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International Student Population Hits New High

The Boston College international student population rose to a record high 1,878 students this year, according to the statistics report released by the Office of International Students and Scholars.

Undergraduate and graduate students make up 66 percent of BC’s total international population, which also includes practical trainees, faculty and research scholars, and dependents.

China has consistently had the largest international student representation at BC for the past 12 years, boasting 927 students during the 2018-19  academic year. Enrollment of Chinese students has increased by 17 percent, up from 793 students in the 2017-18. The Chinese student population has grown by just under 730 percent over the last 10 years.

Trailing second to Chinese student enrollment is South Korea, with 139 students represented at BC. South Korean student enrollment hit its peak in 2013-14 with 183 students and has been declining since, save for a slight increase in 2016-17. Enrollment of students from South Korea has decreased by 24 percent since its 2013 record high, dropping by 14 percent since last year.

Asia is the region with the most representation across the board, with 1,262 graduate and undergraduate students. The second-largest region represented is Europe, with 301 students.

Five hundred thirty-six undergraduate international students, nearly 30 percent of enrollment, are pursuing degrees in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. The economics major is the most popular among the group, with 178 students, followed by finance in the Carroll School of Management, with 108 students.

The economics department reclassified the major as a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) program from a social science this summer. International students will benefit from this reclassification, because if they are participating in a 12-month practical training program after graduation, they may use a STEM degree to apply for a 24-month extension, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The extension may place students in a better position to find employment, according to a Heights interview with department chair Christopher Baum that took place after the reclassification.

Currently, 495 BC graduates are undertaking a period of practical training in the United States, a 7 percent increase from last year. Two hundred eighty graduates from China have been placed in practical training this year, nearly six times as many students as South Korea, the second-most represented country.

Over the past 10 years, the international student population in MCAS has dominated the other schools’, sporting 795 undergraduate and graduate students. CSOM international enrollment has increased gradually over the past 10 years, from 109 to 159 students.

Overall, international student enrollment has picked up pace since 2013, increasing by an average of 8 percent each year.

Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Senior Staff

February 6, 2019