An increasing number of foreign students are applying to American universities mainly because of the growth of the upper-class in China and scholarships from oil-rich Gulf states. With American public universities short on money, the option to recruit and accept students from abroad is extremely appealing, considering the premium international students pay compared to in-state students. The higher-paying international students fundamentally subsidize in-state students. As a result, foreign students are essential for modern public universities’ monetary survival.
The fact that competitive admission offers are extended to international students for financial benefits is unnerving to some. For example, the Chinese undergraduate population at Michigan State University is eight times what it was nine years ago. Tension is spreading with the idea that money is spent on foreign students rather than domestic students, but some universities are taking action to limit this problem. The University of California schools recently declared their intent to cap the percent of foreign and out-of-state undergraduate students at 22%.
Others argue that more international students add to a diverse student body more conducive to a learning environment. This way, universities benefit economically and socially. The University of Colorado Boulder aims to boost international acceptance in the next few years from 6.5% to 10%. Scholars express that attracting international students is an integral factor in U.S. geopolitical interests. By spreading U.S values, foreign graduates regularly become “agents of soft power” when they go back to their native country. With a 14% increase in foreign students over the last year, and 85% more than in 2005, the U.S. can prepare to see a continued increase in foreign students.