I chose to focus on the section in the reading pertaining to student mobility as I take a personal initiative in these programs and hope to work in a study abroad or for a student exchange program after completing my masters. I was excited to see the scholarship programs available in the US to international students choosing to study in the United States and particularly happy about the graduate student scholarships, as I wonder if a higher percentage of these students wish to stay and work in the US after receiving their graduate degree. However, I do know only a small percentage of international students receive scholarships and due to the high sticker price international students must pay and their ineligibility to apply for financial aid, studying in the US seems out of reach for many international students.
While reading this document, its clear that the process of internationalization in the US is very segmented, with the government supporting some initiatives, each college and university having very different policies and programs, and influence from non-governmental agencies. Much of the scholarship initiatives for inbound students are only funded by the State Department; however, the scholarship programs for outbound students are much more robust, with funding from the State Department, the National Security Education Program, and the Paul Simon Study Abroad Act which provides $80 million per year for study abroad to individuals and institutions. In addition to these governmental funding of scholarships, I did some research on private and non-profit organizations that offer funding for students wanting to study abroad. NAFSA provides a list of search engines to use and the Institute of International Education (IIE) provides and entire search engine website specifically for IIEPassport Study Abroad Funding. According to the Institute of International Education, a total of 304,467 students studied abroad for academic credit in the 2013-2014 academic year. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 17.5 million undergraduate students at postsecondary degree granting institutions in the United States in the Fall of 2013. If these numbers are accurate, that equates to approximately 2% of the entire undergraduate population who is actually “mobile” and successfully studying overseas. President Obama’s 100,000 Strong initiatives: one from 2009 which aimed to have a national effort to increase the number of students studying in China and another in 2011 which had the goal of doubling student mobility (both inbound and outbound) between the US and Latin America and the Caribbean. The former program was originally housed by the State Department but now is an independent foundation. The second program is a collaboration between the State Department and NAFSA- Association of International Educators and Partners of the Americas. I had not previously heard of these initiatives, so I continued to investigate and it looks like President Obama’s goal was reached in 2014, when 100,000 US students studied in China that year. In addition, there was a 5% increase in Americans studying in China last year and a 23% increase in Chines students studying in the US last year. I think these are amazing statistics and proof that a program like this, coming from the President, has the power to reach big goals in only a few short years. While the document talks about whether an overarching national policy would be truly effective in advancing internationalization in the US, I think this example proves that it may help more than we think. I think to successfully increase the overall percentage of mobile students, collaboration from the government, non-profit organizations and the colleges themselves is essential.