If you are a current freshman at the University of Washington, you could be paying $28,059 for your annual tuition, or you might get a free ride. What determines which students are lucky and which have to foot the bill? It is not academic or athletic based, nor is it need-based. Instead, the students who pay the higher amount are from foreign countries and those who are paying nothing for their education are from low-income families in Washington.
These foreign students who paying a hefty sum for their education compose about 18 percent of the school’s freshmen class; 11 percent are from China. The school recently needed to raise funds after state financing was cut by more than 50 percent in the past three years, and it did so by offering more admissions offers to students who live in foreign countries. This also means that there are less spots available for students who live in the state.
Michael K. Young, the school’s president, feel that by increasing the school’s international population, the school will be setting itself up for success in the future. He is not at all concerned with the fact that the population of students who are from another country is higher than the population of students who are from another state.
“Is there any advantage to our taking a kid from California versus a kid from China?” he asked. “You’d have to convince me, because the world isn’t divided the way it used to be.”
The University of Washington isn’t the only one who is benefiting financially from the influx of foreign students. According to the Institute of International Education, international students who are studying in the USA contribute around $21 billion annually to the nation’s economy.
Although this income is quite substantial and can help schools in various ways, David Hawkins, the direct of public policy at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, sees a way that it could influence and change higher education in the USA forever.
“We’re in something akin to the gold rush, a frontier-style environment where colleges and universities, like prospectors in the 1800s, realize that there is gold out there,” Hawkins said. “While it’s the admissions offices butting up against the issues most right now, every department after them, every faculty member who comes into contact with international students, is going to have to recalibrate as institutions become more international. I see a cascading list of challenges.”
Something that Hawkins might not have thought about on his list of challenges is that if the foreign students are attending schools in the USA, where are the American students supposed to attend school?
“My constituents want a slot for their kid,” said Reuven Carlyle, a state representative from Seattle. “I hear it at the grocery store every day, and I’ve got four young kids myself, so I get it. We are struggling with capacity, access, and affordability.”
However, Carlyle still feels like the influx of foreign students is a good thing.
“But international engagement is part of our state’s DNA,” he continued. “We have a special economic and social relationship with China, and I am happy to have so many Chinese students at the university.”
Not everyone agrees with him.
“Morally, I feel the university should accept in-state students first, then other American students, then international students,” said Farheen Siddiqui, a freshman who is from Renton, Washington. “When I saw all the stories about U.W. taking more international students, I though ‘Damn, I’m a minority now for being in-state.'”
What do you think about this issue? Should schools be accepting more international students than local students or is that a bad idea? Tell us your opinion in the comments section below.
Via The New York Times
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