International Student Program At CCC

International Student Program
at Contra Costa College

CCC has recently embarked on a concerted effort to increase and diversify its international student body. Currently for the fall 2009 semester, CCC reports 150 F-1 (full-time international students) from 22 countries; in addition there are a number of international students under other visa categories as well and they constitute additional potential residents of the proposed international student housing.

The publication Open Doors 2008 (the Institute for International Education’s annual report on international programs in the United States) finds that 86,683 international students were enrolled at community colleges in 2007/08, a 3% increase over the previous year (it had increased over 4% the previous year). Contra Costa College has experienced an 8% growth rate over the past two days mirroring the trend in community college attendance for international students throughout the United States. In addition, among the top ten community colleges in numbers of international students, 3 are in California, supporting the contention the California remains the preferred study destination for these students.

In addition, Open Doors lists the following as countries with the greatest number of students studying at community colleges:

Countries of Origin
  1. South Korea
  2. Japan
  3. Vietnam
  4. China
  5. Mexico
  6. Hong Kong
  7. Taiwan
  8. India
  9. Nepal
  10. Indonesia

CCC has students from all of these countries and is currently focusing its direct marketing and recruitment efforts on all but Mexico and Nepal. It is assumed this will best insure access to the most potent sources of future students. As this marketing effort succeeds, the plan is to expand recruitment to other countries in the interest of diversity. Significantly, CCC also has a number of students currently studying from a number of nations in Africa.

Open Doors further reports that Business/Management, Intensive English, Health Professions and Math and Computer Sciences are the most popular fields of study for international students in community colleges. Significantly these are majors that have strong reputations in the college. There is a trend at CCC toward the health professions (nursing programs) and Intensive English. CCC is particularly well poised to exploit this area as it has a “No-TOEFL” admission policy wherein students do not need to have college level English language proficiency in order to be admitted. This is a function of CCC’s exemplary credit Intensive English Program. Indeed if any factor has contributed to the growth of international students at CCC over the past years it is this admission feature. This is optimistically seen as a continuing trend as students from such countries as China and Vietnam typically need ESL preparation before beginning their academic program.

Furthermore, Open Doors found that the economic impact of international students for California was $631,936,747 in 2007. In the report on the District International Education Program to the CCCCD Governing Board in December 2008, it was stated that the international students at the three CCCCD colleges in Contra Costa County provided an estimated 32 million dollars to the local economies.

Finally, the Los Angeles Times reported in an April 7, 2009 article that there is a growing trend for community colleges to add dorms or targeted housing to international students due to market and program demands. Some quotes from the article illuminate the nature of this trend:

  • “Experts say rising university tuitions are pushing more traditional college-age students into two-year schools, and community colleges are also aggressively recruiting athletes and international students, who often prefer of need on-campus housing.”
  • “…California would appear to be particularly fertile ground, with both California State University and the University of California shrinking freshman enrollment for the fall.”

The article further highlights Sierra College near Sacramento as drawing students from Japan and even
Canada due to its dormitory and convenient meal card honored at local restaurants (a feature we may want to consider as well). At Santa Barbara City College a local landlord turned four single-family homes into shared housing for international students with great success. And finally the article states the benefit in that “many of the new student housing projects use no public money.” Certainly a critical factor favoring the proposed San Pablo housing project.

Therefore, the trend for more and more students to attend community college, the availability of desirable programs such as credit ESL, nursing and math/computer science and the benefits of nearby dedicated housing, along with CCC’s current increased emphasis on marketing and recruitment provide a positive backdrop for support for this project.

Prepared by Aleks Ilich
August 25, 2009