The University needs a scholarship program specifically for international students and should raise the stipend these students receive.
Unfortunately, the death of civil engineering graduate student Binod Nepal, 26, emphasized these two necessities.
A car hit Nepal when he was walking home from a class in the 3800 block of Burbank Drive on Sept. 23.
Nepal was in critical condition when an ambulance transported him to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. He died Sept. 27.
Nepal started classes at the University in the fall. He was conducting research with the Louisiana Transportation Research Center and serving as public relations chair of Nepalese Student Association at LSU.
Most of Nepal’s family couldn’t travel to Baton Rouge from their homes in Nepal. This caused members of Nepalese Student Association to handle Nepal’s funeral arrangements.
The process of organizing Nepal’s funeral was hard for members of Nepalese Student Association because his health insurance didn’t cover all expenses.
Nepal didn’t have International Student Services’ recommended health insurance plan that’s $200 a month. He had a cheaper one which only covered $14,000 of his funeral costs.
Members of Nepalese Student Association had to pay $4,000 out-of-pocket. They decided to create a GoFundMe page to reduce the financial burden of the funeral.
Nepal’s father plans to use the excess money, accumulated from GoFundMe, to start a scholarship fund for children in Nepal who would like to receive an education.
The University grants all graduate students a minimum stipend of $10,000. Students used to have 50% of their health insurance covered by the school, but this stopped in 2015.
The University couldn’t help pay for graduate students’ health insurance because premiums went up.
Ten thousand dollars may seem like a lot, but it’s not enough for students who aren’t completely or partially dependent on someone for financial stability.
Graduate students use this stipend to pay for school supplies, rent, groceries, transportation and insurance policies amongst other expenses. Most international students use some of the stipend to visit their family and friends in their home country. Some of them need to use the stipend to send money back home to their loved-ones.
Graduate students are not allowed to work outside their graduate assistant-ships or on-campus jobs. Those who obtain these forms of income are capped at 20 hours a week.
I understand students are only allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours a week to focus primarily on school work. However, international students aren’t receiving sufficient funds they need to thrive financially while living in another country.
In the U.S., international students can only work off-campus jobs if they applied for a U.S. visa.
It would be cheaper for international students to attend universities in their home countries, but some students receive their education in the U.S. because their home universities don’t offer studies they're interested in. Some countries’ universities aren’t as adequate in education or have well-rounded programs graduate students are interested in.
It’s difficult being an international student in the U.S. They have to learn a second language and translate in their head when talking to a native English speaker or taking notes in class. They must immerse themselves in a culture different than their own, which can make them feel alienated. Most live far away from their family and friends.
The University can at least give international students, specifically those who are in a graduate program, scholarships. Those who can’t obtain a scholarship because of limiting funding shouldn’t have to worry much because an increase in stipends offered to international students will help them financially.
International students are a part of the student body and deserve to be financially supported by the University. They help shape this institution into the flagship university it is today.
Jasmine Edmonson is a 21-year-old mass communication junior from Denham Springs, Louisiana.