ASU a top pick for international students

ASU continues to be one of the top choices for international students, placing 20th in the nation last year among all colleges and universities, according to a report released this week from the Institute of International Education (IIE).

ASU has a record 4,430 international students enrolled in fall 2011, up from 3,856 last year. The university draws students from 120 countries because of the breadth of its programs and its increasing reputation.

The IIE compiles its ranking each year based on the previous year’s enrollment numbers. ASU’s 15 percent international enrollment increase this fall, one of the highest on record at ASU, will be reflected in next year’s ranking.

“ASU is an outstanding value for international students among major research institutions, offering a dynamic and diverse academic and campus environment,” says James Brailer, executive director of the ASU Center for Global Education Services (CGES). “The university has an international reputation in a wide array of disciplines.

“ASU’s international undergraduate admissions has been actively reaching out to prospective students by increasing the number of recruiter visits abroad.”

ASU also is recruiting students through virtual fairs, he said, and has significantly improved the welcome and orientation of new international students.

International students contribute more than $21 billion to the U.S. economy through their expenditures on tuition and living expenses, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Higher education is among the United States’ top service sector exports.

For the second year in a row, China is the leading country of origin for ASU international students, followed closely by India, which had long been the leader. China’s enrollment grew 30 percent to 1,296, and India’s enrollment increased almost 16 percent to 1,003.

The next highest countries of origin are South Korea (340), Saudi Arabia (234), Taiwan (155), Canada (154) and Mexico (106).

The most popular ASU major is engineering, with 1,784 students, followed by business, with 850 majors. There has been an increased interest in the arts and sciences, with 821 majors. The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts drew 288 students, and the College of Technology and Innovation has 197 international students enrolled.

The majority are graduate students, at 2,551, with another 1,879 enrolled as undergraduates, a higher proportion than last year. Freshman international students increased by 45 percent, from 378 to 549.

ASU’s International Students and Scholars Office staff worked hard to increase services to international students this year, according to Angela Mitchell, marketing and outreach coordinator for CEGS.

They converted to a paperless mandatory SEVIS check-in, implemented the first-ever “ASU International Arrival Day” offering free airport shuttle service to the Tempe campus and assistance with early arrival housing, and they coordinated more than 20 welcome events and two full-day orientations.

The ISSO also started a success workshop series focusing on academic and cultural issues faced by international students on campus.

“ASU is sending the strong message that we welcome international students, and we support and advocate for them while they are here,” Brailer says. “We are invested in their success through graduation and beyond, as lifelong members of the Sun Devil family.”

ASU also was named one of the top 40 doctorate institutions for students studying abroad, with 1,387 ASU students abroad in 2009-2010, the year these numbers were ranked.

The IIE report counts an additional 1,000 ASU students in the total international enrollment, since they include students who are in a practical training program or are enrolled in the American English and Culture Program.

More students who are attending the American English and Culture Program for English language training are choosing to remain at ASU for degree study, Brailer says.

Written by Sarah Auffret