Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Study: Number of Foreign Students in U.S. Decreasing

Fewer international students are matriculating at schools in the United States for college education, according to a survey released last week, but Georgetown administrators insist that the university remains a magnet for foreign students.

According to the report, released by the American Council on Education, more international students are leaving the United States and opting to study in countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan.

Dao Luu, a co-author of the report, said that 2002 was a peak year for international student enrollment in the United States, with more than 568,000 foreign students enrolled. Last year, that number had declined to just over 565,000, the first decline of international students in the United States after 30 years of growth.

Luu said that a growing sense of anti-Americanism abroad and the difficulties that confront foreign students in obtaining visas are possible reasons why some students are choosing not to attend college in the United States.

Farah El-Sharif (SFS ’09), who is from Jordan, said that security measures implemented after Sept. 11, 2001 have made attending school in the United States more difficult.

“Perhaps a student would rather pursue a local education over going through a humiliating, prolonged random check at a Homeland Security desk in the airport,” El-Sharif said.

Georgetown, which has long held a prominent place as an internationally-oriented university, bucked the national trend, with international enrollment remaining strong.

Sandra Layton, associate director of international student and scholar services, said the international student population at Georgetown has increased over the past five years, from 1,374 students in 2000 to 1,648 in the fall of 2005.

Kathryn Timlin, assistant director of admissions, said that there has not been a decline in foreign applicants to Georgetown, and last year’s foreign applicant pool was very strong. She said that 87 students from the Class of 2010 applied for a visa through the Office of International Programs, and that well over 100 have home addresses outside the United States, including American citizens living abroad.

Timlin said that the admissions office makes a strong effort to promote the university abroad, which she said was responsible for high international enrollment at Georgetown. She said that representatives from the university travel to countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America to attract international students.

“We do not have target numbers or quotas with regard to international students,” Timlin said. “But we want to maintain an international mix.”

Adam Go (MSB ’07), who was born and raised in the Philippines, said that he thought he would be able to get a better education at an American university.

“Georgetown has a prestigious reputation in the Philippines, even more so than other quality colleges,” Go said. “[Georgetown’s] name and brand seems to have extended much better internationally,” he said.

Other foreign students feel that Georgetown’s lack of a strong financial aid program was a prime problem for international students.

Katerina Doughty (MSB ’07), originally from the Czech Republic, said that she had to take out an $80,000 loan to finance her education after she was found ineligible for financial aid. She said that if Georgetown hopes to attract more foreign students, the university should increase the amount of financial aid given to international students.

El-Sharif said that she feared she may not be able to graduate because of a lack of financial help from Georgetown.

“I find it rather ironic that a university like Georgetown University takes so much pride in its international student body and yet obviously fails at aiding those students financially,” she said.

Many international students said that OIP and Georgetown’s International Pre-Orientation are assisting in other areas, such as helping students adjust to life outside their home country.

Gary Khoeng (MSB ’07), who is from Indonesia, said that IPO helped him adapt to life in the United States and Washington, D.C., in particular. He said that overall he would rate his experience at Georgetown “a 10 on a scale of one to 10.”

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