October 20, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers international students earn more graduate degrees than most Big Ten competitors

Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez |

In the Fall of 2015, more than 6,000 international students were enrolled at the University from 117 different countries. These numbers are subject to change as pressure from travel bans, crackdowns on immigration and visa applications persist.

Rutgers is comprised of students from more than 120 countries, making international students a large and influential demographic in the Rutgers community.

Urmi Otiv, the director of Rutgers Global-International Student and Scholar Services, said that many of the international graduate students at Rutgers work as teaching and research assistants, especially in STEM fields. 

Otiv said this is important because their engagement brings diverse perspectives to various departments.

Several studies have been conducted, showing how international students play a significant role in the financial growth of their universities, communities and in the U.S. economy, she said. 

“The latest analysis from the Association of International Educators or NAFSA finds that the 1,078,822 international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities contributed $36.9 billion and supported more than 450,000 jobs to the U.S. economy during the 2016-2017 academic year,” Otiv said.

The three leading countries of origin for international students are China —  where over half of all the international students originate — India and South Korea, according to a report released by Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services.

In a report done in the International Student Census Open Doors Survey in the Fall of 2015, more than 6,000 international students were enrolled in Rutgers University—New Brunswick and represented 117 countries from across the globe. In the Big Ten Academic Alliance, Rutgers had the 10th largest number of enrolled international students. 

Otiv said the current political climate, recent travel bans and crackdowns on immigration and visa applications have all had a direct impact on the influx of international students and scholars on all campuses in America.

“The buzz on most U.S. campuses is that the new international students are worried about visa issues, changes in employment regulations and feeling unwelcome due to the current political climate," Otiv said. "To address these anxieties, American colleges and universities have come together to make students feel welcome through a marketing and social media campaign featuring the message, 'You Are Welcome Here.'” 

Otiv said that the Fall 2016 Open Doors report released by the Institute of International Education (IIE) confirmed that there was only a 3 percent decrease in the overall enrollment number of international students in the United States from the previous year and that Rutgers—New Brunswick had an 8 percent increase in the same period.

Recently, The Daily Targum reported that Rutgers is increasing out-of-state admissions as the tuition from those students will make up for in-state budget cuts.

Rutgers receives out-of-state students primarily from California, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Illinois. Rutgers is also admitting less first-year students every year to combat the overpopulation, according to the same article. 

“American students who do not have the chance to travel abroad and experience the world, can take the opportunity to interact and learn from these students in the comfort of their own campuses," Otiv said. "It’s a win-win for both student groups. There is no doubt that students who make the time to interact across cultures with an open mind and challenge their own existing belief and value system, will have a positive world view and a richer set of life skills.”

Samil Tabani

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