- Enrollment of international students at Big Ten institutions has outpaced the national international student enrollment average, 74% to 56%, since 2008, according to a recent Forbes analysis.
- Experts say high rankings and well-branded research have positioned Big Ten schools for international appeal, even as undergraduate tuition costs for non-resident students more than doubles that of fees for resident students.
- Chinese students are the largest group of international entrants into Big Ten schools, but some wonder if the explosion of non-resident attendance is sustainable with increasing needs for cultural and economic accommodations to make the students feel welcomed on campus.
Big Ten institutions combined to spend more than $10 billion in research in 2014, an indication of the universities' commitment to vital elements of recruiting and retaining international students, research stipends, teaching assistantships and scholarships. Diversity may be an issue of interest for many campuses, but at the heart of diversity concerns are the increased chances for positive institutional metrics in job placement, graduation rates and innovation, which result from strong international outreach attracting a larger pool of students able to pay for the experience.
But if nationally funded international study, such as the Saudi Arabia program, lose funding in the wake of economic slowdown, colleges will have to quickly adjust to the new realities of enrollment and budgeting; just as many smaller institutions with a predominantly American student body have done.