Foreign Student Flows: Their Significance for American Higher Education

As university and college administrators make difficult decisions in the coming years about the quality, scale, and composition of their student bodies and the financial health of their institutions, these administrators often will have to take into account the role of foreign students. IIE, therefore, designed a conference that would enable administrators from different types of institutions to explore further the opportunities and problems that foreign students may create.

For the particular agenda of the conference, therefore, two background papers were prepared which examined data on the flows of foreign and domestic students and on the costs that foreign students entail for U.S. colleges and universities.

One paper, by Alex Inkeles of the Hoover Institution and his colleague Larry Sirowy, attempts to put the nature and scale of the flows of foreign students to the United States in the context of worldwide patterns of student mobility. The second paper, by Lewis Solmon of the University of California at Los Angeles and his colleague Ruth Beddow, deals with flows of foreign and American students to U.S. colleges and universities, as well as with the average costs of foreign students to different kinds of institutions. Preliminary findings from a third study by Stephen Hoenack and William Weiler of the University of Minnesota, which deals with the marginal costs of foreign students, were also presented at the conference.