Campus: Northridge -- January 9, 2006

Cal State Northridge is a Top Host for International Students

Cal State Northridge continues its high standing among the top 10 master's level institutions in the nation hosting students from countries around the world. A newly released national annual survey placed CSUN sixth--with more than 1,300 international students--among hundreds of master's level institutions nationwide enrolled for the 2004-05 academic year.

CSUN has been ranked in the top echelon for the past few years, climbing steadily from 17th place in 2000-01 to its present sixth place berth in Open Doors 2005, an annual report on international educational exchange issued by the Institute of International Education (IIE).
In its Nov. 14 report, IIE researchers found a slight overall decline nationwide in the enrollment of international students at U.S. colleges and universities--off about 1 percent from the previous year's total.

Researchers attributed the decrease to factors such as "real and perceived difficulties" in obtaining student visas, rising U.S. tuition costs, and competition for students from other English-speaking nations. The study found perceptions persisting abroad that it has become more difficult for international students to come to the U.S.

Ultimately, the IIE indicated that this year's national numbers--about 565,000 international students--represent a leveling off of enrollments after a 2.4 percent drop from the 2002-03 academic year, in the wake of terrorist threats following the 9/11 crisis. CSUN's sixth place ranking is down slightly from the previous academic year, when the university placed fourth in the Open Doors survey. The survey showed 1,343 international students enrolled at Northridge out of a total 2004-05 student population of 31,074. In 2003-04, Open Doors reported 1,601 international students out of a total enrollment of 32,618.

Mack Johnson, associate vice president for Graduate Studies, Research and International Programs, expected the number of international students at CSUN to resume its upward trend during the next several years.

"The U.S. Office of Homeland Security has been trying to improve its efficiency in the area of student visas," he said, adding that this should help boost foreign student enrollment nationwide.

Johnson headed an ad hoc campus group that recommended increasing the university's international enrollment by enhancing CSUN's Web site presence and increasing its focus on housing, visibility in international publications, and international recruitment fairs.

Among California master's level institutions, Northridge led sister CSU campuses at CSU East Bay, Long Beach and Los Angeles, all in the survey's top 20. San Francisco State, San Jose State and CSU Fullerton placed one to three, respectively, in the Open Doors report.

According to campus statistics, Japan is by far the largest of CSUN's 87 countries of origin for international students in fall 2005, with an estimated 325 students. Korea is next highest with roughly 120, followed by Taiwan, India and Colombia.

More than 360 are majoring in business administration, the top draw for international students. Next is engineering, with 140 majors; cinema and television arts, with nearly 70; psychology, with more than 50, followed by art and family and consumer sciences, with about 35 each.

Beena Prasad, 23, plans to work in the U.S. for two years after completing her master's degree in electrical and computer engineering. She came to CSUN from Bangalore in southern India on the recommendation of a friend and after researching the university on the Internet.

"Education here is very interactive," Prasad said. "Everyone is given the opportunity to discuss their ideas."

Yukiko Kando, 26, a senior from Japan's Yamanashi prefecture, majors in psychology.

"I heard that among the CSUs, CSUN is the best in my field," Kando said. "The quality of the professors is very good; they're helpful, knowledgeable. That keeps me motivated."

Kando may attend medical school in Japan, but she may opt to seek a graduate degree neuroscience in the U.S. "I love it here," she said.

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130, carmen.chandler@csun.edu


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