TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Students from foreign countries continue to be attracted to the College of Southern Idaho even as international student enrollment declines at colleges across the country.
CSI has consistently enrolled 61 international students despite funding cuts to government-sponsored programs that allow foreign students to study in the U.S., The Times-News reported. CSI spokesman Keith Quatraro said those students often come from Saudi Arabia, Canada and Germany. CSI is a public community college with an enrollment of about 7,000 students.
“We’re really excited about that,” he said. “It’s also neat because it adds so much diversity and culture to the campus.”
This fall, CSI will host international students from 20 countries, up from 16 last year.
In comparison, international enrollment has dropped at Idaho State University, especially students from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Esther Eske, a regional economist for southeastern Idaho, said ISU expects 426 fewer foreign students this fall than last.
Nationwide, universities draw the most students from China, India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia as well as from emerging countries such as Brazil and Vietnam.
About 60,000 students from Saudi Arabia were enrolled during the 2014-15 school year at U.S. colleges and universities, according to a February report by Inside Higher Ed, making that the fourth-largest population of international students.
International students come for CSI’s athletic department, Quatraro said, and some are sponsored by third parties such as non-governmental organizations, on a J-1 visa.
Quatraro said many international students hear about the school through word of mouth, and some use it as a step before attending a four-year university in Idaho.