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Topic: China Continues to Drive Foreign-Student Growth in U.S.
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 13,481
Registered: 12/3/04
China Continues to Drive Foreign-Student Growth in U.S.
Posted: Nov 19, 2012 9:54 AM
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From The Chronicle of Higher Education, Monday, November 12, 2012. See
http://chronicle.com/article/China-Continues-to-Drive/135700/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
********************************
China Continues to Drive Foreign-Student Growth in the United States

By Beth McMurtrie

The story, once again, is China. Thousands of mainland Chinese
students in pursuit of an American education helped drive up
international enrollments at colleges across the United States last
fall, according to the latest "Open Doors" report from the Institute
of International Education.

Double-digit growth from China, primarily at the undergraduate level,
along with a steady uptick in Saudi Arabian students are largely
responsible for the increase in international enrollments to 764,495,
a 5.7-percent rise over the year before.

These drivers are so significant that for the first time in 11 years
there are more international undergraduate than graduate students in
the United States.

"That's likely to be a game changer," says Allan E. Goodman, the
institute's president. Undergraduates not only stay longer, he noted,
but have more impact on campus culture, both inside the classroom and
out.

In all, the total number of international students in the United
States grew faster in 2011 than it did in 2010 or 2009, as did the
number of first-time students-a 6.5-percent increase-which is perhaps
a more accurate measure of long-term interest in American education.
Growth was particularly strong at the bachelor's level and among
students seeking English-language instruction. According to figures
generated by Nafsa: Association of International Educators,
international students and their dependents contributed $21.8-billion
to the American economy in tuition and living expenses.

Other news is not so comforting. Aside from China and Saudi Arabia,
numbers from other countries that American colleges rely most on for
international students either declined or saw marginal growth. That
includes South Korea, where enrollments have hovered around 72,000
for several years, and Japan, where enrollments plummeted 41 percent
in five years.

India, which once sent more students to the United States than any
other country, continues to flatline. Consider this: As recently as
six years ago, China and India each sent about 100,000 students each
to the United States. Today the number of Chinese students studying
here has nearly doubled, while India's numbers have dropped by 3,000.

Money Problems

Demographic changes and economic conditions are behind some
countries' weak showings. Both Japan and South Korea, for example,
tend to send undergraduates, who are more sensitive to economic
conditions since families pay the full cost of education. And both
countries have aging populations.

While most Indian students come in at the graduate level, many pursue
master's degrees paid for out of their own pockets. The weak rupee
and a sluggish Indian economy have put a damper on interest in
studying in the United States.

"The only thing holding U.S. education back is Indians' ability to
pay for it," says Rahul Choudaha, director of research and advisory
services at World Education Services, a nonprofit group that
specializes in evaluating foreign credentials and student trends.

Moreover, many Indian students hope to find work in the country where
they study. Because of the struggling economy here, America has lost
some of its luster.

By contrast, Chinese students who study in the United States return
home with valued language skills, something that can help them land a
higher-paying job in their home country. And many Chinese families,
responsible for only one child, have more resources to pay for a
costly American degree.

International recruiters are well aware of these differences, and
have flooded China looking for new students. "People are creating all
kinds of strategies. Some send their ELS programs, some send their
honors programs," says F. David McCauley, deputy director of college
counseling at Beijing National Day School. "They're trying to find a
nugget. They're trying to strike a vein."

Saudi Arabia has also proved to be a boon to American colleges.
According to "Open Doors," the number of Saudi students enrolled at
American colleges jumped 50 percent between 2010 and 2011, to 34,139.
Most of those students are here on a scholarship program started by
King Abdullah in 2005. They usually enter through intensive-English
programs and continue on to receive bachelor's degrees, says Mody
Alkhalaf, assistant attache for cultural and social affairs at Saudi
Arabia's cultural mission. If they wish, they can apply to extend
their scholarships to pursue graduate degrees, she says, and most
want to do so.

The impact of the scholarship program, which sends students abroad
worldwide, has been so profound, Ms. Alkhalaf says, that "almost
every family in Saudi Arabia has one or more scholarship students on
the program."

Recruitment Targets

Both seasoned veterans and newcomers to international recruitment
have benefited from the overseas appetite for American degrees.

Jing Luan, vice chancellor for educational services and planning for
the San Mateo County Community College District, which began
recruiting aggressively a year and a half ago, says that careful
planning has led to significant enrollment increases at his three
colleges. They've translated the international-recruitment page of
their Web site into 10 other languages, improved services and clubs
for international students, and crafted a marketing plan that
trumpets community college as a pathway to a prestigious four-year
institution.

That has led international enrollments, while still small, to double
in one year, to about 270 students, with China and Saudi Arabia as
the top source countries. (Saudi Arabia for the first time this fall
has allowed its students to attend community college.)

For public institutions that have seen their state support shrink,
China has proved to be a godsend. Many state colleges also say that
foreign students provide an international perspective to their
undergraduate learning, which is particularly important given that
the percentage of Americans studying abroad remains largely flat.
"For those who can't leave campus, we want to give them an
international experience," says Michael Bustle, associate vice
provost and director of North Carolina State University's Global
Training Initiative.

But colleges are also keenly aware that as they increase
international enrollments, they need to bolster the services
surrounding them, from English-language classes to academic advising
to extracurricular activities. "We can't be bringing students here to
fail," says Charles A.S. Bankart, assistant vice provost for
international programs at the University of Kansas.

The Obama administration and the Departments of State and Commerce
have also been more aggressive in advocating for bringing more
international students to the United States. This year President
Obama pledged to increase the number of students from Latin America
and the Caribbean to 100,000, up from 64,000. His administration has
also backed deeper education ties to Indonesia, India, and China.

A Step Forward

Victor C. Johnson, Nafsa's senior adviser for public policy, praised
the administration for setting student recruitment and study-abroad
goals in places like China and Latin America. While he noted that the
government did not put any money behind these targets, "the setting
of any national objective is a step forward in itself."

As for the future, both World Education Services, through its
credential-evaluation service, and the College Board, through the
SAT, can often predict what demand for degrees will look like in the
coming years. And both see China as a viable market for the
near-term, at least. "The value of speaking English, the value of
making connections in the U.S., and the fact that the Chinese economy
is so robust, it's created the perfect storm," says Clay Hensley,
director of international strategy and relationships at the College
Board.

Still, some colleges feel they're reaching the saturation point with
China and are looking to diversify, something that Mr. Hensley and
other international-education experts support. Fordham University,
where 40 percent of the international freshmen this year hailed from
China, has already begun laying the groundwork in countries like the
Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and parts of Latin America, says
Monica Esser, associate director for international-student
admissions. "We want a balance of students from around the world, for
both economic reasons and cultural reasons," she says. "If something
beyond our control changes, we don't want to lose our international
students."

The challenge, of course, is finding the right fit. Ms. Esser, for
example, needs to find students who speak English well enough and are
academically strong enough to jump into Fordham's core curriculum,
which includes courses in philosophy, theology, and history. And
while the campus's New York location and business programs may be a
draw, the cost and the Jesuit character of the college might not be
right for everyone.

Finding the right match, says Mr. Choudaha of World Education
Services, is critical. He helped write a report released last month
offering guidance for colleges on emerging markets. "Beyond More of
the Same" notes that the four countries holding the greatest
potential-Brazil, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey-have distinct
profiles. Vietnam has an emerging middle class, for example, but one
that is not particularly wealthy. So community college might be the
best option for those students. Turkey also has a growing middle
class, but students there are more interested in an American degree
at the graduate level.

Looking ahead, signs point to continued growth in international
enrollment. A survey last month of more than 500 institutions by
eight higher-education associations suggests that enrollments
continued to rise this fall, with 61 percent of respondents reporting
growth and 17 percent reporting declines. And according to a report
released last week by the Council of Graduate Schools, member
institutions reported an 8-percent increase in new international
students, the same percentage growth seen the previous year.

But despite such gains, some international-education experts say the
United States can do much more to attract foreign students. Mr.
Johnson, of Nafsa, cautions that enrollment growth will continue to
be modest until the country throws its full support behind an
ambitious plan to recruit international students from across the
globe, similar to how President Obama set goals for specific
countries. "We'd be at a million if we set our minds to it a decade
ago," he says.

--------------------------------------------
U.S. Institutions With the Most International Students, 2011-12

Doctoral institutions / International students

University of Southern California 9,269
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 8,997
New York University 8,660
Purdue University, main campus 8,563
Columbia University 8,024
University of California at Los Angeles 6,703
Northeastern University 6,486
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor 6,382
Michigan State University 6,209
Ohio State University, main campus 6,142
Indiana University at Bloomington 6,123
Pennsylvania State University at University Park 6,075
Boston University 6,041
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 5,661
Arizona State University 5,616

Master's institutions / International students

California State University at Northridge 2,803
California State University at Long Beach 2,563
San Francisco State University 2,469
San Jose State University 2,177
Rochester Institute of Technology 2,131
California State University at Fullerton 2,109
Johnson & Wales University 2,093
Baruch College (CUNY) 1,834
University of Bridgeport 1,813
California State University-East Bay 1,536
New York Institute of Technology at Old Westbury 1,495
Suffolk University 1,362
St. Cloud State University 1,250
Fairleigh Dickinson University 1,212
University of Central Oklahoma 1,195

Baccalaureate institutions / International students

Brigham Young University, Hawaii campus 1,021
Brigham Young University, Idaho campus 797
Mount Holyoke College 646
Utah Valley State College 461
Calvin College 392
Dickinson State University 368
University of Richmond 328
Smith College 327
Middlebury College 312
New York City College of Technology (CUNY) 296
Wesleyan University 287
Wellesley College 286
DePauw University 275
College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University 268
Macalester College 268

Associate institutions / International students

Houston Community College 5,829
Santa Monica College 3,296
De Anza College 2,551
Lone Star College 1,957
Montgomery College 1,787
Miami Dade College 1,649
Diablo Valley College 1,556
Northern Virginia Community College 1,446
City College of San Francisco 1,433
Green River Community College 1,407
LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) 1,374
Seattle Central Community College 1,347
Foothill College 1,304
Edmonds Community College 1,299
Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY) 1,287

Note: Categories are based on the 2010 Carnegie Classification of
Institutions of Higher Education. These are not entirely comparable
to the classifications used in previous reports. Source: Institute
of International Education
--------------------------------------
SIDEBAR GRAPH: The Rise of China -- [Graph of Number of Students,
Years] Over the past five years most of the growth in international
enrollments has come from China, while the numbers from other top=10
sending countries have remained virtually flat. The one exception is
Saudi Arabia, where thousands of students have come to the United
States on government scholarships. Source: Institute of International
Education [See
http://chronicle.com/article/China-Continues-to-Drive/135700/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
] Powered by Tableau. Scroll down.
--------------------------------------
SIDEBAR MAP: Top Countries of Origin of Foreign Students in the
United States, 2011-12. Source: Institute of International
Education. See
http://chronicle.com/article/China-Continues-to-Drive/135700/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
] Powered by Tableau. Scroll way down.
----------------------------------
SIDEBAR: Where the International Students Are, State by State. See
http://chronicle.com/article/Where-the-International/135634/
***************************************************
--
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244
E-mail: jbecker@siu.edu



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