September 16, 2010

New international students enroll at 17-year high

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s this fall enrolled its highest number of new international students in 17 years.

“This August, 330 new international students arrived at SIUC -- the highest number since the fall semester of 1993. These students represent 60 different countries, from every corner of the globe,” said Carla Coppi, interim director of International Students and Scholars.

She noted that last year at this time there were 283 new international students enrolled at SIUC.

A recent article from “The Chronicle of Higher Education” indicates the University’s initiatives and efforts to recruit international students continue to be effective. Using data from the Institute for International Education, the Chronicle’s Aug. 27 issue compared enrollment of international students in institutions of higher learning throughout the United States during the 2008-2009 academic year.

“Southern Illinois University Carbondale was ranked 113th in the nation under the heading ‘U.S. Institutions Enrolling the Most Foreign Students for 2008-09.’ This is particularly impressive given the fact that many of the institutions ranked above SIU had more than twice the total enrollment and many are private institutions. Since there are more than 4,400 public and private colleges and universities in the United States, this ranking bodes well for SIUC,” said Larry H. Dietz, vice chancellor of student affairs at SIUC.

International student recruitment has long been important at SIUC, administrators say. The University offers a number of resources, including the Center for English as a Second Language, to help with the transition. Faculty and student exchange programs are in place with numerous universities throughout the world, also enhancing enrollment. SIUC also has Memorandums of Understanding with more than 100 institutions of higher learning worldwide and some include provisions for alternative tuition rates.

And SIUC officials believe the future is bright.

“We expect that the ranking for 2009-2010 may be higher given that the international enrollment for new students was the largest new arrival population since the fall of 1993. The leading countries for this growth in enrolment are India, China, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Korea and Malaysia. Notable improvements in enrollment have also been made in Nigeria, Mexico and Iraq,” Dietz said.