International student enrollment on rise

International student enrollment at TCU hit its highest numbers in 2007, which was followed by a national all-time high this year.

The Institute of International Education’s Open Doors 2008 report shows a 7 percent increase of international undergraduate student enrollment from last year.

The Institute of International Education is an independent nonprofit organization that promotes educational relations between the United States and other countries. The institute’s Open Doors reports are compilations of data on international students and American students studying abroad.

Karen Scott, director of international admissions, said there was a 40 percent increase with 126 international students enrolled last year compared to 90 from 2006.

“Last year, we had a bunch of students matriculate in our Intensive English Program, and a good number of those were from Saudi Arabia,” Scott said.

There are 106 international students enrolled this year, according to TCU Institutional Research statistics.

The increase was influenced by the Saudi Arabian government offering scholarships to its student citizens and about 20 students enrolling in the Intensive English Program, Scott said.

Scott said changes in the enrollment rates are influenced by the colleges students apply to, Intensive English Program enrollment and the economy.

“We have quite a few international students who are music majors, so sometimes enrollment depends on how many students the School of Music is working with,” she said.

The same situation applies to international student athletes when they are recruited, Scott said.

Enrollment fluctuated within a couple of years after the Sept. 11 attacks because potential students were afraid to go to the United States because of public perception. It was difficult for them to obtain visas, Scott said.

“People feared they would not get their student visas.” Scott said. “Many people gave up on the process without even giving it a chance.”

Enrollment bounced back in 2004, she said.

Scott said she expects next year’s enrollment rate to be similar to this year.

“I don’t think it will be a record-high year, but I don’t think we’re going to have a big dip either,” she said.

Scott said in the past few years, most international students were from China.

Institutional research figures show China and India have among the highest number of students since 2006.

There are six students from China enrolled at TCU this year.

Scott said enrollment increased also because of China’s booming economy.

India’s numbers decreased to three students this year compared with last year’s nine, according to institutional research figures.

According to an Open Doors news release, India sent the most number of students for the past seven years followed by China.

The U.S. enrollment rate of students from India increased 13 percent reaching 94,563, while students from China increased 20 percent, having a total of 81,127 in the past year.

Malu Guillen Torres, a sophomore graphic design major from Guatemala, said she decided to come to TCU because of the graphic design program and the independence that living in a foreign country provides.

“Graphic design programs are not very good at home,” she said. “And I want to experience living alone and practicing the language.”

Kritika Amatya, a freshman economics major from Nepal, said the U.S. Education Foundation in Nepal helped her apply to universities in the United States, including TCU.

“I used those resources, like the advisers, to help manage my stuff to be sent to colleges,” she said. “Even during my visa application, they helped me through the application process.”

The U.S. Education Foundation in Nepal, also known as The Fulbright Commission, is an organization that manages educational exchange between Nepal and the United States. The agency provide scholarships, counseling services and test preparations to help Nepali students apply to American universities.