Apr 292012
Authors: Austin Briggs

A year’s worth of negotiations has paid off for CSU and INTO, a UK-based private company that partners with universities to attract and recruit international undergraduates and graduates.

Finalized in February, the partnership between INTO and the university will increase enrollment of international students at CSU next year by up to 100 students. In five years, international enrollment is expected to rise to 1,000 additional students.

Since 2006, INTO has successfully launched partnerships with 14 universities in the UK, the United States and Asia.

“The INTO network around the world is remarkable,” said Jim Cooney, CSU’s vice provost of International Affairs. “There are other programs that are somewhat similar to INTO, but CSU felt that this was by far the best choice for us.”

Cooney said CSU has worked extremely hard and seen success the last three years in cultivating programs with China to bring international students to the university. Although they reaped many benefits and deepened ties with various entities in China, those efforts, Cooney said, were “time consuming and expensive.”

“We simply do not have the resources to make similar efforts in countries like Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey,” he added.

Enrollment of international students at CSU is important for two reasons, said Intensive English Program Director Margaret Gough. By bringing international students into classrooms and residence halls, CSU students will work, live and socialize with people from all over the world.

This, according to Gough, will allow students to gain an understanding and appreciation of different cultures.

“It’s a refreshing, broadening experience and we’re bringing it to campus,” Gough said. “I believe we’re like a mini United Nations right here. More international students just spreads the wealth throughout CSU.”

The other reason is financial. With budget cuts for higher education becoming the norm, schools have to find creative ways to increase revenues without having to rely on the fickle nature of state funding.

By increasing enrollment of international students, who pay out-of-state tuition, CSU will have an additional revenue stream.

Under the terms of the partnership, INTO will be responsible for recruiting students from around the world while also implementing support systems for the students once they come to campus.

CSU retains full control over the curriculum, which will be administered by the current Intensive English Program and taught by university professors.

INTO employee and CSU Interim Center Director Liz Munro has temporarily relocated from the UK to make sure the transition runs smoothly. She said INTO and CSU will collaborate to make sure international students will have access to resources like tutoring and a support system to help them succeed.

“The INTO CSU Center will provide a supportive environment for students while they acclimatize to being away from home, coping with the language, the different food and a new culture,” Munro said.

The new program will provide three separate learning tracks for international students to choose from at CSU.

Students with advanced English language skills will go into the pathways program. This is a combination of English language instruction with credit-bearing intro level classes on campus. After one or two semesters in the pathways program, students will matriculate into full-time classes at CSU.

The academic English track is designed for students with beginner or intermediate levels of English. Students will take non-credit bearing classes that focus entirely on English acquisition. Once they graduate, they can move into the pathways program or directly to the university.

The general English track is a four-week English program designed for people like international businessmen or travelers that may not want a long-term commitment at a university, but want to improve their English.

To accommodate the influx of students, both Alder and Spruce Halls will undergo renovations and expansions starting next week and continue over the next few years.

Collegian writer Austin Briggs can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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