Rep. Owens reintroduces bill he says could boost rural school enrollments
Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 4:46 pm

Rep. Bill Owens hopes to extend the length of time foreign students can attend public schools with the reintroduction of a co-sponsored bill.

Owens re-introduced legislation with Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19).

He said the bill would help rural schools address decreases in student enrollment, by easing restrictions on the nonimmigrant F-1 visa program for public schools with foreign exchange students.

“Recruiting foreign exchange students is one of many ways that innovative public schools are working to improve their bottom lines and continue providing a quality education to young students,” Owens said. “This legislation is a common-sense, no-cost fix to a flaw in the current visa system that will help give local schools an opportunity to generate additional revenue in times of falling enrollment.

Owens said allowing foreign students to stay longer while paying their own way could allow for better long-term planning by school districts and help them financially by generating revenue at no cost to the taxpayer. The change would also allow public schools to compete with private and parochial schools, for whom this restriction do not currently apply.

Newcomb Central School District Superintendent Skip Hults announced his support for the legislation and offered the following statement:

Owens previously introduced F-1 Visa legislation in the 112th Congress.

Background: North Country Public Radio – “Rural New York School Recruits Overseas Students