Episode Notes | Episode Transcript

Episode Notes

Episode Title: College News Fit to Digest. June 13, 2020

Episode summary introduction: Making sense of the College News of the week curated by Alma Matters. Coronavirus continues to drive the news. Shveta Bagade, College Counselor gives us her take on the news.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Tech Graduate Students from India dropping off [1:47]
  • International Students in the US in limbo [5:32]
  • Prepping for 2nd wave of COVID-19 in Fall [9:46]

Our Guest: Shveta Bagade, College Counselor based in Silicon Valley California.

Resources referred to in this episode:

Episode Transcript: Please visit almamatters.io/podcasts.


Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

Venkat  0:11 

Hello, and welcome to yet another episode of College News Fit to Digest. Every week, we pick a few news items relating to US Colleges and discuss it with our own Shveta Bagade, College Counselor. Alma Matters curates the news daily relating to US Colleges, and makes it available on alma matters.io/coronavirus. We pick a few news items from that curated list, and discuss it every week here in these podcasts. Now, without further ado, on with the podcast!

Venkat  1:03  

Hey Shveta, good morning.

Shveta 1:05

Good morning. How are you?

Venkat 1:07

I'm doing well. How are you?

Shveta 1:09

Not bad. Thank you.

Venkat  1:12  

Very good. So I guess we'll dive into this News Digest for this week. And there's a couple of interesting things going on at. I thought one of the news items that seemed pretty intriguing was the fact that the grad students, the tech grad students from India, was starting to drop off for COVID-19. So I guess last fall and before, while everyone's been talking about fall 2020 seems to have started for some different reason, some time ago. Any insights on that?

Shveta  1:47  [Tech Graduate Students from India dropping off]

Um, you know, I don't have any, you know, data to back this up, but my gut tells me, a lot of it has to do with our current political situation. And that may have deterred people from wanting to come here not knowing where what would end up happening to them based on, you know, decisions on immigration and visa laws.

So I could see where, you know, my understanding is that Indian populations have one of the biggest populations to come. So I could see where that might make a lot of students hesitant about committing to come here, and then potentially having to leave without completing their degree or right after completing their degree without getting an opportunity to work here. So I could definitely see that being the drive. And I think COVID probably just accelerated it. Hmm.

Venkat  2:51  

Hmm. So the consequences, but you know, I guess the consequences of not having these students come in a pretty severe for the colleges right, for the research part of the colleges?

Shveta  3:04  

Oh, definitely, definitely. And it's going to impact, you know, there's, you know, a domino effect of, then what opportunities remain there for future students that are not worried about coming to the US, or who are in the US and want to continue on to grad school. So there is a ripple effect of that happening, where opportunities might kind of go away. It should be interesting to see that how it plays out.

Venkat  3:38  

Yeah, I guess the beneficiary or beneficiaries, I guess, of this are Canada and Australia, and a couple of other countries where they seem to be far more welcoming of these international students, at least the graduate level students. So, So yeah, so I think that's some pretty long term implication to this. Unless the colleges, just do something to, you know, actively woo these students.

Shveta  4:07  

Yeah. But the universities can only control so much. And so they're, they're going to do as much as they can. But ultimately the students who are out there kind of waiting, are trying to look at the entire situation. They're not just looking at opportunities, they're looking at their short term and long term perspective. So it does, I can see where we make it difficult for somebody to make some decisions or be willing to make that commitment to come.

Venkat  4:36  

Agree, agree. And, you know, all this OPT the, you know, the training visa that students get after graduation, I guess that's either going to be suspended for a while or some changes are afoot from what, what I read, so I guess, there are real consequences of coming here and not finding. You know, some sort of employment or training or something after graduation?

Shveta 5:01

Yeah. Or even be able to stay. That's the other piece of that. If they're wanting to stay and then they can't.

Venkat  5:12  

Definitely, definitely. Okay, so I guess that's, that's something that may just change over the course of time, as, you know, as regimes change and administrations change, so we'll see how that goes.

Venkat  5:32  [International Students in the US in limbo]

Okay, so, the other topic I thought we could touch on is international students and how they were treated by the various US colleges during the pandemic. You know, once they decided that, sometime in early March that each college sort of independently came up with, that came up came to the decision that they needed to shut the campus down.

And they've been different stories about how international students were treated. So the some discussion beginning to happen around it.

What are your thoughts on that?

Shveta  6:11  

Well, I think, you know, obviously, every university handles their international population differently. I think the ones that are a little bit more, that are more, a little bit more heavily draw for international students, they probably do a better job of making resources available, especially when you consider if they're back home in their country, time differences come into play, um, things like that.

So I feel like the universities are really trying to, you know, make sure they're taking care of those students as well as the students that they have, you know, in the country as well.

Venkat  6:57  

So what you know, that once the dorms was shut down or the campus was shut down what exactly did they do? Do we know how they did?

Shveta 7:07

Yeah, so some universities actually dedicated umm, you know, like maybe a small portion of their campus to international students knowing that these students had nowhere to go or nowhere to fly home to yet, or country was on lockdown, for instance. So I, there were definitely some universities that were doing that or they were actually actively assisting them in finding something locally to have until the end, at least till the end of semester, obviously, when the semester is ended, they're the hope is that they return back to their home or find something on their own as they normally would.

So, there's that, um, I believe they're looking for. They're really trying to make sure their students are being supported as well.

Well, you know, right now a lot of mental health issues are coming up. And so to be able to provide some resources remotely is definitely going to be available to them as well. So there's a lot of different things that are happening that may not necessarily be focused on the education but more on the, just the, the student themselves.

Venkat  8:21  

Definitely, definitely, you know, they, some of them may have been working on campus, they lost all that. So it was an issue of I'm sure there are issues of financial, I mean of income of, you know, making ends meet, etc. So, so, yeah, to the extent that colleges were in a position to help that definitely, you know, makes it easier for them, the student is probably stuck with, you know, in some sort of limbo land because neither on campus nor is the student back home when they're in their home country.

Shveta  8:54  

Definitely. And the nice thing about,  I can only speak to California confidently, but my guess is most universities in the country do require you to have some kind of health insurance. And the things I have read is that if you were still here, they were still having that accessible for you. So if you didn't have a concern being in the country that you could, or about staying in the country, you could at least have access to health care along with potentially a place to live.

So there's a lot of you know, these little things that we don't think normally for the students become really important issues and in our COVID-19 situation.

Venkat  9:46  [Prepping for 2nd wave of COVID-19 in Fall]

Talk, talking of COVID-19 how do you see that shaping up you know, as we move into fall?

Shveta  9:56  

Well, if you're watching the US News, you're seeing rates of COVID-19 cases increasing. And so there's a, you know, some theories going out there I, I wouldn't even presume to have any accuracy. But the theories are that we're going to have a second wave.

So then how are the universities one would think, is getting ready for those things. So a lot of universities are talking about going hybrid and full in-person campus experience and those kinds of things are my guess behind the scenes are getting ready for a potential second wave, having maybe like a separate dorm for students that are infected or having a separate area within their healthcare on campus area to dedicate it to COVID cases. So things like that and hoping that they wouldn't have to do what they did back in March like a sweep of you must leave within the next week or so, probably a little bit more prepared to keep the students on campus as long as possible, but also having that plan in place, if they need to have the students leave.

Venkat 11:23

Definitely. definitely.

Venkat  11:24  

It’s actually, very unpredictable time. So it's now that we've had one wave. I think everybody, regardless whether you're in education or not, is kind of having a plan in the back of their head ready. So if there is an uptick in cases and the hospitals start to get overwhelmed, then you're kind of ready to make those adjustments.

Venkat  11:50  

Yeah, so yeah, these are, as you said, uncertain times. So, Okay, we'd love to just wait and watch and see how everything, how it keeps evolving.

Shveta  12:00  

That’s the theme of this year.

Venkat  12:03  

Yeah, yeah. 2020 time of uncertainty.

Venkat  12:10  

Okay. Okay. Very good. I think that's wraps it up for today. Thank you so much as usual, and we talk soon.

Shveta 12:21

Always a pleasure.

Venkat 12:22

Take care. Thanks Shveta. Bye.

Venkat  12:33

Hi again, hope you enjoyed this conversation with Shveta Bagade on this week's College News Fit to Digest. Stay connected with us by Subscribing to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters].

These podcasts are brought to you by almamatters.io. Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you.

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