Grad programs draw foreign students

Cost, reputation and location are all qualities that draw international students to GW’s graduate programs, which attract almost three times as many international students as the University’s undergraduate programs.

“The school has to have some recognition in their country if they plan to go back home and have their degree be valuable. Name recognition is important,” said Gabrielle Julien-Molineaux, graduate student recruitment marketing specialist at GW.

The number of international applicants to GW graduate schools is on the rise. The number of applicants for fall 2007 increased 26 percent from the previous year, said Kristin Williams, executive director of graduate student enrollment management. According to the Counsel of Graduate Schools, the number of international applicants nationwide increased by 9 percent between fall 2006 and fall 2007.

Williams said GW graduate programs are not as expensive as those at other universities, a quality that is especially attractive to students who may have had free access to higher education in their home countries.

“This is a little-known fact that at the graduate level, GW’s tuition is comparable or below the national average for private institutions,” she said.

Williams said word of mouth is an important factor in recruiting students at the graduate level, as many hear about the school through friends or family.

“There’s no overt recruitment effort (in the law school). It is primarily done by reputation,” said Shehernaz Joshi, director of the International Students Graduate Program Office in the Law School. “We have faculty travel for conferences and meetings and they help build that reputation.”

There were 1,340 international students enrolled in GW graduate programs compared to 468 international undergraduate students in fall 2006, according to data available from the Office of Institutional Research.

During the 2005-2006 academic year, there were 64,235 new graduate students in the United States. – about 3,000 more international students than in undergraduate programs. These numbers include students who are studying abroad in the U.S. for the year or semester, according to the Institute for International Education

Students said the University’s location in Washington also is attractive.

“I like the U.S. very much,” said Carine Aoun, a recent graduate of the Law School. “I only looked (for schools) in big cities.”

D.C. is the fourth most popular metropolitan region for international students, behind New York, Los Angeles and Boston, according to IIEE.

GW was ranked number 66 of 143 in terms of the total number of international students in their 2006 listing of schools with more than 1,000 total international students.

The School of Business enrolled 421 international graduate students in fall 2006, and School of Engineering and Applied Science enrolled 347 students. The Elliott School of International Affairs enrolled 102 students, and the Law School enrolled 74 students.

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