International Educator - September/October 2019 - 26

NEARLY
ONE IN SIX
of the 450,000 international
undergraduates studying in the United
States are enrolled at associate's
colleges. Yet, community colleges face
a number of challenges when it comes
to international student recruitment,
experts say. While institutions across
the United States have seen declines
in international student enrollment in
recent years, community colleges often
grapple with some added obstacles, from
a lack of name recognition overseas to
limited recruiting resources.
However, their open access policies
and ability to adapt to serve different
student groups also create opportunities.
When community colleges break
through the crowded market and
educate prospective students on the
overwhelming benefits of their schools,
it yields big results.

An Education on Multiple Levels
For community colleges, one of the
biggest challenges to recruitment is a
general lack of understanding among
international students about the U.S.
community college model, says Samira
Pardanani, executive director for
international education at Shoreline
Community College. Shoreline has seen
its share of misperceptions surrounding
26

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR S E P T + O C T.2019

the U.S. community college experience
over the 40 years that it has been hosting
international students.
Few other countries have educational
systems that offer open access (no
application required), both academic
and vocational programs, and the option
to transfer to a four-year institution,
Pardanani explains.
"Anytime we go into a new market,
we expect that we're going to be
doing a lot of education about what a
community college is," she says. "This
idea of stackable credentials and students
being able to change majors is a pretty
foreign concept in a lot of countries
where there's a lot more rigidity in the
higher education system."
The recruitment process often begins
with an explanation of the 2+2 model
and then covers the benefits and services
the college offers.
A secondary obstacle to tackle is
brand awareness-something that many
four-year institutions struggle with, too.
Community colleges that do not have
global recognition or the draw of a wellknown metropolitan area often face a
steeper climb in recruiting international
students who seek a certain level of
institutional reputation.
Kirkwood Community College, in
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, enrolls around 400
international students per year. Dawn
Wood, Kirkwood's dean of international
programs, says the school encounters a
dual challenge when it comes to getting
the word out about the institution.
"First, we have to explain what a
community college is. And second, we
have to explain where the heck Iowa
is," she says. "There's this really long
conversation before you ever get to the
point of finding out what the student is
interested in."
They also have to correct the
misconception that an education at a twoyear college is not as prestigious as going
to a four-year institution, says Catherine
Weir, interim associate dean of Santa
Monica College (SMC)'s International

Education Center. (Like Kirkwood in
2019, SMC received the Senator Paul
Simon Award for Comprehensive Campus
Internationalization in 2017.) The reality
is that the 2+2 model allows students who
start at community colleges to end up with
the same bachelor's degree as students who
enrolled directly at four-year institutions.

Solutions for Students' Needs
Given their size, community colleges are
often able to make certain adjustments
to accommodate the changing needs of
students-a factor that helps them to
stand out within the higher education
market. Shoreline is among the top
25 hosting associate's colleges in the
United States, enrolling close to 1,000
international students in 2017-18. It is
also one of eight community colleges in
the Seattle, Washington, area that rank
among the nation's top 40 associate's
colleges. One reason for their success in
recruiting international students: Many of
Washington State's community colleges
offer on-campus residence halls, which
are relatively rare at most associate's
colleges. Shoreline, for instance, will open
dorms this year.
"The community colleges that
have the large international student
populations tend to be the ones that
have really committed and created an
infrastructure not only for recruitment,
but also to provide comprehensive
services to international students to
meet their unique needs," Pardanani says.
In addition to those services,
community colleges offer international
students a number of benefits ranging
from less expensive tuition to smaller
class sizes. The total estimated cost of
attendance, including room and board, for
a nonresident student enrolled at Shoreline
is $19,362. For the same student, the
total price tag at the nearby University of
Washington would be $56,984.

Recruitment Strategies
On top of the unique recruitment
considerations community colleges



International Educator - September/October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - September/October 2019

From the Desk of
In Brief
Global Spotlight: Chile
Quick Questions
Feature: Countering the Forces of Change
Feature: Raising the Bar
Feature: Branching Out
Education Abroad
International Student Affairs
International Enrollment Management
International Education Leadership
Forum
Take 5
International Educator - September/October 2019 - Cover1
International Educator - September/October 2019 - Cover2
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 1
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 2
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 3
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 4
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 5
International Educator - September/October 2019 - From the Desk of
International Educator - September/October 2019 - In Brief
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 8
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 9
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 10
International Educator - September/October 2019 - Global Spotlight: Chile
International Educator - September/October 2019 - Quick Questions
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 13
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 14
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 15
International Educator - September/October 2019 - Feature: Countering the Forces of Change
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 17
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 18
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 19
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 20
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 21
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 22
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 23
International Educator - September/October 2019 - Feature: Raising the Bar
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 25
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 26
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 27
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 28
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 29
International Educator - September/October 2019 - Feature: Branching Out
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 31
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 32
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 33
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 34
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 35
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 36
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 37
International Educator - September/October 2019 - Education Abroad
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 39
International Educator - September/October 2019 - International Student Affairs
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 41
International Educator - September/October 2019 - International Enrollment Management
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 43
International Educator - September/October 2019 - International Education Leadership
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 45
International Educator - September/October 2019 - Forum
International Educator - September/October 2019 - 47
International Educator - September/October 2019 - Take 5
International Educator - September/October 2019 - Cover3
International Educator - September/October 2019 - Cover4
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