Colleges across the country are reporting increased enrollment among international students — with the biggest increase coming from China. That’s certainly the case at both the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.
U-of-I Admissions Director Michael Barron says just two years ago, there were 69 Chinese undergraduate students at the University of Iowa. This spring semester, there are 491.
“In general, international students applying to the University of Iowa are up and China is certainly a major driving force,” Barron said. “I will say there’s a noticable interest among Chinese students in business administration.”
More than 1,400 Chinese applied for admission at the U-of-I this year. Iowa State University’s Chinese undergraduate enrollment, at 876, is nearly twice the size of the University of Iowa. I.S.U. Assistant Admissions Director Pat Parker says Iowa State had only 72 students from China eight years ago. According to Parker, many of the Chinese students attending ISU are studying accounting, finance and English. Chinese enrollment at universities in the U.S. is booming for a variety of reasons.
“There’s quite a large middle class now in China,” Parker said. “They consider education to be very important and the U.S. Government has made a real effort in the last four to five years in making obtaining the visa a little easier for those people.”
But Parker admits universities looking for student diversity and out-of-state revenue aren’t leaving a Chinese student’s choice to chance. Iowa State, for example, has two full-time undergraduate recruiters who travel the world meeting with parents and potential new students.