After enduring a big dent following the Nine Eleven attacks, the University of Iowa’s program for international students has recovered — and set a new enrollment landmark.
Scott King, director of the U-of-I’s Office of International Students and Scholars, says they’ll have a record of more than 650 new students from other countries on the Iowa City campus this fall. King says the largest numbers are coming from China, South Korea and India.
King says, "Even though the economies have been hit really hard, especially in South Korea, this is an expense that families are willing to pay for and have actually saved for many, many years for their children."
International students at the U-of-I this fall hail from 57 countries, from Australia to Zimbabwe. King says Iowa has a lot to offer students from around the globe.
"We have excellent programs, we’ve got a good world reputation," King says. "We also have the advantage of being in a smaller community which is a lot less expensive for living. Compare us to some of the educational hubs like Washington, Boston, San Francisco. Living here is a bargain."
In the months after the 2001 terrorist attacks, it became very difficult for some people to enter the U.S. and the U-of-I program saw a dip in its international numbers. King says things have greatly improved since then.
"The U.S. government’s a lot more comfortable in issuing visas," King says. "Two or three years ago at a meeting with university presidents, then-President Bush and Secretary Rice agreed to give student visas priority in the visa system and not only did they promised it but it actually happened and is working well."
The fall, the U-of-I’s crop of international students includes about 400 new undergrads and more than 250 graduate students. The number of undergraduate international students has more than doubled since 2007. It brings the overall international student population at Iowa to nearly 2,500.