EDUCATION

International enrollment at U.S. colleges up

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Still, he says, the shy students who once studied in the United States on Chinese government scholarships have been replaced by better-off Chinese who pay their own way and arrive more familiar and comfortable with Western culture.

Wang says Chinese students are under no illusions why they're recruited: "It's a market economy. There are people who want this who are willing to pay." Still, he'd like to see schools award more financial aid to internationals. Michigan non-resident tuition and fees ($41,870 for upperclassmen) are hugely expensive even for prosperous Chinese families, but are high enough that the international students who come here aren't socio-economically diverse (only a handful of U.S. colleges offer international students the same aid as domestic students).

"There are so many bright students in China," he said. "If you can give just a few of them a scholarship, they would come and succeed."

A U.S. education is still highly desired by Chinese students, but Wang says "10 years ago people only knew the top schools." Now they're looking beyond the Ivy League and learning more about the range of options (including, he said, the fact that some U.S. colleges are terrible).

"I think that's important," Blumenthal said of the trend of international students moving beyond the most famous schools and into state schools, community colleges and liberal arts colleges. "They need to know that America's as diverse as we know it is."

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