U.S. Colleges Become More International Every Day

Students attending U.S. colleges today are seeing their campuses become more international, with classmates from countries like China, India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia among others. 2013 saw a record high of 819,644 international students enrolled at U.S. colleges (from Open Doors Data).

International students have a lot to contribute to U.S. colleges. Students from diverse countries lend valuable insight and perspectives to a variety of issues. They have worked hard to achieve a goal of pursuing higher education in the U.S. and thus are often at the top of their class and very well prepared for the rigors of college. Families in China and other countries are highly motivated to send their students abroad where they are expected to get the best education money can buy.

However, there is another very real benefit international students bring to U.S. colleges that is driving increased recruitment. These students pay the full tuition price, and very rarely receive financial aid from the colleges they attend.

While in previous years many international students focused on the top private schools in America, recently public schools have been some of the biggest recruiters of international students, while at the same time turning down thousands of in-state applicants.

A Wall Street Journal analysis of 300 public universities found that 54 of them had decreased enrollment of in-state students by about 10%, and increased enrollment of out-of-state and international students by about 10% or more (See this revealing short video, Why Top Students are Being Rejected by In-State Schools).

State funding to public colleges has decreased throughout the recession, leaving colleges to search for ways to make up the shortfall. International students bring in thousands of dollars to the college, and can add to the local economy as well. While international students should be welcome on college campuses, many have started to question whether public universities are straying from their purpose in providing a high quality and affordable education to local students.

Are there other ways to cut spending and ensure a more affordable education for all (both local and international)?

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