The Many Benefits of International Students at U.S. Campuses

12/30/16

interstudents

As we come to the end of 2016, we’d like to dedicate this final blog for the year to international students and the myriad of benefits they bring to the economic and cultural fabric of the U.S  Let’s take a closer look.

Economic Benefits

The economic benefits of having international students on U.S. campuses are impressive. According to the Brookings Institute, foreign students “paid $22 billion in tuition between 2008 and 2013 as well as at least $13 billion in living expenses.” According to the U.S. Department of Commerce: “In 2015, International students contributed more than $30.5 billion to the U.S. economy, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.”

International students are able to fund their education in the U.S. through funds they receive from personal and family sources outside the U.S. They also receive financial support from their home country governments or universities.

Additional breakdowns of economic impact by state and Congressional District, calculated using IIE’s Open Doors enrollment figures, are available on the NAFSA International Student Economic Value Tool website.

Take a look at the chart below to see the countries which send most of the students to study in the U.S. These numbers grew from approximately 975,000 in 2015 to 1,043,839 in 2016.

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Source: The Atlantic

Cultural, Scientific, Technical Research Benefits

In addition to the economic benefits of having international students on U.S. campuses, the cultural gains are equally positive and impactful. The benefits of American students who actively engage and interact with international students on their college campuses are tremendously positive and impactful. American students exposed to and interacting with international students are more likely to read or speak a foreign language, appreciate art, music, literature of different cultures, and view current problems in historical perspective. They also are more likely to be more open minded and curious and interested to reexamine their political and religious viewpoints and their beliefs about other races or ethnicities. They may even consider traveling outside the U.S. or studying abroad.

Another significant benefit of having international students studying in the United States is that they contribute to America’s scientific and technical research. They bring with them international perspectives and stories of their personal experiences into U.S. classrooms. All these contribute to helping prepare American college students to be better equipped for careers in the global job market and in many cases helps them build and foster longer-term business relationships and economic benefits with their international student counterparts after graduation.

This reminds me of a taxi ride I once had from the airport in Reno, NV to a conference hotel. When I told the driver that I was attending a conference on international education, I was pleasantly surprised to hear him lecture me on the many benefits his city receives from its foreign students. He cited how international students contribute to the city’s businesses through their purchases, renting apartments, leasing or buying cars, paying insurance, going to the movies, eating at restaurants, and so much more. Clearly, he got it! And let’s not forget that many international students bring with them their spouses and children for the duration of their studies and these additional persons also help the economy. According to NAFSA, for the 2013-2014 academic year, “international students and their families at colleges and universities across the U.S. contributed $26.8 billion to the U.S. economy and supported 340,000 jobs. Compared to the previous academic year, this is nearly a 12 percent increase in dollars contributed to the economy and an 8.5 percent increase in job support and creation.” Another important and positive side effect of having international students on U.S. campuses which NAFSA found is that “three U.S. jobs are created or supported for every seven international students enrolled. These jobs are in higher education, accommodation, dining, retail, transportation, telecommunications, and health insurance.”

These economic benefits have not gone unnoticed by countries such as Canada, UK, and Australia who are aggressively seeking ways to attract and recruit international students to their institutions. Though, at this time, the UK–having undergone the Brexit referendum– is taking a harsher stand against international students. We, in the international education community, urge our representatives in Washington and the incoming administration to take the significance of international students and their contributions to the U.S. economy and the fabric of our higher education into serious consideration before embarking on any anti-immigration policies and legislations. A negative and hostile stand against immigration if not clearly defined will alienate the international students who enter the U.S. legally on student visas and deter them from seeking the U.S. as their higher education destination. They will in turn look to friendlier countries like Canada and Australia. The U.S. will have a great deal to lose.

Useful Links:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2016/11/21/where-americas-international-students-come-from-infographic/#708592224669

https://today.duke.edu/2013/06/internationalengage

http://immigrationimpact.com/2014/11/19/international-students-add-billions-u-s-economy/

http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20150212092452773

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/11/globalization-american-higher-ed/416502/

http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/international-students-united-states

jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Season’s greetings and warm wishes for a happy new year

12/23/16

greetings

As 2016 comes to an end, and we prepare for the New Year, I cannot help but reflect at the great progress ACEI has made since its inception in 1994. As both President & CEO of ACEI and as Board President of the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE), a non-profit professional association, of which ACEI is an Endorsed member, I can proudly look at how ACEI and AICE members have remained steadfast in our efforts to ensure the respect deserving of the international credential evaluation profession through our commitment in developing standards and guidelines while supporting and encouraging exchange of ideas and information.

ACEI will be turning 23 next year, and I have had the pleasure of watching it truly raise the bar for ourselves and for our colleagues in international credential evaluations. While the external environment and the new presidency brings with it uncertainties and challenges for international education,  I see our community coming together,  showing  resilience, determination and a shared sense of purpose, working effectively as a unified voice for maintaining standards and best practices. While the obstacles have been and will be many  – from a climate where standards and transparency have been neglected by some in the profession, to a political climate here and abroad that is becoming more nationalistic than globally minded – what has shone and continues to shine through is the steadfast commitment of our colleagues and partners in fostering and advancing international education, credential evaluation methodologies and standards and exchange of information with each other and helping the students and communities we support.

Thank you for your commitment to international education and support of ACEI. As we move forward in 2017 and beyond, I am proud of ACEI’s accomplishments and excited about the future. Our community is strong and vibrant, and together we will continue our efforts to remain interconnected, uphold standards and best practices, safeguard international education, and ensure access for international students and human dignity for poor and vulnerable populations worldwide.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday season and a new year filled with health, happiness and success.

jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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ACICS Gets Nixed

December 15th, 2016

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Education Secretary John King (Leigh Vogel/Getty Images)

On December 12, 2016, John King, the U.S. Secretary of Education, announced the Education Department‘s final decision to terminate its recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).

ACICS was founded in 1912 as a national accreditor that accredited institutions offering programs in professional, technical, and occupational fields. According to InsideHigherEducation as a national accreditor, the Council “oversees 245 institutions, many of them for-profits, which enroll roughly 600,000 students and collectively received $4.76 billion in federal aid last year.”  ACICS had been the accrediting agency for now-shuttered Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute campuses.

The decision to terminate the Council’s accreditation authority follows extensive investigation by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) which concluded in its report that ACICS “failed to protect students and taxpayers from fraudulent and underperforming colleges.”  In a letter to ACICS, Emma Vadehra, chief of staff to the education secretary wrote she is terminating the department’s recognition of ACICS as a nationally recognized accrediting agency as “ACICS’s track record does not inspire confidence that it can address all of the problems effectively.” ACICS said it would “immediately file litigation seeking injunctive and other relief through the courts.”

The U.S Education Department has given the colleges accredited by ACICS 18 months to find a new accreditor or will lose access to federal aid. Many of the college are turning to other accreditation agencies, in particular the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.  The Department did announce on December 12, 2016 that it was adding new conditions for ACICS-accredited colleges to remain aid eligible that include: monitoring; transparency; oversight and accountability requirements. ACICS-accredited colleges have 10 days to agree to these new conditions or they will not be able to receive federal aid.

For more on this latest development, please visit:

https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2016/12/acics-loss-of-accreditation-what-it-means-for-schools-and-international-students

https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2016/12/13/education-secretary-drops-recognition-accreditor?utm_content=buffer25e06&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=IHEbuffer

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-09-22/education-department-strips-authority-of-acics-the-largest-for-profit-college-accreditor

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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A New Internationalization Strategy

December 8th, 2016

global

Continuing with our thread on the impact of a Trump Presidency on international education and internationalization as a whole, I found the blog recently posted by EAIE to be spot on. In the words of one of the authors of the blog, “… the task of regularly scanning the external environment to identify both opportunities and threats is now more critical than ever.”  This was most evident at the recent AIRC conference in Miami, FL and I’m certain that the discussion will only escalate in urgency in the months to come.

We can choose to look at the ramification of what a Trump Presidency may have on the future of international education in a negative light or its exact opposite. This new chapter in U.S. history may be just the wakeup call needed to reevaluate the way we have been operating. In fact, by shifting the focus to providing quality education (at the institutional level), and establishing standards (AICE is poised to be at the helm as far as credential evaluations are concerned with AIRC enforcing its certifications of agents/recruiters) we just maybe able to steer the ship into less turbulent waters. We can already see the negative effects of rapid unmonitored internationalization, where rules are broken, subpar or under qualified students are recruited, fraudulent documents are processed without vetting/verification/evaluation, and university reps compete for warm bodies overlooking principles/policies in order to meet the bottom line and generate tuition revenue.  Just look at the recent article in Reuters on how top U.S. colleges hooked up with controversial Chinese companies helped along by a former U.S. school board president and a former administrator from a liberal arts college in Vermont. The U.S. colleges indicate they were unaware of fraud accusations brought against the Chinese companies. According to the Reuters piece the companies “have engaged in college application fraud, including writing application essays and teacher recommendations, and falsifying high school transcripts.” Earlier this year, we read about the scandal facing fraudulent practices surrounding students recruited from China and India to several key U.S. institutions. The fraud covered all facets of the admissions process, from creating bogus financial statements, ghost writers preparing college admissions essays, to falsified academic documents. 

We see ACEI and the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE), the professional association that vets and screens private credential evaluation services and requires adherence to peer approved evaluation standards, to be at the helm of this paradigm shift in thinking. If quality, due diligence, and academic values are an institution’s mission and purpose, then they can only be achieved and fostered when partnered with organizations that share the same vision and adhere to the highest standards in credential evaluations. The benefits of the credential evaluation service we provide at ACEI are many, but the most important is that an unbiased evaluation based on vetted academic documents and peer reviewed placement recommendation guidelines protects the academic institution against risks such as fraud and misrepresentation which affect the institution’s reputation, ranking, and most importantly accreditation.

jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Dispatches from Association of International Recruitment Council (AIRC), Miami, FL

December 1st, 2016

I’m here in Miami, FL, at the annual AIRC Conference. International student recruiters, credential evaluators and admissions professionals are looking at the new President-Elect’s nationalist platform with caution wondering whether the new administration will have an adverse affect on the flow of international students to the U.S. Already we are hearing that the recent Brexit vote which led to the United Kingdom exiting the European Union has deterred international students from applying to universities in England. According to the annual Open Doors report of the Institute of International Education, “the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities grew by 7.1%, to top one million in the 2015-16 academic year.” The report records 10 straight years of growth in the number of international students studying at U.S. campuses, however with the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, concern of the possible negative impact on future enrollments from abroad is on everyone’s mind.

We are already hearing the chatter that international students, fearing the new administration’s hard-right, nationalist, anti-globalist and xenophobic policies are looking to countries such as Australia and Canada to continue their studies. This collective cautiousness on the part of the international students and international education professionals is mainly because we know virtually nothing about the Trump Administration’s higher education policies as he has not articulated any specific initiatives or policies during his presidential campaign or even now in the days leading to his inauguration. The new administration will most likely be more friendly toward to the for-profit higher education industry and less interested in diversity and affirmative action. In fact, there is talk about monitoring university faculty whose teachings may have a “liberal” bias.  What is inevitable is that many of the initiatives of the Obama Administration will be scrapped.

Education on the international front will most likely take a hit. The image of the United States as a “welcoming country” for international students and scholars will be tarnished and it will take a long time to rebuild and restore it. Even though, Trump has singled out his ire toward Muslims and Mexicans, the sentiment is felt by all foreigners who see themselves as being targeted by this viewpoint.

The immediate future of U.S. higher education and international students may be bleak but one factor that will keep the American higher education system in the positive light is that it is still a strong and attractive option in the global perspective. Most of the top universities are located in blue states which embrace a friendlier and more hospitable outlook toward international students and scholars.

Here at AIRC and in meeting with international recruiters from the world and the U.S., it is evident that education agents are preparing themselves by ramping up their marketing efforts to keep the international students’ interest from waning and encouraging them to study in the U.S.  Attracting international students whose impression of the U.S. as an unwelcoming country under Donald Trump will be a challenging task for international recruiters. These are unchartered waters we are entering into as we see a wave of anti-globalism, nationalism and xenophobia appearing in not just the UK, US, but also in France, Spain, Austria, Germany, and Poland. The question is how we will navigate this unwelcoming and somewhat hostile environment in order to protect the integrity of U.S. higher education as the preferred destination for international students.

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert

jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Creating Legacy: Biddy Mason

November 17th, 2016

biddy

I had a reoccurring dream for 5 consecutive years, which took place in Los Angeles starting and stopping in exactly the same place each time. I always awoke shaking my head and thinking, What is that––why do I keep dreaming of black women dressed like Southern Slaves, in the early years of Los Angeles? There weren’t even black people back in early California. But I was more than wrong.

Late one night while browsing an online photo archive, I stumbled upon an exact image from my dream. It was dated 1857. A gathering of black women dressed in similar fashion to southern plantation slaves, were sitting on the front porch of a single story wooden house located on what is now San Pedro Street. I paid attention. So began my journey into the history of the women of El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, and led me to Biddy Mason, former slave of African and Native American heritage, mother, healer, midwife, wealthy-businesswoman philanthropist, landowner, and not least, the founder of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church (the first black church in Los Angeles.)

As I began to explore the history of this powerful woman, I was repeatedly struck by the fact that although I had been born and educated in Los Angeles, neither I nor any of my friends had ever been made aware of her. Indeed, the recognition of the place of women in the development of the city of Los Angeles (El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, the City of the Queen of Angels) has been historically relegated to secondary status. This is reflected even in the name change from the city’s original name, by dropping the Queen out of the name of the city. As a sign of the times, this particular woman was destined to be a powerful force of vital change in the lives of many, even as the world she traveled through was itself experiencing a time of extreme tumultuous and violent change. In 1849 during the transition from Mexican to American rule, the state of California decreed itself free of slavery, and in 1850, was admitted into the Union.  Ironically, the Fugitive Slave Act was passed later that very same year––a definite nod to Southern sympathies.

Among the first, Robert Smith, a recent convert to the Mormon Faith, brought his slaves Biddy Mason, her three daughters, her sister Hannah and her children, across the continent by Ox Train to live in a Mormon community in San Bernardino. However, as the “anti-slavery” sentiment in California grew, he decided to leave for the slave state of Texas. He must have thought himself mad as he watched free black men ride as equals alongside white posse members, when they swooped into his canyon camp in the Santa Monica Mountains late one night, and rescued the women and children; the sheriff took them off into protective custody. By the time Bridget Biddy Mason arrived in el Pueblo in 1855, there was already a black community; some having migrated from deep southern, slave holding states, to the apparent freedom of California. Although the slave trade of Native peoples was in full force, there was a population of free black men, many having descendants traceable to Africans in Mexico in the 1530’s. As my research was revealing, I had been so wrong!

Biddy Mason and her family were granted their freedom in January 1856, and in another twist of time and fate, won their freedom by the skin of their teeth, as the Dred Scott Decision was passed in 1857 in which…” the Supreme Court decided that all people of African ancestry — slaves as well as those who were free––could never become citizens of the United States and therefore could not sue in federal court. The court also ruled that the federal government did not have the power to prohibit slavery in its territories…” The egregious injustice of this period in history is once again illuminated by the fact that, although Biddy Mason could petition for her freedom and be present at her trial, after 1850 there was a law forbidding Native Indians, Blacks, and Mulattoes from testifying against a white person in civil or criminal cases. However, precedent had been set in el Pueblo in the 1840’s by the rancheras, women who were the original land grantees. These were women who owned substantial land, and therefore had the key to economic independence, putting them on an equal business footing with the men of their time. Whether through direct land grants, marriage or inheritance, this allowed them to engage in business: investing, selling, loaning, or using their land as collateral. As a black woman in the 1850’s Biddy’s rise to social prominence and financial power was unprecedented. She created a paradigm shift by shrewdly parlaying her immense skills as a healer and a midwife, into a business empire equivalent to those most successful landholding business leaders of Los Angeles… Although neither Biddy nor her ranchera predecessors could read, write, or defend themselves or their interests in a court of law, they were astute enough to engage the powerful men of the time to defend them and speak on their behalf.

It is almost impossible to understand the scope of the legacy that Biddy Mason created, and it might read like somewhat of a “fairytale” if the particulars were not so overwhelmingly grim. The improbable circumstances she endured are all but unimaginable; from slave-life on the plantation, she literally trekked across the continent with her own small children, ultimately having the temerity to stand up and claim herself a free black woman in a white America about to be torn apart by the Civil War. Yet she did it, as did many of the rancheras, and other women who came before and long after her. Although women still struggle to attain equality in an historically patriarchal society, honoring and acknowledging those of enormous personal power who have come before us is a crucial step towards making things right in the future.

Biddy Mason remains one of my personal heroines. From a dream sent to me from our collective past, I feel it is essential to share her history, as one of our city’s fundamental foundation stones, inspiring us to do more, and to be more. I believe this history, the city’s history is especially timely for Los Angeles right now, as it reminds us that there is great strength and wisdom which comes from moving steadfastly forward with conviction, an open mind, and an open heart.

  1. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2932.html

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Jeannie Winston is a frequent guest blogger for ACEI’s Academic Exchange. Jeannie is an artist and writer living and working in Los Angeles, California. Jeannie completed undergraduate studies in Illustration at The Arts Center of Pasadena, California.   Her vast and intricate knowledge of Los Angeles and its cultural history bring a new perspective to our understanding of the City of Angels. She draws her inspiration from the natural and inhabited world around her. She is especially inspired by her observations of cultural fusions and how people strive to invoke spirit in daily life.

(El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, the City of the Queen of Angels.)

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Three Timely Presidential Songs

November 14th, 2016

songs

With the election just over, I thought I’d call to mind some songs about U.S. presidents and elections — songs that either celebrate or poke a little fun at being POTUS. We can all use a little levity about now, right?

The first is “Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt” by Otis Jackson. Jackson first recorded this tribute song in 1946, a year after Roosevelt’s death, and re-recorded it many times after. A book called Roosevelt’s Blues: African-American Blues and Gospel Songs on FDR by Guido van Rijn talks about this song as well as dozens of other blues and gospel songs that celebrated FDR, who was an important figure for the African American community. The video below is for part one of Jackson’s song, but there is a part two as well. I found it on a great album called Hot Gospel (Get Right with God) 1947-1953.

The second song is by the great bluesman Percy Mayfield with Johnny “Guitar” Watsonfrom 1974 called, “I Don’t Want to Be President.” It’s a fun and timely song by Billy Vera’s favorite singer-songwriter. I found it on an Atlantic Records two-LP set from the 1980’s called Atlantic Blues:Vocalists.

Finally, Ry Cooder wrote “Cold Cold Feeling” about presidential blues on his albumElection Special. The 2012 CD, released before Obama’s second term, also included the sad lament about Mitt Romney’s poor canine,”Mutt Romney Blues“.

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Tom Schnabel, M.A.

Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
Blogs for Rhythm Planet
Author & Music educator, UCLA, SCIARC, currently doing music salons
www.tomschnabel.com

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