Universities Lure International Students to Make Up Lost Funding

It is no secret that state funding to universities has been declining over the last several years, and universities are trying to find ways to make up the loss. One of the more popular ideas is increasing the number of foreign students, who generally pay higher tuition rates than in-state or other US students, even preferring them to higher-achieving US students. 

In the 2011-2012 academic school year international students contributed more than $21 billion to the US economy in tuition and living costs, according the Institute of International Education. Attempting to bring some of this money to their own university, some schools, like the University of Washington, have even taken to offering fewer in-state students admission while increasing the number of offers to international students.

The price of such a tactic comes at cost of lower admission standards. Some universities are waiving SAT/ACT requirements or other tests such as the GRE for graduate admission. In addition, universities like the University of Washington do not even consider application essays and recommendations of international students as they are often written not by the student, but by hired recruiting agents.

Language barriers are yet another controversial issue regarding international students. While English language tests are required for admittance, they may not reflect the ability of students to write essays in English, give presentations, or understand lectures and course requirements. Some universities offer proficiency classes, especially for graduate teaching assistants, however this also does not guarantee language adequacy. 

The number of international students has been rising: from the 2010-2011 school year to 2011-2012 enrollment rose 6.5 percent. This trend will continue as long as universities are in need of money, but US students and their parents are taking notice. If high-achieving in-state students continue to be rejected from universities, feel like minorities at their own state school, or have trouble communicating with their TAs and classmates, universities might have to re-think this plan.