Foreign student numbers drop

Ryan Loew

International enrollment levels off at KSU despite national decline

International students are packing up their bags, and many are not coming back to the United States.

Foreign student enrollment has dropped by 28 percent this year, according to a report by The New York Times, as competition among nations for the world’s best and brightest has increased.

But the number of international students coming to Kent State has increased and leveled off, at least for the time being.

“The enrollment we had in the fall was a very slight growth, but there were clear signs that we had reached a plateau,” said Charles Nieman, the director of International Student and Scholar Services. “I think it’s too early to say if we’re going to see a decline. It’s very possible that we might. It’s also possible that we can maintain.”

Kelly Mata, an international student adviser, said there were 917 foreign students on campus last semester. She said the number has remained relatively the same this semester.

Security concerns and competition among European nations for college students have led to the national enrollment drops.

“After Sept. 11, the emphasis on securing the homeland had an effect to slow the flow of students,” Nieman said. “It was simply more difficult to get a visa and enter.”

In order to avoid the difficulty, many international students are looking to English-speaking countries such as England, Canada and Australia for a college education.

“We’re very much feeling the pressure of the European Union expanding and the enormous opportunity that presents students from Europe,” Nieman said.

While the United States offers international students cutting-edge universities and career opportunities, countries are acting quickly to scoop up students. Many nations, such as those in the European Union, are working to standardize degrees and allow students to apply with little difficulty, Nieman said.

Ted McKown, the assistant director of admissions, said although he expects a decline in the future, international students will continue to enroll at Kent State.

“I think we’ve taken a very customer-friendly approach. We’ve done a great job just processing their applications. We’ve got the message out there that international students are welcome at Kent State University.”

Contact administration reporter Ryan Loew at [email protected].