In a bustling downtown business center in Jakarta, Indonesia, thousands of young students and their parents took in the overwhelming pitches from 56 American colleges and universities urging families to pick their school. The college fair served primarily to aid a partnership President Obama made with Indonesian officials to increase the amount of Indonesian students studying in the U.S. and also as a jump start to a decreasing market for international students choosing the United States as a college destination.
Post 9/11 restrictions to visas, cost, and distance have all resulted in the falling numbers of international students enrolling at American higher education institutions. While the benefits of campus diversity offered by international students are of interest for American colleges, the money factor is the driving force forrecruitment efforts. International students contributed over $20 million to the American economy in 2010. The extreme profit gained from international study has inspired the United States Government and American universities to increase their desirability to international students.
College representative handed out mementos representing school spirit, and U.S. Embassy officials assured students that 95% of Indonesian students receive visas to study in America. While the colleges and universities greatly benefit from the presence of international students, the U.S. Government has a responsibility in getting those students to America as well. The State Department knows that increasing international student enrollment will also strengthen ties with foreign countries and aid in mutual understandings. The collective need encourages universities and government agencies to work as a recruitment team.
691,000 students from foreign countries were enrolled in American colleges in 2010, an extreme increase from the 475,000 enrolled in 2000. These numbers prove that students are still choosing American schools, but the increasing percentage choosing other countries is where the true concern lies. Australia, Germany, France, Canada and the UK are all experiencing higher interest and applications from foreign students. The United State’s goal is to keep the American spark going, to ensure students they are an asset to American schools, and to keep that international tuition money rolling in.