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Policy & Advocacy


APLU is a leading higher education association in advocacy for international legislative priorities.  Through the International Advocacy Coordinating Committee and the Council on Governmental Affairs, APLU drives an agenda to support the international work of U.S. universities including engagement in international development, internationalization of curriculum and campuses, and the development of globally-competent students.

APLU’s core international advocacy priorities include:

  • Immigration

    Our nation’s broken immigration system has significant repercussions for our nation’s universities.

    Approximately 65,000 undocumented youth graduate U.S. high schools every year.  These students were largely raised in the United States, many knowing no other home than the United States and some no other language other than English.  Yet, through no fault of their own, they are caught in an untenable situation.  APLU strongly supports the DREAM Act, which would provide undocumented youth an expedited path to citizenship through attending college or serving in the military.  The DREAM Act would also remove federal restrictions that aim to limit public universities from providing in-state tuition rates to undocumented students.

    APLU also strongly supports expanding opportunities for international students to live and work in the United States following graduation, particularly when the graduates are filling jobs where there are well-documented shortages of qualified U.S. workers.  Congress should increase the availabilities of both H-1B visas and green cards to graduates of U.S. universities to end the self-defeating practice of training the best and brightest international students at U.S. universities and then not providing an opportunity for them to contribute to our economy following graduation.

    APLU was a leading advocate for the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration reform bill, S. 744, which contains a majority of the priorities of the higher education community within immigration reform.
    APLU helped unite the higher education community on a common set of principles for immigration reform and worked with its members through the Council on Governmental Affairs to secure support of key Members of Congress.  APLU’s advocacy was critical in securing provisions that limit the bureaucratic hurdles universities must face to secure H-1B visas to bring international researchers and educators to campus.  APLU’s advocacy also led to a reduction in visa fees that would have negatively impacted both universities and students.

    APLU continues to push Congress to act on immigration reform.
  • International Development
    IACC’s current priorities in support of broadening the role of higher education in international development and international agriculture include the following:

    The Collaborative Research Support Programs (CRSPs) were created in 1977 to engage the capacities of U.S. universities in addressing the needs of developing nations worldwide while also contributing to U.S. food security and agricultural development. The U.S. Congress made this possible with the passage of the International Development and Food Assistance Act of 1975 and Title XII of the Act in particular.

    Title XII of the Act originally authorized the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide program support for long-term collaborative university research and coordinate with other federal and state efforts to maximize the benefits of agricultural development in both the United States and in developing nations.  In October 2000, Title XII was reauthorized enabling the continuation of long-term research programs as one of several categories of U.S. university research efforts.

    Recently, USAID has re-named the CRSPs and expanded their mandate.  They are now referred to as Feed the Future Collaborative Innovation Laboratories. In addition to the “Collaborative” Innovation Labs, which are of the former CRSPs model, USAID has launched more than ten new Innovation Labs focused on global food security.

    APLU through its International Advocacy Coordinating Committee strongly supports the Innovation Laboratories and has historically been the advocacy champion for the former CRSPs, successfully securing gradual increases in the appropriation for the program in the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bills.

    In FY 2010, APLU worked with Congress to secure an appropriation of $15 million for partnerships between African and U.S. institutions of higher education under the banner of the Africa-US Higher Education Initiative.  The appropriation funded eleven U.S. universities to work with counterparts in Africa on strengthening the capacity of African higher education.  Nine of these partnerships are still being supported with USAID funding although long-term support from the Agency is uncertain.

    APLU will continue to advocate to both Congress and USAID for expanding investment in strengthening the capacity of African higher education institutions through partnerships with U.S. higher education institutions.
  • International Education/Title VI

    Title VI refers to the long-established suite of Department of Education programs that support foreign language and area studies at U.S. colleges and universities to ensure a steady supply of graduates who can communicate across borders and participate in a global marketplace. These programs have served national security interests by preserving expertise in foreign language and culture where none would exist otherwise.  They have also played a critical role in comprehensive internationalization of campuses and exposing students to language and culture.

    Despite the importance of these critical programs, in FY 2011 funding for them was severely cut by 40 percent, putting in serious jeopardy the domestic pipeline of language and area experts.  APLU strongly supports a restoration of Title VI funding to preserve domestic capacities in languages and cultures of strategic importance as well as the important contributions the programs make to expanding global competencies of students.  

  • Education Abroad
    Chartered by Congress and Chaired by APLU President, Peter McPherson, the Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program, released a report in 2005 outlining how the United States could achieve the goal of one million U.S. students studying abroad annually.  As recommended in the report, legislation was introduced, the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Act, which would significantly increase the number of study abroad participants by creating a competitive grants program in which institutions of higher education would compete with the best ideas on how they can increase their numbers, expand the diversity of participants, and expand the diversity of destinations including developing nations.

    APLU, working with our partners at NAFSA: Association of International Educators, remains committed to passage of the Simon Act both in authorization and appropriations.