Release Date: September 13, 2013
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo has, since the late 1990s, actively recruited international students with more determination, enthusiasm and success than most other American educational institutions.
International students are key to efforts to globalize the university, enriching the experiences of all students and preparing them to navigate in an increasingly diverse world — a strategy reflected in Realizing UB 2020, the next phase of the university’s strategic plan.
“We believe our students should be adept at recognizing possibilities for their lives in the global context,” says Charles F. Zukoski, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “A thoughtful, coordinated, long-term global engagement strategy will leverage UB’s considerable global assets — partnerships, off-shore education programs, collaborative research and service endeavors — to advance the university’s institutional mission and overall engagement efforts.”
UB remains a leader in international enrollment. The university this fall has enrolled approximately 1,880 new international students — 555 undergraduate and 1,325 graduate students — the largest number of new international enrollees in its history. This increase comes despite economic and political problems abroad, largely because of the university’s strong recruitment effort and the reputation it has developed overseas — especially in Asia.
These new students bring the university’s 2013 international enrollment to approximately 5,200, an increase of more than 440 students and the largest total number of international students in UB’s history. International students now make up slightly more than 17 percent of enrolled students, up from 15.19 percent last fall, according to Stephen Dunnett, vice provost for international education.
Through good times and bad, despite wars, overseas political and economic catastrophes, and periods of problematic U.S. economic and immigration policies, UB’s astute international admissions and recruitment team has served the university and the community well.
International students are a boon because they pay almost three times the tuition paid by in-state students, and they contributed more than $108.4 million to the local economy last year alone.
“Of course, the impact of international students at UB is far more than financial,” Dunnett says. “They play a key role in diversifying our student body and enriching the cultural life of our campus.
“They serve to internationalize UB by bringing their distinctive backgrounds, experiences and perspectives to the campus conversation, and they thereby exert a vital influence on our domestic students, encouraging them to learn about other cultures and pursue international experiences of their own through study abroad and other opportunities available at UB.”
Dunnett says that this year, as in past years, international students are enrolled largely in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), as well as management.
“This fall,” he says, “the largest number of new students are from India, followed by China, Korea, Turkey, Canada, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Vietnam and the Netherlands. There has also been a notable increase in the number of students from Iran and from Vietnam, which has a strong emerging economy and remains very pro-American, despite everything.
“UB appeals to Indian students because there continues to be a high demand for STEM graduates in India but it is difficult for students to gain access to the best Indian universities. Also, in India, UB has long been seen as offering a high-quality education at a reasonable price, which appeals to the growing Indian middle class,” he says.
“In fact, for these reasons, students from nearly 80 countries chose UB this year,” Dunnett says. “Many, no doubt, also were attracted by the possible passage of the Staple Act, which would offer STEM students a green card upon graduation, something already offered by other countries.”
The sources of UB’s international students reflect the university’s targeted recruitment efforts, made possible because unlike many universities, UB has a dedicated international recruitment, admissions and student orientation offices, directed by Joe Hindrawan, Raymond Lew, Steven Shaw and Ellen Dussourd.
“Our recruitment efforts also are aided greatly by our international alumni who, incidentally, were very impressed and energized by UB President Satish Tripathi’s recent visits to our overseas alumni chapters. They are working harder than ever to recruit new students on our behalf,” he notes.
Members of UB’s international recruitment staff already are overseas to begin 2014 recruitment activities in India and Latin America, Dunnett adds.