Student petition fights decrease in international students scholarship

International students are seeing a scholarship decrease this semester. Elissa Aguayo | Sun News Daily

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Utah Tech University has lowered the international students scholarship fund by $4,500 for students starting in 2023.

International students faced a scholarship decrease of $1,000 for the fall semester. Starting in the spring semester of 2023, the scholarship amount will change from $7,000 to $2,500 per year.

Along with the change to the scholarship fund, international students with the merit scholarship are no longer required to live on campus. These changes will not affect any present students, only those that enroll in the spring semester of 2023 and onward. 

For almost a year, university leaders have been working with data and financial information with different offices on campus. Together, they have been trying to find a way to avoid decreasing the scholarship amount while still being able to provide services and cover operational costs. 

“It was becoming extremely difficult to maintain the balance without going into loss for the university,” said Shadman Bashir, director of international student and scholars. “So, we had to make the difficult decision of decreasing the scholarship amount for students coming in for spring 2023 and beyond.” 

Some of the international students at Utah Tech started a petition to fight the decrease in scholarship money. There isn’t a set number of signatures that they want to get, but they already have 150 signatures.

Sara Pruther, a junior digital film major from Ibiza, Spain, created the petition to make a stand against the decrease in scholarship money. After speaking with several faculty members, Pruther learned they have been working with international student agencies and expect more international students to come to Utah Tech. 

“Those people will most likely be from the English as a second language program, not the bachelors, so they won’t add to the university’s research or GPA average,” Pruther said. 

Of the international students Pruther spoke to, all of them are frustrated with the scholarship change. She said they feel mistreated and humiliated, so she did what she thought was the best thing to do and created the petition. 

“I am very excited about the direction in which this is going,” Pruther said. “I am so grateful for all of the people that have signed and helped spread our message out.” 

The scholarship cut will not affect Pruther or any current students, but it has sent a message to them. Pruther said she feels like international students are not being appreciated by the school and it’s frustrating for future students that want to study. 

Pruther said: “I want quality education to be available to people and international students need so much financial help. I don’t think it’s fair to target our program when we are already so restricted in the ways we make money. It pains me to think that another student like me from a foreign country with a dream cannot pursue it the way I am.” 

Pruther said she wants the petition to show if the university keeps the lowered scholarship rate, they can offer other resources to help make up for the money they will be missing out on.