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UCIE to pursue new international recruitment strategies

Lucas Gonzalez, News Editor

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Wright State’s University Center for International Education (UCIE) is looking to update its recruitment strategy for international students. This announcement was made in a presentation delivered by Bill Holmes, associate vice president for international affairs, at a recent faculty senate meeting.

One goal identified by Holmes during the meeting was to be more on-par with national demographics, which Wright State currently is not.

As it stands, the top four countries of origin for international students at Wright State are India, Saudi Arabia, China and Kuwait. The majority of the students from those top four countries are sponsored – in other words, they are paid to study here.

Out of the university’s entire international student population. Roughly 29 percent of those students are sponsored, and 22 percent come through agents, or people that the university pays to recruit students.

The sponsoring agencies are in decline, particularly in Saudi Arabia. Wright State is roughly 30 percent reliant on the Saudi cultural mission, according to Holmes. “That means we have an over-reliance on a sponsoring agency that we know is ramping down their funding,” he said.

About 48 percent of international students have elected themselves to study at Wright State – less than half. The remaining 1.44 percent are coming through degree completion programs, referred to as ‘academic pipelines.’

Academic pipelines work by allowing students to complete a given amount of years at a college in their home country and some years at a U.S. college. They are “much more sustainable over time and require a university-to-university commitment of some sort,” Holmes said in his presentation.

These numbers indicate that the majority of the university’s international students are coming to Wright State either because they are paid to, or because they are recruited through agents – not because they chose to themselves. “We have no diversity across the campus academically,” said Holmes. “We have most of the degrees that students come to the United States for – they’re just not coming here.”

A major goal of UCIE for future years is to have about 20 percent of international students come through academic pipelines, and to see the number of elective students increase to 75 percent to 80 percent, according to Holmes.

Furthermore, the disproportionate amount of international graduate students would hopefully reverse, with undergraduate students eventually making up about 60 percent of the international student population.

Achieving these goals would of course involve scarce resources: time and money. “It’s going to be a big job for everyone,”  said Holmes. “[UCIE] works with communications and marketing [and] will be working with faculty across the disciplines…we can’t afford to sit back anymore and wait.”

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Wright State University
UCIE to pursue new international recruitment strategies