February 15, 1999 Vol. III, No. 10

From Japan to Europe, Foreign Students Still Choose CSUN

Campus Retains National Ranking, but More Students Are Working and Fewer Are Actively Enrolled

Cal State Northridge's reported population of foreign students this school year remained virtually constant despite the economic problems in Asian countries, continuing to rank as one of the largest among master's level institutions in the United States.

CSUN's population of visa students was 928 for the fall 1998 semester, only one student less than a year earlier. However, the number of actively enrolled students did decline, while there was an increase in those who reported completing their studies and staying to work for up to an additional year as is permitted.

Among the countries sending the most students to CSUN, Japan continued to rank first and increased its actively enrolled student population here by three to 150 students. Taiwan, which had ranked third in fall 1997, moved to second this fall with an increase of six students for a total of 92.

Korea, where the economy was particularly hard-hit, fell from second to third place at CSUN as its number of students declined by 22 to 82. Meanwhile, Indonesia replaced Hong Kong as the fourth largest sender of students to CSUN, although its number of students dropped by five to 40.

CSUN in recent years has consistently ranked among the top 25 master's-level institutions in the U.S. based on the size of its foreign student population. CSUN ranked 20th in 1995, 14th in 1996 and 23rd in 1997, according to a national survey by the non-profit Institute of International Education.

CSUN would have ranked 18th with 929 total students in fall 1997 if the campus had continued reporting all of its visa students as it had in prior years. However, the campus ceased reporting to IIE its foreign students here on tourist, diplomatic and work visas, dropping its number reported in the survey to 745.

Nonetheless, John Charles, CSUN's assistant director of international programs (left), said he was heartened the university was able to maintain a relatively constant total foreign student population, particularly when universities with much higher tuition rates have suffered larger losses.

CSUN did experience some of that during the past year, as its number of actively enrolled foreign students declined from 847 in fall 1997 to 821 in fall 1998. However, that loss was basically offset by an increase in the number of CSUN foreign students who were only working during those times.

Foreign student tallies include students performing so-called practical training, which is up to a year of work experience they can acquire under their visas after having enrolled here. The number of CSUN foreign students on that status increased from 82 in fall 1997 to 107 in fall 1998.

Recapping fall 1998, according to the university's latest report, CSUN had 635 foreign students actively enrolled on student visas, plus 186 more enrolled on other visas such as work, tourist and diplomatic status for a total of 821. That number, plus the 107 on practical training, yields the 928 total for the fall.

Among the 821 actively enrolled foreign students at CSUN in the fall, the most popular majors were business (267), computer science (69), engineering (55) and music (40). Trailing closely were radio-TV-film and art (39 each), biology (33), and family environmental sciences and psychology (31 each).

According to the latest IIE "Open Doors" national survey for fall 1997- spring 1998, the total foreign student population attending all U.S. colleges and universities increased 5.1 percent to 481,280, ending a four-year period of relatively flat growth.

-John Chandler


February 15, 1999

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