Why there's a local spike in foreign students

Posted at 9:34 AM, Nov 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-16 09:34:44-05

CINCINNATI -- The number of international students studying at local universities and students from local universities studying abroad are on the rise.

The Institute of International Education on Monday released its Open Doors report, an annual survey carried out in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that reflects the most recent numbers of international students who enroll at U.S. colleges and universities. The report reflects the most recent numbers of students from U.S. colleges and universities who study abroad.

The report looks at schools that enroll 10 or more international students and schools that see 10 or more students study abroad.

Here in the Tri-State, Miami University saw the largest jump in both categories.

The school hosted 1,924 international students during the 2014-2015 school year. That’s almost 500 more international students than Miami hosted the year prior. In addition, 2,016 Miami students studied abroad during the 2013-2014 school year, which was an increase of more than 300 students from the previous year.

Miami also saw the highest ranking among schools in the region for awarding credit for study abroad. The school ranked 19th in the country for the 2013-2014 school year. It ranked 25th the previous year.

“In terms of the study abroad rankings, we’re in some pretty good company,” said Cheryl Young, assistant provost for global initiatives at Miami. “It’s a deliberate attempt as part of the Miami 2020 Plan to increase the number of students studying abroad.”

Some of Miami’s efforts to increase its study abroad numbers include a study abroad orientation for first-year students and a campaign called “Study Abroad Myth Busters” that debunks myths so students can see how they can afford to study abroad and make it work with their schedule.

Young said the increase in international students at Miami has been intentional, as well, and includes efforts such as working with a group in China to recruit students to the school’s Middletown campus.

After Miami, the University of Cincinnati saw the next largest increase in its international and study abroad student numbers among schools in the region, and the largest number of international students on its campus..

The school hosted 3,695 international students during the 2014-2015 school year, which is an increase of almost 300 students from the previous year and the second-highest number of international students within the state of Ohio, second to Ohio State University.

Also, during the 2013-2014 school year, 1,245 UC students studied abroad, which is an increase of nearly 200 students over the previous year.

“UC made a commitment in 2008 to double its study abroad numbers from 800 to 1,500 by 2019,” said Anne Fugard, executive director of international programs at UC. “We’re clearly well on our way.”

Raj Mehta, vice provost for UC International, notes that when today’s students turn 50, they’ll see a population of between 9 and 10 billion, and that most of the growth will come from outside of the United States and Europe.

“It’s important that our students travel and learn more about the world they will inherit,” he said. “Similarly, we need to make full efforts in getting our international students integrated in our student population. That way, even the students who don’t have an opportunity to study abroad get a chance to learn about this exciting global world they are a part of.”

Xavier University also saw growth in its numbers of international students and students who study abroad.

The school hosted 262 international students during the 2014-2015 school year. That’s 10 more students than the year prior. It also saw 410 students study abroad during the 2013-2014 school year, which was 30 more than the previous year.

Xavier University students participated in an international fashion show last year as part of International Education Week.

“We’re excited about the increases we’re seeing,” said Lea Minniti, executive director of international education at Xavier. “We want to promote internationalization on campus so students understand multiple perspectives so they’re prepared to participate in a global world and workforce.”

In the Tri-State, Northern Kentucky University also made the Open Doors report.

NKU hosted 513 international students during the 2014-2015 school year, which was 126 fewer international students than it hosted the year prior.

Northern Kentucky University students participated in a Japanese culture fest in 2013.

“While there was a decline in the number of international students attending NKU, that is a product of their academic success,” said Francois LeRoy, director of international programs at NKU. “Many of our international students graduated.”

LeRoy said NKU is in the process of creating and implementing a new international recruitment plan in which university representatives will visit international students in their home countries and use multiple electronic platforms to recruit them to NKU.

“Our goal is to increase both the number and diversity of international students, and focus upon overall retention and graduation rates,” he said.

NKU also saw 296 students study abroad during the 2013-2014 school year, which was 19 more than the previous year.

“In line with NKU’s 2013-2018 strategic plan, which calls for promoting inclusive excellence and global awareness, we are striving to increase the number of NKU students who study abroad, as well as grow the number of education opportunities available to them in other countries,” said Michelle Melish, assistant director of education abroad at NKU..

Melish said NKU has launched a number of new partnerships, such as a business course in the Czech Republic over spring break and a summer course on exile, resistance and inclusion in the LGBTQ community in Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris.

In the past year, NKU also has signed new agreements and memorandums of understanding with institutions such as the University of Rotterdam of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands and Bremen University of Applied Sciences in Germany.

International Education Week.

The release of the Open Doors data is in conjunction with the beginning of International Education Week, which runs Nov. 16 through Nov. 20.

International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States.

Here are links to events going on at Miami, UC, Xavier and NKU in conjunction with International Education Week:

  • Miami
  • UC
  • Xavier
  • NKU (NKU celebrates international education during the entire month of November)

A National Look at International Education.

In 2014-2015, the number of international students in the United States increased by 10 percent to a record high of 974,926 students. The state of Ohio ranked eighth on the list of top U.S. states hosting international students, with 32,498 international students.

China is the top country of origin of international students in the United States.

In 2014-2015, the number of U.S. students studying abroad for academic credit increased by 5 percent, to 304,467 students. U.S. student participation in study abroad has more than tripled over the past two decades, but only about 10 percent of U.S. students study abroad before graduating from college.

The United Kingdom is the leading host destination for U.S. study abroad students.