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US: bills to “fix” incentive-based recruitment ban

Legislation has been introduced to Congress in the US that education sector stakeholders say would make “necessary technical corrections” to a bill threatening the ability for US institutions to recruit international students using incentive-based arrangements.

Under the THRIVE Act, institutions benefiting from a GI Bill would be banned from incentivised international recruitment. Photo: pexels

The THRIVE Act was signed into law on June 8 and took effect August 1

By omitting language explicitly allowing institutions that receive certain government funding to use incentive compensation when recruiting international students, stakeholders have previously warned that the THRIVE Act threatens the US’s ability to compete for international student talent.

The act was signed into law on June 8 and took effect August 1.

“We are hopeful Congress will act quickly to advance these fixes into law”

On October 8 US Representative Mike Bost introduced H.R. 5509: the Student Veteran COVID-19 Protection Act of 2021 and Representative David Trone introduced H.R. 5545: the Responsible Education Mitigating Options and Technical Extensions (REMOTE) Act.

Both bills include fixes that will restore institutions’ ability to use incentive-based arrangements in international student recruitment, NAFSA highlighted.

“NAFSA is very pleased to see these bills introduced, and we are hopeful Congress will act quickly to advance these fixes into law,” said Rachel Banks, NAFSA’s senior director of Public Policy & Legislative Strategy.

Stakeholders had previously been concerned that the THRIVE Act would reverse the 1965 Higher Education Act which has specific language permitting the use incentive compensation to recruit international students.

The bill presented by representative Bost proposes to add an exception for “the recruitment of foreign students residing in foreign countries who are not eligible to receive federal student assistance”.

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