Students plan a petition drive in support of lower international tuition.
By Sergio Medina
The International Student Association, a group dedicated to fellowship and discussion of issues pertaining to internationals at this college, plans to raise awareness about concerns with international tuition through the Student Government Association.
The discussion around international tuition began when languages Chair Tom Cox brought the issue to the Faculty Senate in October, proposing to lower international tuition to the same rate out-of-district students pay. This would include non-Texas students, who are placed in the same tuition rate tier as internationals.
As of this fall, in-district tuition is $86 per credit hour, while out-of-district tuition is $202 per credit hour. International tuition, in comparison, is $453 per credit hour.
Tuition is expected to rise $13 per credit hour in spring 2019 for all rates.
Mario Lopez, liberal arts sophomore, SGA treasurer and member of the international association, said in an interview Nov. 21 he is the one proposing SGA relay concerns with international tuition to more students.
“The voice of the student matters,” Lopez said.
The more students involved, the better the chances the board of trustees will listen to international students’ concerns, he added.
Lopez said involving the Student District Council, which he is involved in and in which student trustee Monica Scraper participates, will help raise awareness.
The next council’s meeting is Nov. 30.
“I’ll bring it up to them,” Lopez said. “We’re going to make this an issue to get involved the other Alamo Colleges as well, connect with other Student Government Associations to reach out to out-of-district and international students at their respective community college.”
Lopez said there is no meeting set with the other colleges’ SGAs yet.
“We’re just trying to figure out everything,” he said. “We’ll probably have something solid by December.”
Ultimately, the issue on international tuition is to be brought forward to the board in spring.
Additionally, the international association is gathering signatures as another form of support.
“We’re tying to get signatures from students who support lowering tuition in our (SGA) general meetings or events,” he said.
Signatures are accompanied by Banner IDs, he said, as that is what identifies a individual as a student of this district.
“We’ll try to kick it off by next semester, beginning next semester,” he said.
SGA meets at 12:15 p.m. every other Monday in a general assembly meeting, open to all students.
Lopez said SGA plans to engage more students by making some changes to that meeting.
“We’re going to try to convert it, that name, to ‘student body hangout,’” Lopez said. “We’re going to try to do it in the Fiesta Room, downstairs (in Loftin Student Center); we’re going to try to have free food, so, you know, so we can reach out to more students, we can reach out to more traffic.”
In that manner, students can stop by and get more information on issues such as parking and tuition, Lopez said.
“In those meetings, we’ll also bring up this concern about (international) tuition,” he added.
The International Student Association has also created a WhatsApp chat group for international students where they can converse and communicate concerns with each other.
Any international student interested in learning more about the association, the efforts to lower tuition and joining the WhatsApp group can email Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org or Okhai Omotuebe, international student and computer programming sophomore, at email@example.com.