The head of the University of Iowa Office of International Students says the program held almost even in the last year, despite the increased scrutiny after the 9-11 attacks. Scott King says only three international students did not return. He says they did see a 16-percent drop in new enrollments, which he says is more of a long-term concern. King says an overall approach to keeping students may’ve benefited the international students too. He says he’s not sure why the numbers of students staying did not drop as much as the numbers of new students coming in. He says it’s probably because the University is doing a better job overall of retaining students. King says there aren’t really any new documentation requirements for the international students.He says what has really change is the school has to report things quicker, and he says students feel they’re being watched more closely. He says there’s a very real fear among students now that a minor paperwork violation could cause them to be sent home. King says another thing that has helped is the development of the Student and Exchange Visitors Information Service, also known as SEVIS, which is a computer database that tracks international students. And he says the system has now become more stable. He says while SEVIS was being developed they were constantly having changes in policies and processes. He says since it came on line, there haven’t been any major changes in immigration policy, after seeing changes almost every week. King says there’s also been a shift in focus in the federal government. He says now that there’s the database on where students are and what they’re studying, he says the government is focusing on the 98-percent of the foreign visitors that they don’t have good data on. King says the U-of-I hasn’t recruited international students, but is discussing the need to do so. He says international students add a lot to the campus. He says it’s important for the diversity of campus to have people of different backgrounds. He says students need to learn how to deal with people from other countries and other cultures. King says international students are important not only to the U-of-I, but to the entire country.
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