ISU Headlines

ISU has record enrollment of international students

Posted October 1, 2007

In spite of a difficult world market for international student recruitment to the United States, Idaho State University has broken its previous record for international student fall enrollment, reported Susanne Forrest, ISU director of international recruitment.

ISU had 378 international students from 73 countries attending classes on the 10th day of fall semester and the number is growing. To compare, 290 students from foreign countries attended ISU in fall 2002.

“This kind of increase would have been impossible were it not for the positive impact the ELS Language Center that opened in Pocatello has had on our campus,” said Forrest, who recently returned from sabbatical leave during which she studied the competitiveness of European universities in the international student market.

ELS opened its doors on the ISU campus in April of 2005 and has since allowed ISU to attract students it would otherwise not have been able to reach, particularly students who do not have the required English proficiency at the time of application although they meet academic admissions requirements. Since April 2005, more than 40 students have enrolled at ISU as a result of ELS’s presence on campus, Forrest said. Most of the students hail from Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia. Some students just want a short one- or two-semester experience abroad while others stay for a degree program.

“The presence of ELS students on our campus has certainly increased our student diversity,” said Shawn Bascom, interim coordinator for ISU international programs and services.

One particular program, the Saudi Scholarship Program sponsored by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has made a major impact on ISU’s enrollment.

“ISU could not have participated in the recruitment of these fully scholarshipped students if we had not had ELS on campus for their English preparation,” Forrest noted.

All of the students in this program need intensive English preparation before they can qualify for full admission. Currently, for example, 19 students from Saudi Arabia are enrolled via ELS at ISU to pursue bachelor degrees. Interestingly, many of the students are able to test into English 101 before they even complete the ELS program.

“Of course, all of these students are still most ably assisted by ISU’s ESOL Program in the Center for Teaching and Learning,” Forrest said. “Without this excellent support service for all students whose first language is not English, we would not have the excellent retention rate we enjoy among international students.”

ISU international students continue to make a positive cultural impact on the campus with the myriad of cultural evenings and events they offer in addition to just simply adding to classroom diversity. Coming up this fall are International Night on Oct. 20 and India Night on Nov. 10. International Education Week, featuring a variety of events, will take place Nov. 12-16. The top 10 countries represented at ISU this fall and their respective number of students are India, 62;  Nepal, 42; Peoples Republic of China, 28; Saudi Arabia, 19; Kenya, 17; Canada, 16;  Japan, 15; Ghana, 12; Pakistan, 11; and Taiwan, 10.

For more information, contact Forrest at forrsusa@isu.edu or (208) 282-2963.