Over the last couple of years, I have observed a significant increase in number of International Students enrolling at my institution. As a publicly funded community college, at first I wondered why someone would come so far to attend someplace so small. In order to understand the rationale for this decision, it is important to understand the different categories of international students.
Of course, the biggest factor was cost. Though my institution offers affordable tuition to residents, the tuition for international students is triple. Additionally, international students (depending on the type of VISA) may not be eligible for federal financial aid. Also, as mentioned in our reading this week, loans and scholarship support is limited (p. 111) Additional costs may ensue if one considers travel (to and from home country); the costs to uproot family; costs to have international transcripts translated, living expenses and the list goes on. I agreed and observed much of what was discussed in the reading this week as it relates to SEVIS and assisting international students access funding sources.
But I thought out textbook lacked sufficient information of generation 1.5 students (students born to international parents-commonly English Second language learners educated in the US) and undocumented students. Recently I attended a program that discussed the challenges of these two populations and it was eye-opening to me as a student affairs practitioner. Not only are undocumented students unable to financial aid, they frequently cannot apply to college at all for fear of being deported. New federal mandates are permitting these students to attend college but this is a fairly new program. In regards to gen 1.5, at my institution students that entered and were educated in the United States after 6th grade are commonly enrolled in ESL course (undocumented and documented). I've spoken to several of these students. They don't want to be isolated in ESL classes and many are eager to assimilate.
I noticed that the readings this week focused on engagement. And though I believe in taking a holistic approach to student affairs, it is really hard to get students engaged in anything when money is the issue.