UI’s international enrollment at record high

The University’s student demographic is proving to be progressively global as the preliminary enrollment figures for international and out-of-state students reach record-high numbers.

According to figures released by the University’s Division of Management Information, 8,291 international undergraduate, graduate and professional students enrolled this semester, 701 more than in Fall 2011. These numbers are preliminary and based on enrollment for the first day of classes of the Fall 2012 semester.

Campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler said a 10-day report with the official enrollment numbers will be released in mid-September. She declined to comment further on the enrollment numbers until official figures are released.

Almost 20 percent of University students are from outside the U.S., with students representing over 100 countries. China has the highest number of international students with a total of 3,739, followed by South Korea with 1,317 and India with 878, according to the preliminary figures.

Chancellor Phyllis Wise said many international students come to the United States for their first time and she wants to make the campus a “welcoming place” for them. She said that she is working with Renee Romano, vice chancellor of student affairs, in developing international student programs to make the University more “assertive in the area of diversity.”

The preliminary summary also shows an increase in the number out-of-state students. Out-of-state students number 13,573 this year, compared with the 12,612 non-Illinois resident students last year.

“I count out-of-state students as part of the diversity,” Wise said in an interview with the Daily Illini Editorial Board. “I think that when you can learn next to someone from Alabama or New York or California or Montana, you can learn something about the world and the country.”

However, Wise said the University feels a responsibility to be composed of “primarily students from the state of Illinois.” About 28,000 students on the campus are Illinois residents, which is about 66 percent of the overall student body. She added that the University does receive a lot of out-of-state applications, but the campus’s first mission is to “meet the need of the state of Illinois.”

Despite this, Wise said the University has the highest number of international students of any public university, and diversity remains an extremely important aspect of the campus.

“The diversity adds to the excellence of this place,” Wise said.

“I think it’s wonderful when students can get introduced to people they would have never seen in their high school or in their neighborhood and learn from them in very much ‘out of the classroom’ ways.”

_Lauren can be reached at rohr2@dailyillini.com_