Skyline international student population grows

Skyline College’s international student program has recently shown an increase in the number of international students enrolled, with 140 students from 34 countries here this semester.

The program accepted 46 new students, the majority of whom are from China. This is the fifth semester that has shown an increase in enrollment by international students at Skyline.

One reason for the attraction of many international students is the school’s proximity to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, according to Wissem Bennani, international student program manager.

“These are two places that are really well known internationally,” Bennani said.

Another factor that attracts students to Skyline is affordable tuition. Unlike four-year institutions, Skyline offers relatively inexpensive tuition to international students. The average cost of tuition for international students at Skyline is about $6,400 a year compared to roughly $30,000 at a four-year college.

Overall, however, international students pay more money than domestic students, whether it is at a four-year institution or a community college.

“That’s a country wide policy,” Bennani said. “It’s a big income for the U.S. economy.”

That gives Skyline a boost in income as well. The tuition that international students pay per unit is more than what the average student pays because it includes a capital outlay fee, an enrollment fee, and foreign student tuition.

Along with the relatively inexpensive tuition rate, Skyline also offers conditional admission for transfer students through the TAG (Transfer Admission Guarantee) program. Therefore, international students who attend Skyline have the option of applying for TAG at select colleges with which Skyline has partnerships. Some of these schools are in California and some are out of state. The transfer admission is based upon the completion of certain requirements in the TAG program.

International students use Skyline as a stepping stone to get into a four-year institution. They can stay for two years and get their 60 units, then transfer to a four-year college, according to Wissem.

As for the selection process for international students, there are admission requirements they have to fulfill before being accepted. One of those requirements includes proof of English language proficiency.

The benefits of having international students at our school offers diversity and an opportunity to meet new people from around the world without having to go to other countries.

One student, Yidi Feng, is studying electrical engineering in hopes of transferring to San Jose State University after getting an associate’s degree.

“I like it here…the environment is good,” Feng said, in response to how he liked living in the Bay Area.

This is Feng’s third semester, along with Mark Gustave, a student from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, who is studying engineering and has the same hopes of transferring to either SJSU or University of California, Berkeley after achieving an associate’s degree.

“I like it a lot,” Gustave said, adding that transitioning was hard at first, but that he found resources at school to help him.