certain graduates would be a great way to increase UCF's diversity and enhance the educational experience for students and teachers.
A college education should go beyond what is taught in the classroom; students should be given the opportunity to experience different cultures and interact with people different than themselves.
Although only in its infancy, we like the sound of Hitt's idea and we hope to see it carried through; we truly believe the American workforce should benefit from talented individuals who received an American education.
We also hope Hitt waits a long time before designing and implementing this plan. The idea of giving green cards to graduates has been discussed among both scholars and politicians, but nothing has ever been done about it.
A change as major as offering green cards to international students should be something that is well- thought-out and thoroughly planned. We should use a trial-and-error method; we should take our time.
UCF should not be the first to experiment with this notion, we should take the back seat on this one and follow the example of another school to see how something like this could be done.