Why The Government Now Cares About International Students


The federal government is increasing their oversight of several thousand schools nationwide to ensure compliance and also catch fraudsters in the act.

With more the 8,600 certified schools nationwide, as reported by The Boston Globe, the federal government is increasing oversight of international students coming to the United States to receive an education.

Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, laws were put into place requiring colleges to keep track of how many foreign students are enrolled, where they live, what they’re studying and when they enter and leave the country, according to the article.

The story also mentions that nearly 60 field representatives with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been deployed to assist schools in the past two years, making sure each adheres to the regulations.

When colleges aren’t following the law, it’s typically not on purpose, field representative John Deziel told The Globe, but there have been exceptions. The newspaper reports that 21 international student recruiters were indicted in April for allegedly conspiring with more than 1,000 students to fraudulently maintain student visas through a “pay-to-stay” college in New Jersey that was fake and was set up by the government to catch fraudsters.

From 2014-15, nearly 975,000 foreign students were studying at colleges and universities in the U.S., which is the most recent data available, based on a report by the Institute of International Education. The report noted that the 10 percent increase, compared to the previous year, was the largest spike since the late 1970s.

With students heading back to school soon, ICE has ramped up its visits to Massachusetts colleges. While a small floristry school on Marlborough Street gets ready to admit just its third foreign student this fall, The Globe reports, larger educational institutions and nationwide leaders like Northeastern University will be busy monitoring its 10,500 international students.

A recent U.S. News report shows nearly a third of the undergraduate population at Florida Institute of Technology is comprised of international students, topping the newspaper’s top 10 list of university attracting the most foreign students. Northeastern checks in at No. 9 on the list, with 19.1 percent of its 13,510 undergrads being international students.

Of the roughly 1 million international students in the U.S., 58 percent come from China, India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, according to the IIE. Nearly a third of all foreign students studying in America are Chinese, which accounts for the largest source country.

Meanwhile, there are 539,000 Chinese Global Citizens, individuals who typically have the wealth or discretionary income to support their personal pursuits, such as seeking health care and studying abroad, which represents about 100,000 more than India has, according to the PYMNTS Global Citizen Index.

The Index revealed that South Korean Global Citizens have to pay $96,100, far more than their fellow Chinese and Indian Global Citizens, who need to earn $56,233 and $30,889, respectively, to maintain their lifestyle and cover the costs associated with studying in the U.S.