The Magazine for Leaders in Education: News Watch

News Watch – Brief Article

Alfred Jr. Branch

As if Americans aren’t taxed enough, now the government wants to go after foreign students who study in the U.S.

Under a federal proposal to aid the Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. colleges and universities later this year may have to begin collecting a $95 fee from all of their foreign students, which would go into the INS’s coffers.

The law is already on the books but has not been enacted, and schools have already begun lining up in opposition to the plan, stressing that administering the collection of the fee could become a nightmare for them. Also, the move could have a chilling effect on the positive influx of foreign students.

If enacted, the $95 fee could result in a healthy chunk of change for the INS. Reported estimates place the number of foreign students in the U.S. at about a quarter of a million annually, which could mean close to $23.8 million in revenue. Some government officials contend that the money could be used to help them investigate radical foreigners and/or groups who may or may not be in the U.S. through the use of illegal student visas.

Following the detection of $8 million in budget deficits brought on in part to cuts in Medicare reimbursements, the University of Colorado Hospital recently eliminated 100 positions at the medical teaching facility.

The move is another example of how university facilities are often affected by outside forces, especially financial forces.

Most of the cuts were made either through attrition or through the elimination of non-medical staffers who were not dealing directly with patients, according to the hospital. However, more than a dozen nurse practitioners, who worked in the urgent-care clinic or other outpatient clinics in the area also lost their jobs. Nurse practitioners, who act as primary caregivers, are a step up from registered nurses, and some of those laid off were expected to take new assignments as RNs.

In a recent poll published by the monthly Internet magazine Industry Standard, and conducted by the college data tracking firm Student Monitor, 90 percent of the roughly 15 million full-time students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities in the U.S., or about 13.5 million, use the Internet regularly. And 66 percent–just under 10 million–say they used it at least once a day.

When it comes to consumer dollars spent by these students, the study claims that they spent about $600 million online buying textbooks and other merchandise in 1999, and that that number is expected to more than double to $1.3 billion by the end of this year.

Considering the sheer volume–and the demographic that those 13.5 million pair of eyes represent–is it any wonder that some companies are trying to capitalize on sales to those students?

Well, one form of marketing may not be doing the trick. The study highlights that only 28 percent of those students admitted to discovering an e-commerce or other Internet Web site from a television advertisement. But, 44 percent of students said that word-of-mouth from friends and other students played more of a role in helping them find a new and/or useful Web site.

Finally, it came as no surprise when the data showed that male students, on average, spent more time online per week than female students, according to the survey. Males spent an average of 8.5 hours online per week, compared to 6 hours by females.

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