Foreign enrollment up, NIU enjoys advantages

By Donald Roth Jr.

While many private U.S. colleges spend tens of thousands of dollars to recruit international students, NIU spends nothing and still enjoys an increase in foreign student enrollment.

Most U.S. public and private colleges are feeling the pinch of the current recession with an overall dwindling enrollment.

But there is a silver lining for higher education institutions nationwide—international students.

Not only do foreign students pay full tuition at NIU and other colleges, they also tend to work for less than American students and pump the money they do earn back into DeKalb’s economy.

The flip side is that while NIU enjoys the full tuition remitted by international students, the students benefit from a weaker U.S. dollar than their own currency.

Mark Thackaberry, NIU’s International Student and Faculty Office director, said there has been an increased enrollment of international students since 1991.

While NIU has no active recruiting process in place, they do rely heavily on the passive process. Thackaberry said NIU attracts foreign students by word of mouth, alumni and from family who attend NIU.

NIU graduate student Subrata Chowdhurry from Calcutta, India is one of these examples. “My friends in India told me just how great NIU was and because of the closeness to Chicago, I figured I could not go wrong.”

NIU’s foreign student enrollment in 1972 was around 70. Currently, there are more than 1,200 international students enrolled at NIU with the biggest gain in graduate student enrollment.