As Dollar Strengthens, U.S. Students in Europe Feel the Benefits
In the United States, the government is encouraging families with multiple students to send their most vulnerable students abroad – students who have financial needs that would make them more vulnerable to the financial shocks that can occur during their travels.
Under the new rules, which take effect in 2017, families paying more than $30,000 (and some families paying as little as $3,000 per student) will now be required to put that money into a trust for any students they have. The money is earmarked for all the students and, in cases where a parent or guardian does not have the money, the money is distributed to the students.
Under current law, a family can avoid the trust if it contributes the money or if it has a “self-help” (e.g., hardship) visa, but the new rules say that in order to qualify, the family can no longer avoid the trust with a “self-help” visa. The government and schools expect that many families will have to put the money into the trust anyway, because the law will only allow them to do so after they apply for visas.
The new rules will also make it easier for students already in the United States to get an American student visa so that they can go abroad, and they make it possible for the Department of Homeland Security to do background checks to ensure that students are indeed in danger.
The government’s decision to make U.S. students in Europe eligible for the financial stipends is especially significant, because some European countries have made it far more difficult for U.S. students to go abroad. According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the Department of Homeland Security, more than 15,000 U.S. students in Europe are waiting to receive these stipends, but the governments of Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Sweden require U.S. students to apply for visas first and are not allowing them to go to the United States. Additionally, France only allows students from countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Somalia to move there and apply for a visa.
Under the current law, a student will pay the government the amount of money they would have received as part of their scholarship, and