What do the names Truman, Goldwater, Fulbright and Churchill have in common? They are all names of famous people but, more importantly, they are also fellowships offered at our university.

With recent increases in tuition not only at UR but also elsewhere, the importance of these financial gifts is unquestionable.

At UR and other universities, these fellowships are only accessible to American citizens or permanent residents. In other words, all international students are ineligible for various fellowships. This was the cold fact I had to realize when I went to an “Information Session” on fellowships earlier this semester.

At best, international students can participate in essay writing contests which offer a meager maximum cash prize of $5,000.

I say “meager” only because it covers a small fraction of tuition rates in most American universities.

Why can’t international students with the same or better qualifications than American citizens apply for the fellowships?

Students shouldn’t obtain privileges only because of their minority status. The student should only get the privileges if he or she is qualified for them.

While it might give hope for other students of the minority, this hope is false. Other members of underrepresented groups will feel that just from being part of the minority, they can reap the benefits.

With this sort of effect, we gain “not-up-to-it” international students while losing competent American citizens.

On top of the normal costs of tuition and board, international students also endure travel costs – an expensive extra burden.

In addition, consider that on average American families are wealthier than families of international students.

Therefore, while the dollar costs may be the same, the financial load experienced by international students is larger compared to that felt by U.S. citizens.

Moreover, the fact that there are international students who can adapt to completely different lifestyles and balance academics and athletics effectively shows that they are highly motivated and adept.

Lastly, international students, with their diverse backgrounds, also tend to add a whole new dimension to any aspect of life whether it be academic or social.

The fact that international students are unjustifiably denied the right to even apply for fellowships is depressing as it discourages genuinely determined and talented students. If American universities want to achieve true cultural and intellectual diversity, they must get rid of the “uni” in “university.”

Madhur can be reached at


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