The number of Chinese students on campus increased 24 percent this year, from 641 last year to 793 this year, setting a new record for the University in Chinese student enrollment. John Mahoney, director for undergraduate admissions, and Adrienne Nussbaum, assistant dean and director of the Office of International Students and Scholars, attributed a variety of factors to this growth.
“This year’s increase in enrollment from China is largely driven by a three percentage point increase in freshman yield over last year,” Mahoney said in an email. “While this was unexpected, we’re pleased that such strong students from China are recognizing the quality of a Boston College education.”
Additionally, Nussbaum explained that Chinese undergraduates did not commonly come to the United States in the past. But a few years ago, the country started to encourage students seeking undergraduate educations in the U.S. and began offering for students to take the SAT.
Most American colleges, including BC, have seen a significant increase in applications from China over the past five to 10 years. BC, however, has not changed its recruiting methods as its enrollment of Chinese students has grown.
One added benefit of international students’ attending BC as undergraduates is that they are required to pay full tuition. But Nussbaum emphasized that the University doesn’t use international students’ tuition to supplement aid to other students, as she believes other institutions do to meet their budgeting requirements. She also explained that BC’s Global Engagement Committee, a group dedicated to increasing the University’s international presence, has discussed proposing giving limited financial aid to undergraduate international students.
But to accommodate increasing the number of international students on campus, BC would have to offer more resources and training programs to support them, as not all faculty and staff are equipped with proper cultural competency techniques.
“The whole University is trying to be more of an international institution, so we have to ask what that means for everybody on campus,” Nussbaum said.
She also discussed the importance of diversifying BC’s international undergraduate student population, citing the need for a “back up” if their enrollment rate were to decrease dramatically. She believes BC should source more students from Latin America and the Middle East.
“It’s not practical or wise to have the majority of your international students come from one country,” she said. “They could have an economic decline, something could happen politically, or a natural disaster could occur—it’s not a good idea to have all of your eggs in one basket.”
Mahoney also noted that yields on high-quality students can vary from year to year, so it’s not a guarantee that enrollment from China will continue to grow at this pace.
“We’ve been fortunate to attract and enroll superb students from China,” he said. “As is true with most of our applicant pool, students from China are applying to the most competitive colleges in the United States.”
Featured Image by Taylor Perison / Heights Staff