This week’s reading delved more into the complications associated with the growing importance of internationalization and the competition amongst nations. As we learned last week, instead of every country developing their own policies and programs, there should be a form of equity, quality, and accountability. Currently, each nation is fixated on quantity, instead of quality, regardless of the financial burden they may be encountering. I don’t find this surprising since higher education institutions have been striving toward this goal internally. State contributions for American Colleges and institutions are slowly dwindling and these institutions feel the need to get as many students enrolled to generate money from their tution. Hence, student success takes the backburner and it becomes more about filling seats. According to Reisberg (2016), institutions are more attracted to international students because they cannot qualify for federal or state aid and usually pay majority of the costs of tuition, housing, and other expenses. Plus they can charge them more fees for being out-of-country students. But, what about the international students who cannot afford it? Is it fair that they would be robbed of an opportunity to study abroad in an anticipated country because money trumps a students’ chance to address global problems?
American institutions are now considering methods to increase retention and develop assessment tools to help them determine if a student learned. But how can students be assessed if there isn’t a common goal. Even K-12 has been struggling for years, tinkering with policies to measure a student’s growth, but has encountered failure. The reading mentioned failure is expected when trying new policies, but how long should these policies be in force before we realize it isn’t working? Should they be long term or short term? How can we measure the success of study abroad programs if every country doesn’t agree on its key factors? In what way should the following be prioritized across the board: workforce development, mutual understanding, global citizenship, national security, and improving higher education quality?
One aspect that stood out to me during the reading was that the U. S. A. is one of two countries that practices internationalization at home, meaning it is infused within its curriculum. Since Junior High School we have all been expected/required to take a foreign language. Although I have taken Spanish classes since the 6th grade, I am nowhere close to carrying on a conversation with an individual fluent in the language. Therein lies the oversight that a country cannot provide such a small portion of one culture and except proficiency. At the same time, you cannot place an international student with a difference experience, value system, and background in a class, without the proper resources and support, and expect them to acclimate abruptly without conflict. In order to achieve unity and harmony, support is necessary. Support not only from faculty and staff, but the country housing foreign students need to align policies and laws such as immigration and citizenship with the strategic plans of internationalization. If not, study abroad because a lose-lose situation for foreign students.

Adia Johnson

Posted in W1

6 thoughts on “W3: Lose-Lose for Foreign Students

  1. Adia ,

    I could not agree more with your stance on this topic, Quality is majorly overlooked in terms of higher education. I feel that it should not be the case. Instead of colleges looking to get better rankings they should actually look to educate students better , which may in turn actually shorten the gap between wealthy and those with a low socioeconomic status .
    With that said i can also see as to why quantity is a primary goal , and that is because quality cannot be measured, its not tangible evidence that the higher education program is working .
    Yet i still think that rankings should not be an arms race, the whole point of internationalization is to gather info and learn from each other of how to make positive changes to the world.

  2. Hi Aida,

    To add to your comment regarding ineligibility for financial support, I agree that it is unfair for students that cannot afford high tuition rates. I wonder if there is some type of gap that can be bridged for international students before they commit to a college. International students are dreamers’ who take a leap of faith that in turn may cause a tremendous financial hardship. On a national level, institutions are “robbing” students because the U.S government has not changed policies around immigration (which allows colleges to put forth high tuition rates for international students). Regardless of this, some states have also tried to bridge this gap of cost by grating in-state rates after one year of residency.

    To comment on quality “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” -Albert Einstein. I agree that quality is hard to measure. Reisberg (2013) also pointed out in her article “Measuring Quality and Performance: What Counts?” that some way to measure quality is by knowing what counts (or what the colleges believes leads to student success). Some examples used were: “repayment and default rates on student loans, student progression and completion, institutional cost per degree, employment of graduates and student learning” (Reisberg, 2013). I think every institution should be responsible for measuring and researching their student success as part of a longitudinal study

  3. While I am in agreement that it is expensive for an international student to pursue study in the US, I have to dispute the claim that they are charged higher tuition. At public institutions such as Baruch (CUNY) and FIT (SUNY), a student from China is paying the same tuition as a student from New Jersey. At private institutions such as NYU and Columbia, there is one tuition rate regardless of residence (links are below). When calculating the federal, state and institutional benefits available to US students, the net tuition paid can be much lower, but I would not equate this with international students being billed more by institutions.

    Where it can be costly for international students are the fees paid for the student visa and accompanying benefits- this is due to Immigration Services being funded by fees vs taxpayer dollars. Also, to qualify for a student visa, they must show that they have the liquid funds to cover a years expenses. Add to this the differences in exchange rates, which in most cases to do work in their favor, and a higher education experience in the US becomes costly.

    Allison Olly


  4. Hi Adia,

    I agree that the topic of quality and support is very important in developing policies on internationalization in higher education. Unfortunately, in today’s environment, rankings and numbers seem to be more important that the actual outcomes of the programs and policies in the long term. Moreover, given that some of these internationalization policies are new and still difficult to access, higher education institutions around the world focus on being the top ranked in order to attract more students and donors. On the other hand, it is also wrong to judge institutions based on these choices. According to the report by European Association for International Education, Measuring success in the internationalization of higher education, “The ranking and the measurement of success in internationalization could therefore be viewed as two complimentary forces. The higher the ranking, the easier it is to recruit talented international staff and students” (P.45). So, can we blame individual institutions for focusing more on numbers and rankings rather than quality and accountability, or do we try to find a way to fix the system that has become largely dependent on the rankings to drive popularity, student choices and philanthropy?


  5. I whole-heartedly agree that without the proper services, the benefits of a more diverse community at an institution are not spontaneously reaped. And I think it’s not just with international students, but with diversity of the local students as well in the US. There does not always exists resources to bring different communities and subcultures together to increase knowledge and exposure of the students.
    It’s also interesting how different countries treat their international students (whether short-term or long-term study abroad). I was talking to an exchange student from Hong Kong just last week and comparing our experiences, since I had studied abroad at her home institution a few years back. Although it was not surprising to me to learn that Baruch was not able to provide her with the class she needed for her minor since there was not room, she was surprised. She told me that if any exchange student really needed a class at her home institution, they would make it happen. She was disappointed to learn that Baruch did not respond in the same manner. Although I told her that depending on what the class was, Baruch probably would not do that for its own students much less exchange students. The US definitely needs more improvement to fully realize the benefits of a more diverse student body both to the students and faculty and the institution itself.

  6. Your point “instead of every country developing their own policies and programs, there should be a form of equity, quality, and accountability” is about what I think the system of University of Philippines is trying to make, they have internationalization written into their mandate and they take policies that they like from other nations and formalize them to fit their needs. I like that they do this, and it protects their students should they want to venture out and learn in different countries.
    Higher education as lost sight that the students are top priority and they deserve the best education, they are now focused on filled seating, not making sure that once these seats are filled, the students have something of sustenance to gain. Your point about having taken Spanish since 6th grade but not being close to carrying on a conversation also proves that this is true for the k-12 educational system as well. While there are efforts to improve student learning within the US, there are far more efforts to attract students blindly with no real regards for their educational outcomes.

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