Increase in international students enrollment expected

Adolfo Flores

Watching U.S. corporations establish themselves in his native India, Daman Singh decided that they were more likely to hire someone with a U.S. degree.

Singh is one of the 2,162 international students who applied to attend CSUN this year. While the number of international students won’t be certain for a few weeks, administrators believe there will be a rise from last year’s 1,393.

“A U.S. degree is globally recognized and there’s also the opportunity to use the latest machinery and technology available,” said Singh, a manufacturing systems engineer graduate student who is starting his first year at CSUN this fall.

“There are courses available in what I want to study in India, however they are barely emerging there and here it’s been developed for over 25 years,” he said.

CSUN is home to international students from 92 different countries including South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, India, China, Europe and Africa.

The Institute of International Education found that the number of international students enrolled in colleges and universities in the U.S. increased 3 percent to a total of 582,984 in the 2006-2007 academic school year. That same year, the number of new international students rose 10 percent from the previous year.

In the spring of 2007 there were 1,205 international students enrolled at CSUN.

“We’ve experienced an increase in international students in the last year,” said Tom Piernik, director of Student Development and International Programs. “We’ve had the good fortune of having a glow around our educational system.”

“Classes benefit from different perspectives, different ways of seeing problems and different values,” Piernik said.

For example, a Japanese student might be surprised at how we view the elderly here in the U.S., when in Japan age is something to be revered.

“I don’t want to sound cheesy but it helps bring the world closer together,” he said.

After Sept. 11 it was difficult for international students to gain visas because of restrictions and increased security. Now there is an upsurge from that low peak.

Last year the U.S. received more students from Asia than from any other region, making up 59 percent of the total U.S. international enrollments, an increase of 5 percent. The number of students from South and Central Asia also increased by 10 percent last year, most of them coming from India. Enrollments from Pakistan and Bangladesh went down.

“A number of countries have recognized that international students are an important part of their higher education institutions,” said Ursula Oaks, spokesperson for NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Oaks noted that the reason why international students decide to attend school in the U.S. is not necessarily because it is cheaper, but because a degree from the U.S. is very highly regarded throughout the world and students are willing to pay for this.

“They’re willing to invest in that opportunity and come up with funding from whatever sources they can get,” Oaks said. “International students also allow the other students who can’t travel abroad the opportunity to interact with students of different backgrounds.”