Should the Imposition of a New Fee on International Students Be Stopped?


Ohio state university board of trustees agreed on an imposition of an additional student fee of $1,000 to international students. This has aroused mixed reactions from international students, their parents and other members of the civil society. In order to foster equality and encourage more students from the international communities, it is important to address this issue by involving all the stake holders. International students being the most affected parties in this issue should be fully involved in decisions regarding to their welfare, duties and responsibilities. It is important to let the students have their say in the matter because it affects their education. In essence, the welfare of an international student should be cared for as much as a US student is being taken care of.

This paper seeks to establish whether it is actually tenable and fair to impose such a large amount of an additional fee to international students. Based on the established fact, it is possible to determine whether the international students’ fee program should be stopped or pursued. If international students learn the same course as local students, receive the same tuition services and are expected to graduate with the same degree, then it is discriminatory to charge international students an additional fee. It is therefore plausible to stop the additional student fee that is being imposed international students.

Get the terms right

In order to provide a good image of what the paper is actually entitled to address, it is prudent to define some key terms. In this paper the writer is talking about additional student fees being paid by international students as required by Ohio State Board of trustees. It is important to learn what additional student fees actually refer to. In this paper additional fees are seen to be paid by international students. Who are these international students? The paper has also observed that the additional student fees paid by international students were imposed in an agreement by Ohio state board of trustees. It is of great necessity to identify the meaning of Ohio State Board of trustees; who are the members? What are their mandates? Do they have the powers to formulate policies and implement them? What are their legal positions?

A student fee may be defined as an additional fee charged to students in a university, school or college above their normal tuition and matriculation charges. These may be charged in order to cater for general student activities such as sporting and academic activities, supporting student media and organizations as well as making up for a shortfall in the state funding. International students are students from other countries apart from the US who are studying in US based universities (Mooney & Neelakantan, 2004).

Additional international students’ fee is therefore a fee above the tuition and matriculation fee as well as student fee paid by US students. Ohio State Board of trustees is the management board governing Ohio State University (OSU). The board is composed of 19 trustees who are vested with the responsibility of overseeing academic programs, administration, budgeting and employment of staff. They are therefore responsible for the implementation of policies including the student fee payments.


It was reported on August 29 2012 by the Lantern that the Ohio state is expected to make about 1 million USD from an imposition of additional fees to international students studying in the US. This imposition was agreed upon by the Ohio board of trustees in its June meeting. In this strategy, international undergraduate students are required to pay an extra $1,000 every year in order to undertake their studies in the university. Ohio State University registers about 6,000 international students every year, which amounts to $6 million being paid by international students every year. This international students’ fee is an addition of the normal international students’ fee which is already more than the fee paid by local students. The June agenda suggests that the amount of money raised will be used to provide resources to international students which are specific to their needs. Ohio state board f trustees used the program of Purdue University on international students’ fees as a benchmark to introduce the new international students charge. It observes that the increasing number of international students attending the university necessitates additional fees due to increased costs of catering for a large number of international students.

Ohio state university board of trustees has always had the mandate to implement rules regarding to student fees. This includes the additional fees that international students have to pay. For the 2012-2013 academic year, the US freshmen and transfer students are required to pay $10,037 tuition and fees. On the other hand, international freshmen and transfer students are required to pay $26,445. This means that before the new regulation on new international students’ fee, international students used to pay an additional fee of $16,408. With the addition of $1,000 international student fee, international students will now be charged $27,445 making a total of $17,408 above the amount paid by a US student.

Literature Review (Outside Sources)

There are various individual scholars and members of the society who have given their say on this issue. There are also some empirical and theoretical facts from researchers and scholars that can be used to address the issue. While it is necessary to listen to the voices of the most affected parties, it is also crucial to consider to necessity of the program from a theoretical and conceptual point of view. This is important given the fact that human beings are inherently erroneous and may at times consider costs imposed on them as unfair, yet in the real sense they are important for their welfare (Alberts & Hazen, 2005). However, we cannot conclude on anything just yet; not until we listen to the voices of all outside sources within our reach.

Lin (2012) gives an interesting view of the issue. He provides a petition that is undersigned by students against the vice. This petition addresses the Ohio State University administrators. It recommends that Ohio State University should renounce the implementation of additional fee imposed on international students studying in the OSU. The petition is then undersigned by several students who also provide their views about the issue by commenting on the petition’s web page. Most of the undersigned students are Arab and Chinese internationals studying at Ohio State University. The petition letter written by the international students to Ohio University administration requested the administration to stop the new fee imposed on international students. The letter termed the new fee as unnecessary and unfair.

There are three main issues raised by the international students regarding the additional student fee imposed on them. One of them is that the administrators of OSU earned $26 million in bonuses in the year 2011 which they observe as being more than enough to cater international students’ needs without imposing new fee on them. The other reason for the opposition of the policy is that a quarter of the revenue generated from the additional international students’ fee will not benefit international students who pay the fee. Finally, the students argue that it is unfair to impose the fee on them without them being involved in the decision.

Citing reasons for undersigning the petition against the policy an OSU international student from Columbus, OH observes that international students should be given an equal treatment with local students. Another designator to the petition claims that policies on student fees are a decision which needs justifications and involvement of all stakeholders (Lin, 2012). An alumnus of Ohio State University also holds that America should be taken as an international hub of ethnicities and not just whites and blacks.

She suggests that the diversity of Americans makes America a special country but prosperity of the nation is defined by its ability to unite as one people. She observes unity as a main source of loyalty and trust, which to her are two fundamental ingredients of unity and makes America a good place for all. She is therefore of the opinion that such decisions as the imposition of additional student fees to international students should be made with the inclusion of everyone; no one should be left behind (Dollag, 2004). Another international student suggests that he often feels that he is not being treated equally in OSU. He contends that even their American colleagues are shocked by the high fees paid by international students. These grievances are among many untold stories of international students who feel that the additional student fees being imposed on them are unfair and should be stopped.

Mitchell (2012) also provides an insight into the issue. She observes that international students in the university are highly and sharply opposed to the decision of Ohio Board of trustees to impose an additional student fee on them. The article suggests cites the arguments of international students but does not give a stand for or against the policy. In her article in the lantern, she says that some students from international countries wonder why the additional fee was imposed on them yet the tuition fee they pay is already higher than that of US students. The article quotes a second year student from Ohio State University named Yuqing Zhu who says that the fees are already ridiculous. Another international student in her third year comments that the university administration is not sincere, but just attempts to get more and more from them. Other students interviewed by the lantern also suggest that students should pay the same amount of fees if they share the same amount of resources.

Author’s Voice

 After reviewing the above literature, the author of this paper also sought information and theories from other sources. Choudaha & Chang (2012) suggest that recruitment of international students is a complex and costly process which requires competent administration, enough funds and high tolerance by all stakeholders. This suggests that the high remuneration rates of Ohio State University Board of trustees in form of bonuses may be justifiable given that the recruitment which they undertake requires motivation in order for them to fulfill it with success (Redman and Wilkinson, 2009). Because this is an additional duty which benefits both the international students and the university, either side of the deal should be willing with to share in the costs of international recruitment.

In their complains, international students studying in OHIO State University recommend that the imposition of additional fee should be abolished due to the fact that OSU administrators earn a lot of bonuses. The author of this paper does not attempt to rubbish these arguments but tries to integrate the theories of strategic human resource management by Redman and Wilkinson (2009) who hold that an organization’s employees should be motivated so as to enable them perform well at work. Taking OSU’s administrators as the university’s employees, the author finds it non-offensive to postulate that they deserve such bonuses.

Given the fact that the complex process of international recruitment involves international students, it is only prudent to suggest that the administrator’s remunerations should include a large share of international student’s contributions. After all, the international recruitment process by itself is a costly exercise which needs additional funds. Such additional funds should be covered by the people involved by the process; partly by international students and partly by the university. Furthermore, Mitchell (2012) suggests that the university administration has put it clearly that the additional fee goes to the needs that are specific to the international students.

Additional fees are often imposed on students to cater for sporting and academic activities and everyone understands the usage of the fee. Such additional fees caters for the needs of students participating in such sporting and academic activities just as much as additional international students’ fees cater for international students’ needs. It is therefore reasonable to suggest that international students deserve to pay additional fees.

However, those additional fees should not be such that they exceed the remuneration requirements of administrators and the needs of international students because it is only then that the policy can be disputed. Another reason cited by the international students for the abolishment of the program is the fact that only quarter of the additional fee are used to meet their needs. If this is to be the case, then it does not seem right to withhold the other three quarter for other unspecified functions. If only a quarter of the additional fees should be used to meet the needs of international students, then the second quarter should be used to meet the extra costs of international recruitment process. The extra costs of international costs include social media advertisements, international placements, communication with international students and other related costs (Dollag, 2004). The third quarter should then go to the administrators who facilitate the international recruitment process. The fourth quarter is therefore not accounted for. This suggests that if the assertion that only a quarter of the additional fee are used to meet the needs of international students is true, then it is a good idea to reduce the additional fee by a quarter.

However, to determine these facts requires concrete evidence and justifications. Such justifications will only be possible if relevant facts are gathered, analyzed and addressed appropriately by all stakeholders. This concurs with what some international students suggest that the decision should include the participation of all stakeholders. The international students should give their opinion and their voices should be heard. The administrators should also give their justifications which have to be agreed upon by the students as well. This process may not be feasible due to the existence of a large number of international students in the university. However, a representative body of international students may hold a talk with the administration representatives in order to address the issue. The author is strongly convinced that the idea of imposing additional fee on international students is justifiable but is higher than normal and that the international students should be involved in the decision.


Given the information provided by the voice of literature and interviewed students, it is clear that additional fees to international students have brought about sharp divisions regarding its feasibility. International students feel that the additional fee is a big burden to them and that the administrators of the university are getting a lot of bonuses which could have otherwise been used to meet their needs. On the other hand, the administration suggests that the additional fees are meant to meet the increasing needs of international students as occasioned by their increasing numbers. This paper has found out that the problem is highly centered on the fact that the international students and the university administration do not engage in talks that may bring them together. International students are left out in decisions that relate to their welfare. The administration fails to appreciate the fact that the charcoal burns most where it touches. The only remedy in this case is therefore to engage international students in the university’s decisions concerning them. Perhaps by giving them a concrete justification of the additional fee they will be willing to pay the whole amount with no objection. The move to impose additional fees on international students should therefore not be stopped but suspended till all stakeholders including international students are involved in the decision process.


References List

Alberts, H. C. & Hazen H. D. (2005). There are always two voices; International students’ decisions to stay in the United States or return to their home countries. International Migration 43(3), 131 – 152.

Choudaha, R. & Chang, L. (2012). Trends in International Student Mobility. World Education Services, 1-21.

Dollag, B. (2004). Wanted: foreign students. Chronicle of Higher Education 51(7), A37.

Lin, A. (2012). Ohio State University Administrators: Stop the fee imposed upon new international students at Ohio State. Available at: Accessed October 29, 2012.

Mitchell, K. (August 29, 2012). International students pay $1M in new fee. The Lantern. Available at: fee-1.2888413#.UI4vQyzlK_I. Accessed October 29, 2012.

Mooney, P. and Neelakantan, S. (2004). No longer dreaming of America. Chronicle of Higher Education, 51 (7), 41.

Redman, T. and Wilkinson, A., (2009). Contemporary Human Resource Management. Harlow: FT Prentice Hall.

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