One component of the University’s 2020 Strategic Vision is the a goal to increase the international undergraduate population to 10 percent by 2020.
This would cause the total number of accepted international freshmen to rise from 25 students a year to 60.
With the current undergraduate population at 2,728 students, the increase would put the total international undergraduate student population at about 273, up from its current number of 121.
This plan excludes the graduate program, which already has 744 international students enrolled.
“It is usually the case that most universities such as La Verne already have a larger international student population at undergraduate level, and for some reason or another we are not at that level yet,” said Homa Shabahang, vice president of strategic enrollment and communication. “That’s a historical thing, and that is why it is one of our plans,” Shabahang said.
President Devorah Lieberman said she hopes to have the total number of undergraduate students increase to 2,800 by 2020, changing that number to 280 undergraduate international students.
Shabahang hopes the plan will create a more diverse atmosphere, which contributes to a better learning environment for students, she said.
“We want to maintain the diversity of the types of students that we have, but we want to add the diversities in some other areas,” Shabahang said.
European higher education offers a very different experience.
Kimmy Joyeux, a current student at the Lim’Art school of L’Institut des Métiers d’Art design in France, explained that in the French higher education system students are not only restricted to large lecture classes, they are often not allowed to take general education courses and are instead required to major in one subject area from day one.
Many European schools also only offer courses in one subject, limiting the schools students can attend and who they interact with.
In a 2010 research paper on the subject, the author wrote that because most European universities are free or almost free, they often face overcrowding and underfunding, resulting in a “decreased quality of higher education.”
In the paper, “Higher Education: Europe vs. USA,” the author, Andrzej J. Gapinski of Penn State University, wrote that because of these factors most European universities have given up their previous leads over American universities.
CNN also reported recently that China’s gaokao exam, a one-time exam that is the sole determination of admission into a Chinese university, has led to many students opting to attend American universities instead, which has a more comprehensive and less stressful admission process. This lines up with the University of La Verne data, which finds that 76 percent of the current population of is from China.
Because these students are from neither California nor America, they are not eligible for the same grants and loans traditional students are. And since the University offers few scholarship options for them, international students are more likely to pay the full price for their education.
“Because the United States educational system has general education grounding, it allows for broad education and a better critical education,” Lieberman said. “It attracts students who want a broader education.”
The University has already begun an expansive outreach program by participating in college fairs and visiting high schools in countries around the world, bringing in students from countries like Myanmar, Peru and the United Arab Emirates.
“Those are wish lists, and the numbers we put in front of those wish lists are guidelines, they are not quotas,” Shabahang said, stating the University will not do anything “funny” like lowering requirements in order to reach their goal of 280 students.
“I believe every student attending should feel a part of the University, and after they graduate they should continue to feel connected to the University community,” Lieberman said.
Amanda Larsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.