During Wednesday’s senate meeting, a resolution was brought to the table and discussed international students and their health insurance policy payment change.
In May, Minnesota State University, Mankato transitioned from a split payment plan back to a one-year mandatory payment plan regarding health insurance that all international students must carry in order to register for classes.
This decision was made without the consultation of the Student Government or the International Student Association, which drew the concern of student leaders.
If an international student can’t afford to pay their one-year healthcare coverage fee, their classes will be canceled which would impact their visa status.
The International Student Insurance Policy Resolution — which will be voted on next week — advocates keeping the current split payment option.
Senator Darlington Sehgbean’s said he surveyed 123 international students about the international student insurance policy with the majority in favor of keeping the split-payment plan.
“This is a struggle of students and we cannot let the university keep making policies that will make it more impossible for students to graduate,” Sehgbean said. “This resolution is a resolution that tests the university’s policy on diversity, equity and inclusion.”
The one-year payment plan has a risk of student retention issues as students who can’t afford to pay all at once will have to consider transferring or dropping out.
Senator Douglas Roberts voiced their support for this resolution.
“This is a stress that we put upon them when we establish a policy talking about a single payment. Regardless of how you feel about it, this resolution gives hope and reduces the burden on our international students.”
The split payment plan was implemented during the 2020-21 year in order to accommodate those who may struggle financially during COVID-19.
Ensuring that the university is an equitable and inclusive place was a point made during the discussion.
“This obviously has the appearance of systemic racism by the university toward international students,” Jordan Muller said. “It is our duty as a student government to protect diversity and protect minorities to protect our students affected. This will disproportionately affect black and brown students and disabled students all across the board.”
International students are only allowed to work on campus for a maximum of 20 hours a week. They are also not allowed to work off-campus unless under an internship of their specific major.
Senator Koshangi Jha, who is also an international student, agreed. “If we do not pay we cannot register, we only have two options: find that amount or go out of status.”
Next Wednesday the senate will vote on this resolution with the international healthcare fee due on Nov 1. If it passes, it will be sent to President Inch. Inch is not required to honor the resolution.
Header Photo: Senator Darlington Sehgbean gives their report as they educate the Student Senate on the resolution. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)
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