Virginia Gov. John N. Dalton, citing the Nov. 4 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by Iranian students, yesterday directed the state's colleges to review their foreign student policies and tuition costs.
At a press conference yesterday morning in Alexandria, Dalton released copies of a memo he sent Wednesday to various state supported institutions of higher education calling for "an in-depth review of all their policies relating to foreign students."
An aide to the governor said later that Dalton's action should not be construed as encouraging "any action or harassment directed to one class of students," but rather as a request that the schools' governing boards take a second look at foreign student policies, tuitions and fees.
Dalton told the educators that "Virginia taxpayers are heavily subsidizing foreign students . . . and that many of our governing boards have no comprehensive policy regarding admissions, financial aid, tuition and fees and other important facets related to enrolling foreign students."
The governor said his action came in response to a letter from Del. Warren E. Barry (R-Fairfax), who raised questions about Iranians in Virginia schools. Some of the estimated 50,000 Iranians in U.S. colleges have been demonstrating for the return of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to Iran and supporting the embassy takeover.
A recent survey showed that 481 Iranian nationals are enrolled in Virginia's public colleges. The Iranians are primarily at four schools: Norfolk State and Old Dominion universities in Norfolk; Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, and 125 at the various branches of Northern Virginia Community College.