Monday, October 5, 2015

Community Colleges Focus on Recruiting International Students

By Jordan Friedman
World Education Services

Across the U.S., community colleges are increasing their efforts to recruit international students, according to a report released this past July by ICEF Monitor.

Citing data from the Institute of International Education, or IIE, the ICEF report notes that community colleges (given their affordability) are a particularly attractive option for students from “price-sensitive markets,” including countries in Latin America and some parts of Asia. Nearly 9 percent of the approximately 886,000 international students in the U.S. during the 2013-2014 academic year were enrolled at institutions that grant associate-level degrees, according to IIE.

The number of international students at U.S. community colleges has remained steady over the past few years after spiking in 2009 and then dropping by more than 8 percent.

“Community colleges are an increasingly important pathway for international students to access U.S. higher education and are stepping up their international recruitment to both increase their revenue base and diversify their student bodies,” the report states.

The report says China, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and Mexico are the countries with the highest numbers of students pursuing a degree at a U.S. community college. And, according to the report, many community colleges are recruiting international students through strategies such as the implementation of “2+2” programs with four-year institutions and individualized transfer plans.

Schools like Green River Community College also are turning to “armchair recruiting,” the ICEF report says, which involves using primarily online channels to reach out to prospective students.

One student, Indira Pranabudi, told ICEF, “I decided to go the community college route as it allowed me to start attending college with fewer requirements, and it also eased my transition into college life at a young age.” Still, she noted that switching from community college to a four-year school was a bit of a “transfer shock” that required time for adjustment.

Read the full ICEF report.

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