In an increasingly competitive job market, more and more students are considering graduate school as a means to achieving their goals. With that being said, the decision to go is not one to be taken lightly. These programs require a lot of time, work and effort to complete. So if you're still interested in pursuing a post-baccalaureate education after serious consideration, there are a few other obstacles to consider: cost and aid available, job placement and being barred from certain programs due to your nationality. Wait, what?
According to The Boston Globe, the University of Massachusetts Amherst will no longer accept Iranian students into its graduate programs in chemical, computer and mechanical engineering, along with the natural sciences. But why? The university cites as the basis for its decision U.S. sanctions on Iran, which make Iranian citizens ineligible for visas if they seek higher education in preparation for careers in Iran’s energy sector or any field related to nuclear power. After the policy received nationwide criticism, UMass Amherst removed all reference to its graduate program policy from its website. "We recognize that our adherence to federal law may create difficulties for our students from Iran and regard this as unfortunate," the university said in a statement to The Huffington Post. "Furthermore, the exclusion of a class of students from admission directly conflicts with our institutional values and principles. However, as with any college or university, we have no choice but to institute policies and procedure to ensure that we are in full compliance with all applicable laws." (For more on this story, click here.)
What are your thoughts on UMass Amherst’s sanctions on Iranian students? Do you think it’s fair or irrational? Do you think other prestigious universities will follow suit? Or do you think UMass Amherst will reverse its stance in the coming weeks? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And if you’re seriously considering graduate school, head over to our After College section. While you’re there, don’t forget how expensive a graduate degree can be. Conduct a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com, where you’ll get matched with scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities that are unique to you!
*Update: As of February 18, 2015, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has reversed its decision to bar Iranian students from some of its graduate programs.