Victor de Lima Tosi transferred to Dubuque last spring to play football at Clarke University.
A college transfer, the 21-year-old from France, Brazil, is one of the many international students the institution has recruited through its athletic program.
The beginning was very difficult, difficult because of the language, Tosi said. Nowadays, (it is) the best way.
More than 30 coaches have made many efforts to sell to universities athletic programs for community colleges and to foster connections in high schools abroad. Clarke has noticed a consistent increase in applications.
From the fall of 2020 to January 31, the university received 165 international applications, from 120 in 2019-2020.
I think this pandemic (COVID-19), the silver lining, is that we all scratched our heads in leadership about what we can do so that we do not feel the consequences of the pandemic when it comes to registration numbers, said Ali Boyd, registration director. We allow to provide excellent services to customers. Let’s have that personalized approach. That’s just what we did.
Colleges across the country have observed similar trends, especially larger and more selective institutions.
The number of international applicants applying using the Joint Implementation, a widely accepted college accepted form, increased 9% during the 2020-2021 college application cycle compared to last year.
Countries that demonstrate significant increases in applicants include Brazil, Canada, India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.
Such a trend comes as welcome news for universities, where admissions officers hope to see enrollment increase as COVID-19 vaccinations accelerate, borders reopen, and a new U.S. presidential administration eases travel and visa restrictions imposed from now on. former President Donald Trump.
Once the pandemic is over, our goal is certainly to increase the number of international students participating, said Kari Hill, executive director of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Enrollment of international students within the U.S. began to decline in the 2016-2017 academic year, reversing a decades-long trend of steady growth, according to a report by the U.S. Institute of International Education and the U.S. Department of State
Enrollment dropped from 903,000 students that year to 852,000 in 2019-2020 and dropped an additional 16% in the fall of 2020.
In the three-state region, the shrinking student body in most colleges preceded the pandemic.
From the fall of 2015 to the fall of 2020, enrollment was down 20.5% at Clarke, 19.8% at UW-P and 8.1% at Loras College.
Only the University of Dubuque had a positive five-year trend, with an increase of 1.4%. However, UD enrollment in the fall was down 2.5% compared to a year ago.
International students, who often pay higher tuition fees, represent a vital source of income for colleges, especially those who saw income declines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
UW-P charges international students $ 16,774, more than double the amount Wisconsin residents pay. The university has seen the volume of international applicants drop from 57 to 45 over the past year.
But the institution costs more value to an international student body than just an addition to its budget.
For our current students, having international students on our campus exposes them to a variety of different cultures and thinking and learning about other countries in the world, Hill said.
Loras College also saw international applicants fall over the past year from 55 to 45.
Admissions Director Kyle Klapatauskas said the trend is not falling alarms. He attributes it to the cancellation of college recruitment events during the pandemic and the obstacles prospective students face when trying to obtain visas.
I predict it will get better, Klapatauskas said. People will travel more.
The University of Dubuque declined to provide application figures for this item. A spokesperson stated that the student enrollment data presents a clearer picture of our students versus college applications.
Meanwhile, community colleges in the Dubuque area enroll virtually no international students.