New website introduces benefits of international education International Education Week is Nov. 17-21
Nov. 14, 2003
Contact: Kelly Franklin, Director of International Services; President, AAIEP
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Secretary of Education Rod Paige have called for the celebration of International Education Week, November 17-21, 2003. International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States.
In observance of International Education Week, the American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP) and the consortium of University College Intensive English Programs (UCIEP) are launching a new, informative and comprehensive website, www.internationaleducationmatters.org, to offer people a forum to learn about and discuss issues pertaining to intensive English programs.
Information provided on the website includes profiles of international students and their volunteer efforts in their communities, the economic impact international students have on each region of the country, what industry professionals say about the ramifications of declining international student enrollment and market share and recent relevant legislation and testimony.
“ I commend Maryville College for its work to bring international students to the United States and more importantly to Tennessee,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). “Intensive English programs like the one offered at Maryville College give both American students and international students the opportunity to interact while fostering a greater understanding of different cultures and one another.”
Since 1986, Kelly Franklin, director of the College’s International Services, has directed the Center for English Language Learning (CELL). Housed on the campus in the International House, CELL has been rated as one of the best intensive English programs in the United States and offers six levels of instruction to students who desire to improve their English. At any given time, Franklin and his staff may be working with students who hail from 15 to 20 different countries.
Impacts on enrollment, economy
International students have a tremendous impact on undergraduate and graduate enrollments and on the economy. Although international students comprise only slightly over four percent of America’s total higher education population, Open Doors 2002 reports they contribute nearly $12 billion dollars to the U.S. economy in money spent on tuition, living expenses and related costs. According to NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the estimated foreign student expenditure in Tennessee for 2002-03 was $118,603,000; regarding Maryville College, NAFSA estimated international students added $1,044,500 to the local economy.
International education threatened post 9-11
International education is not guaranteed. Since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, a global recession has made travel and education in the United States too expensive for many living abroad, and student visa applications have been more difficult to obtain.
Franklin, who is currently serving as president of the 285-member American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP), knows too well the effects of 9-11 both regionally and nationally.
“ In the past few years, government regulations have contributed to a gradual decline in enrollments for programs such as CELL. [At Maryville College], we have had several cases of students from friendly countries such as Japan, Korea and Brazil who are refused visas for language study due to overly restrictive government security measures.” In recent testimony of the Alliance for International Education and Cultural Exchange and NAFSA: Association of International Educators submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, educators stated: “We are particularly concerned with the Department of State’s new policy, announced in a worldwide cable May 21 and codified in an interim final regulation published July 7, to strictly limit the waiver of personal appearance for nonimmigrant applicants.
“ Simply put, the State Department does not have – and cannot realistically look forward to having in the foreseeable future – adequate staff and other resources to take on this burden. Moreover, the new regulation reverses a sensible and long-standing State Department practice of allowing ambassadors and their staffs to make the crucial, on-the-ground judgments about which applicants need to be interviewed.”
Franklin said Maryville College has enjoyed and benefited from the presence of international students on campus for many years, referencing the College’s most famous international student to date, Kin Takahashi. In the late 1890s, Takahashi, a student from Japan, founded, coached and quarterbacked the first football team and spearheaded the building of Bartlett Hall.
“ We hope that the many supporters of Maryville College will recognize the value of international exchange and help us in our work of urging the government to continue offering qualified international students the opportunities to study at schools such as Maryville College,” he added.