Chinese grad application numbers on the rise at UD
Published: Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 05:10
With business school applications from American students in decline, many U.S. universities are recruiting outside the country, especially in China.
The Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics recruited students in China, bringing in 15 Chinese students to its master's of business administration program in 2009, 34 in 2010 and 60 this year.
Brian Exelbierd, director of the graduate, executive and MBA programs in the Lerner College, said many American universities aggressively recruit in China and are increasing efforts to do so because greater numbers of Chinese students are capable of traveling to the U.S. for higher education.
"The Chinese population is booming," Exelbierd said. "Chinese are becoming far and far more mobile, and frankly, they are typically students of means."
According to a study by the Council of Graduate Schools, Chinese students' applications to U.S. graduate schools increased 21 percent this year, and their acceptance offers rose 23 percent.
Exelbierd said the business college is not as competitive as other schools, such as the University of Michigan's Ross Business School or Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, where more than 30 percent of graduate students are from other countries. Although the university is not as aggressive in recruiting Chinese students, the Lerner College does make recruiting visits to China.
Exelbierd said the university's proximity to metropolitan cities, the university's Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance and the English Language Institute on campus contribute to some of students' decision-making when it comes to graduate school. Many Chinese students also rely on the annual business school rankings by U.S. News and World Report and other news agencies.
Lerner's full-time MBA program is not ranked on the U.S. News list, but the part-time program is ranked 38th in the country by Bloomberg Businessweek and sixth in the Mid-Atlantic.
"Our part-time program is much larger than our full-time program," Exelbierd said. "It is ranked, and it teaches the same curriculum with the same faculty. We actually hold that rank as one of the reasons why Chinese students choose us."
Chinese students are also attracted to the Test of English as a Foreign Language waiver the university offers to international students studying for a semester at the English Language Institute on Main Street before enrolling in university classes. TOEFL is a test that evaluates an international student's ability to speak English at a university level.
On top of the $24,240 out-of-state tuition, an eight-week program at ELI costs an extra $3,990, according to the American Association of Intensive English Programs, an organization promoting English language study at the collegiate level.
Lizzie Simin Ge, who is from Jiangsu Province near Shanghai, is in her second year at Lerner.
"I do think the language—the ELI program—UD earns a lot of money from that," said Simin Ge, who is working toward a master's in accounting.
The job prospects in the U.S. for foreigners are incredibly dim though, Exelbierd said.
"The current economy is such that the visa situation for international students is something that's not typically supported by a lot of employers," Exelbierd said. "Its been our experience that the majority of international students—because of the economy and visa situation in particular—are needing to return home to find employment, however I don't have any hard figures to back that up."
All international students applying to graduate programs must fill out the I-20 immigration form, which states the student can pay for their education without financial aid and acknowledges that she or he must leave the country after their studies are finished. Still, there are possibilities for foreign students to extend their stay.
The U.S. government will issue 85,000 H1B visas this year, which allow non-US citizens to work for a company in the U.S. Of those, 20,000 H1B visas are set aside for international students graduating from American graduate schools or MBA programs, according to H1Base, a service that helps students obtain visas.
Although many universities partner with H1Base to help their international students obtain jobs, the university does not, according to their list of partners.