Fulbright Students May Be Allowed to Extend Stay in US

Boston: The United States State Department is ready to temporarily let Pakistani Fulbright scholarship students apply to stay in America for up to 18 months after their academic programs end so they can pursue internships and other practical training, following an apparent miscommunication over whether they were eligible to do so, officials have said.
Students from most of the 151 countries participating in the US government’s most prominent educational exchange program can apply for “academic training” after their degree programs are finished.
But in about a dozen countries - including Afghanistan, China and Nigeria - program rules require students to return to their home countries immediately after finishing their courses.
Pakistan - one of the largest participants in the Fulbright program - is also supposed to be one of the countries where students must return immediately. But State Department officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed last week that some Fulbright students might have been told by administrators during their pre-departure orientation in Pakistan that they could apply to stay.
One official said that at least one student had applied to extend his stay and had been accepted.
That news caught the State Department by surprise, as did the subsequent news that Pakistani students were then told two weeks ago that they could not apply after all.
Given the confusion, applications from current Pakistani students for the extra time will be considered, the State Department said. Currently, 208 Pakistani Fulbright students are in the US.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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