The PIE News reports:
“Former graduate students [from Iran] have told The PIE News that expenses such as application fees, language tests along with flights and their first month’s rent are preventing talented scholars from studying abroad.”
“[one student] put out an advertisement for his kidney (which is legal in Iran) and found a buyer. Fortunately a friend intervened before the operation could go ahead.”
“An experienced teacher makes $200 a month. Saving $250 for a language test is very difficult. You also need to save for the application fee, money for the first month.”
“He also said that institutions should accept more affordable English proficiency tests.”
Not from the article:
A few months ago, seemingly hundreds of test-takers from Iran had their English test scores canceled for unclear reasons. Refunds were not offered. It was heartbreaking to hear their stories, knowing what I did about the economy of that country. It is more heartbreaking after having read this article.
Duolingo has done quite a lot to provide vouchers for free tests to students outside the USA from underprivileged backgrounds. I think the larger and more established testing organizations should follow their lead. I recall running into a brick wall of bureaucracy trying to get voucher programs set up for test-takers affected by the fall of the government in Afghanistan and those affected by the ongoing war in Europe. I ultimately gave up and decided it was more efficient to just volunteer my time as a language tutor.