Nov 132003
Authors: Colleen Buhrer

For Nischal Piratla, getting into CSU and the United States in

1997 was not as hard as many international students may find it to

be now.

“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 “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





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