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International students face barriers returning to U.S. for fall semester

Tens of thousands of international college students in California are facing new barriers and anxieties over returning to the U.S. in time for their fall semester, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Backlogs for visas requests and closed consulates are just two of many new challenges that students born and living outside of the U.S. are now struggling to navigate as they seek to return to their American universities. Even after enrollment dips during the global pandemic, California has more international students than most states. USC and the University of California systems together enroll more than 54,000 international students.

Student advocates and higher education leaders are now lobbying the Biden administration to implement more flexible rules for international students, “who bring not only their talent, but also highly coveted tuition revenue and billions of dollars to local economies,” the Times reports.

β€œThe potential of not remedying those concerns promptly is profound, with lingering effects,” UC President Michael V. Drake and all 10 campus chancellors recently wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.