The Trump administration’s new visa rule requiring Indian students to leave the country if their classes have moved online is an intellectual catastrophe, believes tech entrepreneur and academic Vivek Wadhwa.
The net effect of pushing them [international students] out will likely be an exodus of academic talent to schools in Europe or elsewhere,” Wadhwa, distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School and adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University, wrote in an email to indica News.
With this exodus the US could experience a generational loss of talent and expertise — an intellectual catastrophe of historic proportions with long-term economic ramifications,” he wrote.
“Tesla, Stripe, and dozens of other unicorns will be founded elsewhere due to this rule. Nobel Prizes will shift to institutions in other countries. This will certainly be bad for the United States — but it will also be bad for the world. Replicating the conditions that created Silicon Valley and the other great research-driven startup meccas of the United States is challenging and the world as a whole will suffer when this innovation wellspring is plugged.”
Wadhwa’s is one of the most respected voices in Silicon Valley. For the last two years, he has been coping with his wife’s illness and passing.
He said aside from economic damages to the US economy and global innovation, the visa ruling could mortally wound already hurting academic institutions in the US.
“As the country continues to struggle to control the pandemic, even famous academic institutions are staring down fiscal catastrophes,” he pointed out. “Ironically, foreign students are epic cash cows, paying the full list price for their schooling and subsidizing the cost of education for US students.”
“Losing even a quarter of foreign students could put severe economic pressure on US universities and force them to raise prices or cut financial aid for US students. While most of the large research universities are unlikely to shutter, they could spend decades clawing back from the fiscal cliff.”
He added: ”n that regard, the US government’s ruling to evict them could result not only in those students switching to institutions in other countries but also robbing the coffers of American schools just when they need the money the most.”