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IPFW looking abroad for enrollment boost

Armed with a dreary enrollment report from the fall semester, IPFW leaders spent Monday discussing ways to get students on campus by reaching out to international partners.

IPFW officials recently reported an enrollment of 13,449, a drop of about 2.3 percent.

In March, Vice Chancellor for Financial Affairs Walt Branson, announced that $100,000 would be allocated for international travel to improve relationships between IPFW and international universities and increasing the number of international students on campus.

The money was set aside for IPFW faculty and staff to establish agreements internationally in hopes of increasing the enrollment of international students, Stanley Davis, interim Vice Chancellor for Financial Affairs, said Monday during the IPFW Senate meeting.

The proposed agreements included student exchange programs, dual-degree programs, research agreements, faculty exchanges, workshops, seminars and other special programs, Davis said.

In the past, funding for international trips has been disbursed on a case-by-case basis, but administrators wanted to create a more objective process, Davis explained.

Nancy Virtue, associate professor of French in the department of International Language and Culture Studies, questioned university leaders on the decision to prioritize international travel.

Although she agrees with setting aside funding to encourage international students to attend IPFW, Virtue said leaders should also discuss using part of the funding for bringing more international students to campus.

“If the whole stated purpose of putting out money to establish these agreements to internationalize the campus – and money has been generated from those efforts – doesn’t it make sense to put some of that money at least into other internalization efforts,” she said.

IPFW’s international student enrollment has increased since the fall of 2010 and the campus has received more than $1.9 million in tuition and fees from those students, Davis said.

In that time, 11 students have been admitted into dual-degree programs and 19 have been admitted through direct enrollment agreements. More than 60 others have been accepted as part of exchange programs, Davis said.

International students currently account for 1.7 percent of IPFW’s total enrollment, according to Peter Dragnev, speaker for Purdue faculty.

In comparison, 16 percent of students at Purdue University in West Lafayette are international students and at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, international students account for 5 percent of the student population, Dragnev said. “IPFW, I think, has a ways to go in this and that’s a great opportunity,” Dragnev said. “ … It will provide our own region with this international experience for the students and the community.”