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Rutgers sees steady rise in number of international students over past 5 years

<p>After New Jersey repealed a law which penalized Rutgers for having international students, but after 2011, Rutgers has steadily increased the number of students from overseas.</p>

After New Jersey repealed a law which penalized Rutgers for having international students, but after 2011, Rutgers has steadily increased the number of students from overseas.

Throughout the last few years, the diversity of the Rutgers community has increased significantly due to a continual rise in the number of international students at the school.

In 2011, the incoming undergraduate class for Rutgers—New Brunswick had 226 international students. The incoming undergraduate class in 2016 has jumped to a total of 790 international students.

Courtney McAnuff, the vice president of enrollment management, explained several causes for the recent and significant increase in students.

“Until about six years ago, the State of New Jersey penalized Rutgers $6,000 for every out-of-state student that was enrolled,” McAnuff said.

This financial penalty limited the number of international students admitted despite the high demand. When the toll was finally lifted, Rutgers started recruiting more out-of-state and international students, McAnuff said.

The international and out-of-state enrollment of the student population has increased from about 6 percent in 2011 to 17 percent in 2016, McAnuff said.

After the removal of the fine, Rutgers started to actively reach out to and recruit international students.

“We have recruited (international students) more aggressively in the last six years,” McAnuff said. “We’ve recruited to about 22 countries and this past summer Rutgers hosted 1,500 international high school counselors for a day.”

McAnuff said word-of-mouth is the University’s best recruiter.

“We can say and do anything we want but if the students have a great experience, they feel welcome, they feel like they fit in, they don’t feel isolated, ignored, or singled-out because of their culture or race here at Rutgers, that is the message that will be spread around," he said. 

The academic reputation of Rutgers is strong and the location is convenient, he said. 

"The diversity of Rutgers is a huge draw for some people,” McAnuff said. “It doesn’t matter what country you come from, there are people from your area at Rutgers and there are nearby places of worship or places to buy food.”

Vivek Ananthanarayanan, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, came to Rutgers from Hyderabad, India. He said he heard about Rutgers through family and friends who previously attended Rutgers.

The size of Rutgers appealed to Ananthanarayanan, he said. 

"I wanted the opportunity to meet as many people as possible. And with a campus this huge, every person you meet is unique in their own way and have their own story,” he said. “The diversity of this campus makes each day interesting because you never know who you're going to meet.”

Gaurav Lagadapati, a Rutgers Business School first-year student, also came from India to study at Rutgers. 

The reputation of the Rutgers Business School and its location attracted him, he said. 

“I chose this university over other ones because as a business major I found that the business school has a very good rank,” he said. “It’s closer to New York and I want to be a finance major, and a lot of the big banks and Wall Street, they’re all in New York so it’s nice being relatively close to that.”

McAnuff said there are many advantages to having a more diverse college population.

Students are able to learn from different opinions and viewpoints when they are part of a diverse classroom, he said.

“I think you become a much better consumer and a much better person to hire when you’re able to work with different people,” he said.

Rutgers' diversity is also the reason students are a favorable choice for job recruiters, he said.

“(Students) are not from the homogenous community. They know how to live, work and negotiate with people that are different from them. And generally, Rutgers students are supportive of others’ viewpoints," he said.

In terms of further increase in the proportion of international students, eventually the admittance will need to be capped, McAnuff said.

“While we really want a diverse student body, there can’t be unlimited growth of international students," he said. “Our primary obligation is to serve the citizens of the state of New Jersey and make sure there are spaces for Jersey students.”

Madhuri Bhupathiraju is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in cell biology and neuroscience. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @madhuri448 for more

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