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Foreign Students are a Booming University Business

April 21, 2016
Plain English Version
Students from 35 countries at the University of Idaho.

Students from 35 countries at the University of Idaho.

Students coming to America from foreign countries are big business. Big business that is, for the schools that recruit them. It also a growing chance for brokers to make a killing. The brokers call themselves consultants. Their job is to find and bring foreign students to U.S. colleges.

The demand for foreign students is high. First, states have cut back on their funding of state schools. Second, the students pay out-of-state tuition rates. That means they put more money into the schools’ coffers.

The brokers are in countries such as India and China. They get a commission. It takes place when there is a successful placement at a U.S. school. Their tactics are not soft sell. It is like some auto ads: “No job, no money, no credit? Do not worry; we have a car for you.”

They pressure the students. They say their chances are better if they apply right away. One ad said the student would get a“letter [of admission] in one day.”

One ensuing problem is academic. The students are often not performing up to U.S. standards. One reason is language. Another is the different ways of learning at home.

Relations in the community are not always smooth. Take the University of Idaho. It is in the city of Pocatello. Some students are from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.  They are Muslims.  They complain thieves are robbing their apartments.  They say people are vandalizing their cars.

It is a clash of cultures. People in the town noted that the students were racing their cars through town. They ignore local laws. They were also littering.

It could be fear of Muslims. Or it could be hostility to strangers who are different. Some robberies took place when students were at a mosque.

Schools say they are going global. Critics say the schools are just following the money.

Source: The New York Times April 19, 2016

Send comments and questions to editor@newsinplainenglish.com 

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