UI sees increase in international graduate students

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By Stacey Murray, The Daily Iowan

University of Iowa officials are expecting to see a rise in international students in the graduate programs this fall, a trend that exists at the national level.

Graduate College Dean John Keller said the UI expects somewhere close to a 12 percent increase in the number of international students in its graduate programs.

Nationally, there was a 9 percent increase in the number of international students attending graduate schools, according to the Council of Graduate Schools.

Keller believes that the quality of the education offered by the university is the cause for the international students choosing to be Hawkeyes.

“Many students want to pursue graduate education, mostly as a direct result of the quality of programs that correlates with the faculty,” Keller said.

In 2011, 1,266 international students attended graduate school at the UI.  An increase of 12 percent would put the tally at more than 1,400 students at the graduate level.

The three-week report for the UI that breaks down the number of international students in graduate school hasn’t yet been released to give a final count. That report should be available at the end of this week.

Keller believes the UI’s attempts to make its presence known in Asia led the recruitment of international students. The UI’s faculty and research connections enticed many of the international students to make the move to Iowa City.

A number of the international students researched or worked with studies overseas that originated from the university. The students then decided after those opportunities to continue their educational endeavors at the UI.

This was the reason Azar Eslam Panah, a student from Iran, chose to continue her education in Iowa.

Eslam Panah studied as an undergraduate and received a master’s degree in Iran at the Sharhood University of Technology. She then chose the University of Iowa for a graduate degree in mechanical engineering.

“The University of Iowa is very strong in mechanical engineering, so I decided to come here,” she said.

The Ph.D. student has enjoyed the opportunities granted to her through work with the university. Not only has she enjoyed studying in Iowa, she even hopes to find a job in the state following her studies.

“I’ve worked recently in the lab and on different experiments.  It’s very interesting and exciting,” she said. “There are many nice people here; I like it quite a bit.”

While UI officials expect an increase in graduate international students, officials at both the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University say this isn’t the case.

While official numbers won't be released until later this week, Kristi Marchesani of UNI admissions office believes that although officials have seen an increase in applications at the undergraduate level, this increase doesn’t exist at the graduate level — at least not this year.

“We had a slight decrease in applications, which means almost a certain decrease for our graduate level,” Marchesani said.

Although UNI expects to see a dip in the number of graduate international students, Iowa State University officials anticipate educating a similar number.

“We don't have any official numbers, but we are anticipating roughly the same as last year,” Tim Tessar, an official from the Iowa State admissions office, said.

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