Broken promises left more than 60 international college students thinking they’d lost a life-changing opportunity to study in the United States. But now a group of universities, including Texas Christian University, is stepping in to honor full-ride scholarships for the bright kids.
TCU’s campus is more than 8,000 miles from Kundan Chaudhary’s home country of Nepal. But speaking to NBC 5 by Skype, Chaudhary said TCU already feels like: “I have found a home away from home.”
The University is taking him in, after a major let down from the University of Texas at Tyler.
That school originally told him he had a full-ride scholarship, along with 90 other students from Nepal. But the school said there was an administrative oversight, which forced them to withdraw 60 of the scholarships, including Chaudhary’s.
“I was extremely disappointed of that,” Chaudhary said. “My dreams were attached with those scholarship.”
Chaudhary said that to a lower middle class Nepalese family like his, the chance to study in America is life-changing, and having that snatched away was soul-crushing.
“I couldn’t talk with my parents with eye contact,” Chaudhary said. “I couldn’t tell this to my parents for around two weeks.”
An international community of guidance counselors quickly rallied to find other universities willing to take on all those bright kids.
“Several stepped forward championing these students,” said Heath Einstein, Dean of Admission for TCU.
TCU was among the first to step up. They’re now honoring full-ride scholarships for two Nepalese students.
“Ultimately we thought it was the right thing to do and it matched the mission of the institution,” Einstein said. “To act ethically and to be responsible citizens in our global community.”
It also expanded the University’s international population, which is now at around 500 students.
“TCU is constantly seeking to create a more inclusive and diverse campus community,” Einstein said.
Chaudhary plans to study computer science and hopes to repay a debt of gratitude to his second-chance new home.
“We are really grateful to them and we are always thankful,” Chaudhary said.
Officials at UT Tyler said they had much higher interest than expected because a group of Nepalese students spread the word about the school and a record number applied. A UT Tyler spokesman added, “We are regretful, we certainly messed up.”
The interim chancellor of the UT System, Larry Faulkner, released the following statement:
“Promises made should be promises kept. We all believe so. Regrettably in this case, the original promises of full scholarships were inconsistent with the primary purpose of The University of Texas at Tyler and The University of Texas System, which is to provide opportunity and service to the people of Texas. There is no means by which UT Tyler — or the UT System acting as a guarantor — can deliver the promised scholarships without sacrificing opportunity or service to Texas residents. Withdrawal of the original pledge is, unfortunately, the only available path consistent with our most immediate public purpose. To the students in Nepal who have met with pain and disappointment, I apologize.”