BU Today

Campus Life

BU remains popular choice for international students

Enrollment stable despite national decline

This story was published on BU Today on November 28, 2005.

International student enrollment at Boston University remained steady last year even as the total number of international students studying in the United States declined slightly, according to the Institute of International Education.

The 2005 Open Doors Report, released on November 14, showed a 1.3 percent drop in international enrollment rates in the 2004-2005 academic year — the second consecutive year of decline after more than three decades of steady growth. The report cited a variety of factors leading to the drop, including “real and perceived” difficulties in obtaining visas, rising U.S. tuition costs, and an effort by foreign institutions to offer more competitive degree programs.

Foreign enrollment at BU remained high last year, however, and the University retained its position as the top institution for foreign and exchange students in Massachusetts and throughout New England. Nationally, BU has the eighth-largest international population of any major university, with 4,541 international students attending.

Urbain DeWinter, associate provost for international programs, attributed BU’s worldwide popularity in 2003-2004 to “the international character of the University” and its “long tradition of enrollment and mobility in both directions.”

“This is not something BU is new at,” he said.

DeWinter noted that the International Students and Scholars Office, which helps all prospective and enrolled foreign students facilitate their transition to BU, also plays a critical role. The office keeps track of all the changing federal requirements and communicates with students to ensure that they are aware of restrictions and requirements — even reminding them of a $5 increase in application fees for immigration benefits that took effect in October.

In the fall of 2004, approximately 145 foreign countries were represented at BU. China, Korea, and India had the largest percentage of students attending, followed by Taiwan, Canada, Japan, and Turkey.