The College of Idaho is welcoming the largest international class in its history this fall. There will be 120 students on campus representing some 70 different countries. Three of those students, who were caught between a rock and a hard place, are particularly happy to call themselves Yotes.
The teenagers from Nepal are spending their first days in the United States attending the College of Idaho. But the small private Caldwell school was not their first choice. The University of Texas at Tyler offered just over a hundred Nepal students full-ride scholarships. But a few months later, UT Tyler backed out of sixty-five of those offers.
“I couldn’t believe it at first, to be honest,” says 18-year-old Sumit Acharya.
The Texas administrators called it quote "a perfect storm.” The school had too many Nepal students accept the offer and there wasn't enough money in the budget. By the time UT Tyler rescinded the full rides, many of the Nepal students had already turned down other U.S. colleges.
“We didn't have any other options and we didn't have anywhere to go,” says 17-year-old Anupa Poudyal.
The Vice President of Enrollment for the College of Idaho, Brian Bava, says the plight of the academically gifted Nepal students quickly spread through the BavaBrian tight-knit college admissions community.
“My immediate reaction was, wow the timing could not be worse,” says Bava. “It was disappointing from a professional standpoint, but it was heartbreaking too,” he continued.
Like most colleges, C of I had already closed its admissions, but administrators made an exception. They offered three students placement, agreeing to pay their tuition and some room and board.
“I'm pretty confident these students in Nepal did not know a lot about Idaho. That says a lot to me about the types of people they are, the risk takers, leaders, those are the types of people you want in a campus community,” says Bava.
UT Tyler's Chief Communications Officer says the school has implemented new protocols to make sure this sort of oversight never happens again.
The three grateful students arrived with gifts to thank the College of Idaho staff. They say the Treasure Valley reminds them a lot of home. “It's like American Nepal or something like that.
There are a lot of mountains here and the same as in Nepal as well,” says Acharya.
If you need more proof of how the students are acclimating, ask what they like best about school. The answer? The college pool and the food.
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