For Nischal Piratla, getting into CSU and the United States in
1997 was not as hard as many international students may find it to
“We have erected as a nation all kinds of barriers,” said Jerry
Bookin-Weiner, executive director of the Office of International
Education at CSU. At the same time, other countries are making it
easier for international students to come in.
Piratla is like many other international students in higher
education in Colorado. For the fall 2003 enrollment there were 920
international students from 90 countries at CSU and 1,103 at the
University of Colorado-Boulder.
The process for these students to get into the United States and
their university of choice has always taken planning, interviews
and funding, but it is now getting harder. It is getting harder for
students to find the funding and thus students are having a harder
time getting permission to come to the United States.
“When I came everyone was funded,” Piratla said. “If you are
funded or have scholarships it is a different (situation).”
To be admitted into the schools students must go through the
same admissions process as non-international students, said Janet
Garcia, international student and scholar specialist at CU.
International students also have to show English proficiency if
English is not their first language, by taking the Test Of English
as a Foreign Language examination, and they must show they have the
financial resources to come to the United States and attend the
school, said Jerry Bookin-Weiner, executive director of the Office
of International Education at CSU. International graduate students
take the Graduate Record Examination and other examinations just
like American students do.
That is the easy part compared to getting the United States to
allow students into the country for education.
Almost everyone entering the United States is required to obtain
a visa. This visa then allows foreigners to travel as far as the
port of entry into the United States, according to the U.S.
Department of State Web site about visas.
Once at the point of entry, international visitors must ask the
immigration officer to allow them to enter the country. “Only the
immigration officer has the authority to permit you to enter the
United States,” according to unitedstatesvisa.com. “He or she
decides how long you can stay for any particular visit.”
In order to obtain a visa, students must make an appointment to
visit a United States embassy or consulate to have their
application reviewed. They must bring a valid passport,
application, documents detailing employment, reason for travel and
financial status, and proof of payment of fees to the
Piratla said he had to show that he had a enough funds to get to
CSU and pay for his stay here and also show that he had something
to go back home for.
“People are more scared about (the interview) than the GRE,” he
Then the consulate office and, often, officials in Washington,
D.C review the application.
“A visa doesn’t permit entry to the U.S., however,” the State
Department Web site said. “A visa simply indicates that your
application has been reviewed by a U.S. consular officer at an
American embassy or consulate, and that the officer has determined
you’re eligible to enter the country for a specific purpose.”
The process for review often takes a few weeks, but the State
Department Web site warns that the process may now take much