Foreign Students Looking Abroad?
Rea, the SBA's Region V administrator, cited a report by the Frankfurter Allgemeine that one in seven German doctorates move to the
It also noted three-fourths of German Nobel Prize winners work in the
According to an Allgemeine editorial, the
Although Rea didn't mention it, the National Science Board also found this year that 38 percent of the doctorate holders in the
Rea explained that the Allgemeinesaw this as an exportation of
"This is particularly meaningful to me," Rea said. "All the information you're seeing today was compiled by a pair of graduate students on loan from the
Now, with help from the U.S. Department of State, the
Last month, the
After five years of steady growth and a slight (0.6 percent) increase the previous year, the past academic year saw undergraduate declines in every type of institution for a total of almost 5 percent, offset partially be a 2.5 percent rise of international students at the graduate level.
Undergraduate enrollments from each of the top five sending countries declined: — China, 20 percent, India 9 percent, Japan, 14 percent, Korea, 1 percent and Canada, 3 percent. Associate degree institutions reported the steepest drop in foreign student enrollment, 10 percent.
The report suggests a number of possible reasons for the decline: real and perceived difficulty in obtaining student visas, rising
While the IIE report expressed concerns that fewer undergraduates today will mean a future decrease in graduate students, just as worrisome is the concern that the past year's slight increase in graduate students was driven by a large spike within master's programs.
Large research/doctoral institutions — which host 70 percent of all foreign graduate students in the United States — showed a decrease in foreign student enrollment, with 15 of the top 25 hosts reporting losses.
"That was fairly alarming to the people in the international education field," explained Mark Schaub of the
As GVSU's student body continues to grow, its international student population has not changed, and represents less than one percent of enrollment.
"We are interested in raising that and attracting more international students," Schaub said. "Typically they are attracted to the research institutions recognized overseas. The
"Having the world's best students helps to raise the bar for the Michigan-based students and faculty, and ideally we want them to stay here and join the workforce."
Much of GVSU's international efforts are based on sending
"The perception out there is that the
Schaub paraphrased a recent statement by Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek's international editor, "We're trying to keep out the next Muhammad Atta, but we're really keeping out the next Bill Gates."
Jeff Meyer, executive director of the Van Andel Global Trade Center at GVSU, explained that a decline in foreign interest could be two-fold. First, would be the direct and indirect monetary implications to research institutions losing international student tuition and declining research programs. Second would the cost within academia and business from loss of desire to study or do business in the
According to the Department of Commerce, international students brought over $13 billion to the
"If the talent overseas starts believing that it's so hard to come here, they're going to start asking if they want to come here," Meyer said. "Not being able to get the right people into the country will put a hitch in many companies' business models. But what if those people just decide they'd rather go somewhere else?
"Locally, we're trying to attract top-level foreign talent for cancer research," he said. "And that will become a lot harder if they decide they don't want to come into the country."
One local school appears to be bucking the trend.
Calvin provost Joel Carpenter cites strong relationships through the Christian reformed church with institutions in West Africa and
All Calvin professors are expected to conduct research in addition to teach, and the international students are eager to participate.
"Because we don't have any large graduate programs, the undergrads are going to be the research assistants," Carpenter said.
"Through our research here, we hope to prepare students to move onto bigger things," said biology professor David DeHeer. "We want to get the younger students ready to go to bigger places like the Van Andel Institute."
Already an institution with many scientific investigators from overseas, VAI welcomed two more by way of
Ghana-born Timothy Bediako worked with DeHeer for two years researching cellular causes of artificial joint failure. As a senior, Bediako progressed into an internship at VAI, and since graduation has become a full-time VAI researcher.
Next year, Bediako will pursue a PhD, after which he will take his education back home to
Calvin senior Dare Odumosu, of
The declining trend may stabilize in the coming year, as student visa issuances for January through June 2004 increased by 11 percent over the same six-month period in 2003, according to a statement by Patricia Harris, the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.