Answering the International Athletes, F-1 Visa Argument (And a new spending answer)

Answering the International Athletes, F-1 Visa Argument (And a new spending answer)

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I heard that some debaters ate the Yale tournament are making the argument that if student athletes are treated as employees that foreign student athletes will not be able to play because foreign students are not allowed to work more than 20 hours per week and athletics requires more time than that. They impact the argument by claiming that foreign athletes are poor and they need a quality education.

This is a reasonable argument, but there are a few problems with it.

First, under NCAA rules, athletes are only allowed to be involved with athletics for 20 hours a week under NCAA rules.

So, foreign athletes could play/practice twenty hours per week, just like everyone else.

Of course, some argue that college athletic programs exploit this loophole and require players to practice more than 20 hours per week, but if they are going to chat the law, they can cheat for international player as well.

Second, it seems odd to suggest that there would be a net increase in poverty, even if the Con argument is true. Why? Because if those international athletes are recruited then more US athletes would be recruited. Chances are, those US athletes are also poor, and now they would receive scholarships. Pro teams could even put an “America First” spin on this, arguing that we should prioritize helping poor athletes in the US.

Third, US universities could still provide full scholarships and 20 hours a week of work. Even if it means the international athletes practice a little less, the schools would still take them if they are really great athletes.  And since schools would now have to pay athletes on at least a per hour basis, they would probably cap working hours for everyone at 20 hours.

Fourth, this argument ignores subsequent legal changes that would very likely occur if athletes were treated as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  For example, if student athletes were paid and worked more than 20  hours per week, it is likely that legislative change would occur that would allow at least student athletes to work more than 20 hours per week

Also, when thinking of answers to this argument, I had a related thought: International students in the US pay full tuition and additional international fees.  The tuition and fees from these students help to keep US universities afloat financially.  Pro teams can potentially use this idea to respond to general concerns about cost by arguing that universities could absorb any cost increases by simply admitting more students and raising international fees.

TC News, June 19, 2016, How international students are keeping US colleges afloat and powering the tech industry,

Think back on your college experience and you may recall the presence of the International House, an on-campus residence set aside for international students. The fact that there was likely only a single house for all the students probably made you think your school didn’t have a large international contingent. Now consider the fact that nearly 1 million foreign students are enrolled at colleges and universities across the United States — a figure that has jumped 40 percent in the past decade. As students from across the world stream onto U.S. college campuses, these International Houses increasingly make obvious the fact that foreign students are not a “special interest” that can be neatly housed in one section of campus. Today, the opposite is true: international students not only make up an increasing share of the overall U.S. student population, but also single-handedly keep these institutions afloat financially. Adding to this — amid considerable debate over a STEM crisis in the U.S. — international students are pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in record numbers, which in turn is powering the U.S. tech industry. The numbers on international students at U.S. colleges and universities are astounding:– The U.S. is host to the largest proportion of the world’s 4.5 million college and university students, almost double the number studying in the United Kingdom, the second biggest host. Of the 974,926 international students in the 2015-2016 academic year, 586,208 were undergraduates, with more than 165,000 coming from China. In 2016, 45 states hosted more international students compared to the previous year, with five states witnessing double-digit growth rates. For example, Texas increased its international student population by 18 percent. Eight institutions had more than 10,000 enrolled international students, including New York University, University of Southern California and Columbia University. The economic impact of the increasing growth of international students in the U.S. is equally stunning. In the 2014-2015 school year, international students contributed more than $30 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 373,000 jobs. Since the 1950s, the United States has been the destination of choice for foreign students seeking higher education. However, the explosive growth in recent years is no happy accident. The rapid arrival of international students in the U.S. is coincident with the Great Recession, when public and private coffers tightened dramatically. International students have essentially functioned as the bailout for U.S. colleges and universities. Investment in higher education from state and local governments dropped to a low point in 2012 ($71.9 billion). Since then, state and local government investment has grown to $91 billion in 2015, but that’s still below pre-recession levels. Meanwhile, as a result of declining investments since 2008, tuition and fees at both two-year and four-year public institutions rose 28 percent. Between 2008 and 2015, international students have essentially functioned as the bailout for U.S. colleges and universities. This is largely because foreign students often pay two to three times the tuition and fees of domestic students, which helps compensate for declining subsidies and smaller budgets. Furthermore, most of these international students don’t require any financial assistance from U.S. colleges. Around 72 percent of them receive the majority of their funds from personal and family income, as well as assistance from their home country governments or universities. This trend is seen across U.S. college campuses. International students at Idaho State University, for instance, pay more than $20,000 a year in tuition, around 2.5 times more than what in-state students pay. At Purdue University in Indiana, the tuition paid by international undergraduates amounts to almost half of all new revenue it has raised through tuition since 2007. At Oregon State University, where state subsidies per full-time college student dropped 45 percent in the past five years, the international student population now exceeds 3,000 (up from 988 in 2008). This allowed them to add 300 tenure-track professors and expand enrollment to approximately 29,000 students. In addition to addressing higher education budget woes and enrollment issues, international students are also filling the STEM gap in the labor market. Once on campus, around 40 percent of international students end up studying fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), creating a solid pipeline of talent for jobs in the U.S. technology sector. As recent research shows, immigrants already contribute heavily to the U.S. tech industry, having started more than half (44 of 87) of America’s startup companies valued at $1 billion dollars or more (“unicorns”). Specifically, nearly one-quarter of U.S. unicorns had a founder who first came to America as an international student, which shows their path to success often begins on U.S. college campuses. Thus, in addition to addressing higher education budget woes and enrollment issues, international students are also filling the STEM gap in the labor market. To retain its historical preeminence, the U.S. will need to produce approximately 1 million more STEM professionals beyond the current rate over the next decade, according to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Currently, there are 478,815 international students studying STEM topics.