U of M responds to rise in Chinese undergraduate enrollment

Updated: 2015-01-02 06:26

By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York(China Daily USA)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Like many colleges in the US, the University of Minnesota is experiencing a surge in the enrollment of Chinese and Asian students. To help its faculty and staff work more effectively with the students, the school has hired a Chinese counselor.

"We have a staff member with expertise in counseling who also speaks the language (Mandarin) so they can communicate clearly with the students. This helps our faculty and staff better understand the students to help them get the most out of their experience at Minnesota," Barbara Kappler, associate dean of international student and scholar services told China Daily.

The numbers show the remarkable surge in enrollment of Chinese students at U of M, a state school. In 2006, just 25 Chinese undergrads were on campus, according to university data. In 2013, of the 2,613 foreign undergrads about half, or 1,337, were from China, according to Kappler.

"Our foreign graduate enrollment has been consistent," said Kappler. "The big growth has come in the undergraduate students." She said the university began to aggressively recruit foreign students in 2006.

Rising enrollment of foreign students in the US - particularly Chinese - can be found on many US college campuses. The 2014 Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange by the Institute for International Education shows that the number of international students attending US universities or colleges increased 8 percent during the 2013/14 academic year to 883,052. Approximately 274,439 or 31 percent came from China, an increase of 16.5 percent from a year earlier.

Kappler said most of the Chinese students favor programs in science, engineering and business. Foreign undergrads pay higher tuition than in-state students. According to the university's website, tuition for Minnesota residents is $13,626; out-of-state and foreign students pay $20,876.

"Foreign students are not eligible for financial aid other than specific scholarship programs," said Kappler.

With over 60,000 students, the university is one of largest in the US. "Our large physical campus can be daunting even for students from Minnesota," said Kappler. "Still, we think our size also offers some advantages. For example students are able to participate in research projects on the undergraduate level."

U of M is an urban campus in the heart of the Twin Cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul. "Our students seem to prefer an urban setting with access to a city and all that a city has to offer. Despite the size, our students find a way to make the university a community," she said.

The University of Minnesota has extensive history with Chinese students. "U of M has hosted Chinese students for 100 years," said Kappler.

The school also has the China Center, which was established in 1979 to manage the University of Minnesota's exchanges with China.