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WSJ: A Million International Students Pinch US Admissions

Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley Founder Posts: 106,392 Senior Member
An interesting article at the Wall Street Journal notes that 975,000 international students are enrolled in US colleges and universities this year, up 10% from the year before. Since most of these are full-tuition students, they are attractive prospects for financially strapped US schools. But, it's making it more difficult for US and in-state students to be admitted.

The article focuses on University of California schools, who accepted 62% of in-state applicants last year - down from 84% four years earlier.

According to the article, the UC schools are the most affected. Most other state schools have held in-state admissions steady. (The article doesn't describe the effect on out-of-state US students. Presumably, a full-pay international student might be more desirable than a domestic student who would need financial aid.)

Declining state subsidies in California, UC administrators say, make it necessary to admit more full-pay international students to keep in-state tuition low.

More: http://www.wsj.com/articles/foreign-students-pinch-university-of-california-home-state-admissions-1447650060

Replies to: WSJ: A Million International Students Pinch US Admissions

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 60,393 Senior Member
    edited November 2015
    Declining state subsidies in California, UC administrators say, make it necessary to admit more full-pay international students to keep in-state tuition low.

    To put some numbers down, various articles indicate that the spending per undergraduate at UC is about $10,000 to $12,000 more than the in-state tuition of around $12,000, for a total of $22,000 to $24,000 (these figures do not include living expenses, books, etc.; out-of-state tuition adds $24,000 more for a total of $36,000).

    Note that the article claims that the per student subsidy has fallen from $25,000 in 2001 to $12,000 now. In 2001, the tuition was about $3,000 for in-state undergraduates and $13,000 for out-of-state undergraduates ($4,000 and $17,000 after CPI adjustment to today's dollars). So the spending per undergraduate was presumably at least $29,000 in today's dollars back then (the article does not indicate whether the $25,000 is after CPI adjustment or not).

    I.e. over the last 15 years, both tuition has increased and spending per undergraduate has fallen. It would not be surprising if something similar were observed at other state universities where the states have reduced funding.
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod Posts: 25,129 Inactive
    The article doesn't describe the effect on out-of-state US students. Presumably, a full-pay international student might be more desirable than a domestic student who would need financial aid.

    From what I have been hearing, the financial aid for OOS students has dried up in most places anyway. So I am not sure that there is much advantage to the state schools one way or another. I would think this would be a bigger issue at the private schools where US citizens often need financial aid in one form or another.

    I think one also has to keep in mind that having more international students can be a positive factor for all undergraduates and the faculty, but like most things it has to be balanced against other considerations and shouldn't be unchecked in its growth.
  • snarlatronsnarlatron Registered User Posts: 1,491 Senior Member
    I agree that state universities deserve scrutiny when their OOS and intl percentages get too high. They are trying to maximize tuition revenue but their real mission is supposed to be to taxpaying residents in their state. The same with publics, though, which all benefit from tax free status and receive many streams of cash from state and federal coffers.
  • Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley Founder Posts: 106,392 Senior Member
    Good point, mamalion, about the effect on lower scoring students and the correlation with socio-economic class. Also true of schools that try to raise their academic stats by trying to attract higher-scoring US students.

    How well integrated are the international students, would you say? With that high of a percentage, there would be critical mass for students to hang out with others of the same nationality, at least for the larger countries.
  • NotVerySmartNotVerySmart Registered User Posts: 1,670 Senior Member
    edited November 2015
    Although overall statistics are hard to find, there is considerable variation even within the UC system. At UCB, unlike UCSD, the international admit rate (~9%) is about half the overall rate of 18%.


    As of two years ago, the international admit rate at MIT (3%) was lower by far than the domestic rate (11%)


    Some time ago, Voice of America had a stab at comparing international admit rates with overall rates at some upper-middle-tier colleges. With some exceptions (USC and MSU), the international rate was lower by double digits, than the overall admit rate. At Georgia Tech and Texas A&M, the international % wasn't even half the overall rate.


    These are still just a few examples, but I feel - especially in light of the self-selecting nature of international applicants, as anyone who can pay US tuition is fairly well off - that the international pool is more competitive on the whole. The UC system seems an exception in that regard (though accepted international test scores and grades are a tad higher than those of admitted US students), perhaps because funding cuts have forced them to take more full-pay internationals to make ends meet.

    I can't speak to the issues with the TOEFL/SAT or the 'maternity tourism' question, but I also believe US schools are often an international student's first choice, among the self-selecting population that is "kids mostly able to pay full tuition." Our school has seen many students turn down top local schools, and a few turn down Oxbridge offers, in order to attend a US college.
  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School Registered User Posts: 2,559 Senior Member
    edited November 2015
    The number of international students has been a boon and has cut our trade deficit significantly. If you assume each student spends $40,000 per year, that is nearly $40 billion in exports employing many American workers.
  • JuicyMangoJuicyMango Registered User Posts: 1,183 Senior Member
    @paul2752: In fact, isn't it harder for international applicants to get in? This is what ends up happening when you have a place like America in which most of the top universities in the world are found. But for public schools, the residents of the state should not have to pay as much because they already pay taxes that support the school.
  • JuicyMangoJuicyMango Registered User Posts: 1,183 Senior Member
    @paul2752: Yeah, that's a pretty big debate right now. A lot people (including me) believe the government should support these public schools a lot more than they do now.
  • paul2752paul2752 Registered User Posts: 4,422 Senior Member
    Yeah, but if the state government doesn't want to spend money, then schoos will have to accept OOS kids with money because otherwise will jeopardize the education quality.

    Yet, people blame international/oos kids, not the government. It's not like we eat your tax anyway
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