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Front Door: Growing Globally

International students take part in IUP’s intensive English program, the American Language Institute.

About 100 international students take part in IUP’s intensive English program, the American Language Institute.

IUP International Enrollment Reaches All-Time High

By Bob Fulton
April 16, 2015
Appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of
IUP Magazine.

Visitors strolling through campus today might hear Arabic spoken in the Oak Grove, Mandarin in the Crimson Café, Hindi in the HUB. The faces they pass tell a similar story, of a changing demographic at IUP, a transformation from a student body that two generations ago was almost exclusively American-born to one unmistakably global in nature.

Indeed, international students are more visible than ever before. In recent years they’ve come from Slovenia and Slovakia, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, South Korea and South Africa—even Iraq and Iran. A fall semester count revealed that 892 international students are enrolled, representing 6.2 percent of the university population. Both figures are all-time highs.

And that, President Michael Driscoll believes, is worth celebrating.

“I think it says something about IUP’s reputation for providing a high-quality education as well as a welcoming place for people from different countries, different cultures, different backgrounds,” Driscoll said. “And that’s not something every institution can claim. So I think that one of the reasons to really brag about the presence—the growing presence—of international students is exactly that. It says that people know about IUP and what a great place it is, and they want to come here, or they want to send their children here. And that’s just a remarkable thing for a university in a small town in rural Pennsylvania.”

“By bringing together a diverse group of people at this university, we are able to expose everyone to very different experiences than the ones they grew up in.”

The skyrocketing numbers—10 years ago the international student population stood at 519—are by no means a fluke. IUP actively recruits overseas. Sixty-one foreign nations are now represented on campus; since 2002, students from 136 countries, large (Russia) and small (Grenada), have enrolled.

“People here are committed to international education and really want that diversity on campus,” said Michele Petrucci D’05, assistant vice president for International Education and Global Engagement. “IUP has a long history, going back to the mid-’60s, of having international students, and the numbers have really grown in recent years. We get those numbers in a combination of ways. We have two offshore MBA programs, in Bangalore, India, and the West Bank; we have graduate degree-seeking students; we have undergraduate and transfer degree-seeking students; we have exchange students that come for one or two semesters; and we have students in IUP’s intensive English program [American Language Institute], about a hundred of them. So it’s an effort across campus.”

While international students focus on a wide range of academic disciplines, a sizable proportion of them gravitate to business.

“I would say, of the foreign students enrolled, either offshore or here, the Eberly College probably has 40 percent of those,” said Robert Camp, dean of the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology. “It’s surprising how large of a global footprint we have. We’ve got students in the Eberly College routinely from 30 to 40 different countries, by design. That is our intent—to have a diverse faculty and student body.”

The foreign nation with the largest representation on campus is Saudi Arabia, with 254 students—28.5 percent of the total international population. As recently as 2005, only six Saudis were enrolled. The Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission has since invested millions of dollars in scholarships, enabling the kingdom’s brightest minds to study at institutions all over the world.

“The Saudi Arabian government, as I understand it, has made a serious decision to help its future leaders learn abroad,” Driscoll said. “And so they very carefully provide funding for students who attend select universities in other countries, the US being the major one of those. To have so many of them here is, quite honestly, another stamp of approval for IUP and how we do business in the classroom and in the community, and in how our administrative team works with the Saudi government to make sure that everything’s in place and things are going well.”

Saudi students at IUP actually outnumber total international students at every other school in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. (West Chester ranks a distant second with 126 foreign students.) China (184), India (155), Taiwan (42), and the West Bank (42) round out IUP’s top five.

MBA candidates at the offshore sites in the West Bank and India—even if they’ve never set foot on US soil—are included in IUP’s count of international students. More than 120 are currently enrolled at the two sites.

“The program in Bangalore has been in existence for 10 years and has graduated about 700 students,” Petrucci said. “Eighty percent of the academic content is taught by IUP faculty who go there for short periods of time and then do the remainder online with them. They can complete the MBA in 12 months on site in India. About 80 to 90 percent choose to do a specialization within the MBA by coming to the Indiana campus for their second year. They take a full course load in the fall and in the spring have the option of doing one MBA course or an internship. That program has been going really well.”

The West Bank program—situated in one of the most politically unstable areas of the world—is also thriving. The first class is expected to graduate in May.

“In both cases, we have faculty relationships with the schools in these other countries,” Camp said. “Dr. [Prashanth] Bharadwaj, here in the Eberly College of Business, went to school with the president of the institution in Bangalore, India [PES University]. And Dr. [Ibrahim] Affaneh, chair of the Finance Department here in the college, is a longtime friend of the president at the institution in Palestine. But we also have many other faculty involved in delivering these programs on site. Over 30 faculty now have gone to India to teach. In Palestine, we’ve had probably close to 10 faculty go, and more are going this spring.”

Most of IUP’s international students, of course, pursue their degrees on campus. And while they come here to learn, they invariably turn the tables and act as teachers, too, educating American-born classmates about their countries and cultures.

That’s perhaps the greatest benefit of having a multinational student body.

“By bringing together a diverse group of people at this university, we are able to expose everyone to very different experiences than the ones they grew up in,” Driscoll said. “And that really makes a difference in terms of preparing them for what is a global world economy and society now in ways that it hadn’t been in the past. So you may not be able to travel abroad or study abroad—some of our students do that, of course—but by bringing pieces of the entire world here, to Indiana, we’re able to experience that together. And that includes me. I enjoy learning more about what our international students are doing, what their lives are like, why they’re here, and what they hope to accomplish.

“And so I do think the presence of international students helps everyone to learn more and grow. And that’s what we’re about.”

The following figures were provided by the Office of International Education at IUP.

By the Numbers:

International Enrollment at IUP, by Year
2002 517
2003 540
2004 536
2005 519
2006 551
2007 626
2008 668
2009 703
2010 649
2011 621
2012 765
2013 863
2014 892
Top 10 Source Nations, IUP — Combined, 2005 to 2014
Country Students
India 1,474
China 1,012
Saudi Arabia 895
Taiwan 682
South Korea 308
Malaysia 304
Japan 248
Jordan 130
Ghana 96
West Bank 96
Leading Source Nations, IUP, by Year
Year Country Students
2002 Taiwan 78
2003 Taiwan 88
2004 Malaysia 90
2005 Taiwan 84
2006 India 120
2007 India 184
2008 India 219
2009 India 190
2010 India 137
2011 China 130
2012 China 177
2013 Saudi Arabia 203
2014 Saudi Arabia 254
International Enrollment, Pennsylvania’s State System Schools — Fall 2014
  International Students Total Students Percentage of Total
Bloomsburg 119 9,998 1.19
California 68 7,978 0.85
Cheyney 2 1,022 0.20
Clarion 82 5,712 1.44
East Stroudsburg 96 6,820 1.41
Edinboro 113 6,837 1.65
IUP 892 14,369 6.21
Kutztown 101 9,218 1.10
Lock Haven 46 4,917 0.94
Mansfield 28 2,752 1.02
Millersville 58 8,047 0.72
Shippensburg 98 7,355 1.33
Slippery Rock 93 8,495 1.09
West Chester 126 16,086 0.78
System Total 1,922 109,606 1.75
Top 10 Source Nations, IUP — Fall 2014
Country Students
Saudi Arabia 254
China 184
India 155
Taiwan 42
West Bank 42
Japan 32
Brazil 19
South Korea 15
Jordan 12
Nigeria 12

More from the Spring 2015 Issue of IUP Magazine

Pitching In

Pitching In

Using hammers, paint brushes, bats, and baseballs, a number of IUP student-athletes have helped build villages—and spirit—in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Evolution of the Oak Grove

Evolution of the Oak Grove

With the help of botanists, arborists, faculty and staff members, students, and many other supporters, this beloved campus landmark is returning to the beauty of years past.

Message from the President

President Driscoll discusses how IUP is preparing students to respond to the pivotal issues of today and tomorrow, such as energy independence.

Namedroppers | Achievements | Mentors

Photo Gallery | In Brief | Letters to the Editor

Recruiting from Within

For alumni and students seeking careers, IUP offers help in many forms. Among the most effective is connecting them with other alumni.

Cleanup Crusade

After working as an investigator in the Navy and the Defense Department, Patty Ameno came back to western Pennsylvania to rid her hometown of nuclear waste.

Milestone Generosity

See what gifts of $25,000 or more were made to the Foundation for IUP between October 1 and February 1.