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UA achieves record international student enrollment

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Carly Markovich | The Daily Wildcat

The University of Arizona's Global Center holds different offices for international student relations. A record number of international students enrolled at the UA in 2021. 

According to the University of Arizona’s fall 2021 census, the university has set a new record of 5,400 international students, both on the main campus and around the globe, enrolled in degree-seeking programs. This record was achieved despite a 15% decline in international student enrollment nationally, according to a recent Institute of International Education's Open Doors report.

"These numbers reflect a coordinated and holistic approach to global education that was a pillar of the university’s strategic plan long before [COVID-19]," said UA Vice President for Global Affairs and Dean of Global Education Brent White, in a UA press release. "This approach involves meeting students wherever they are and providing opportunities to earn a [UA] degree in their home country, at the main campus in Tucson, online or any combination of the three. Our global enrollment was growing before the pandemic and has only accelerated since then."

Thousands of students from over 100 different countries earn their degrees at the UA’s main campus.

“What it means to me to be an international student at the UA is the fact that I get to share my experiences with the people around me,” said international freshman student Sophia Bernhardt. “I get to compare the different TV shows I watched compared to my friends while growing up. I get to meet other international students and share experiences as well which I always find very exciting being so far away from home. Overall, I really love this school and everything it has to offer.”

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Bernhardt is an international student from Germany, and after her first semester at the UA, she said she is already in love with the campus.

“What brought me to the UA was honestly the amazing vibe on campus,” Bernhardt said. “I love how everything is so close together and it really is the dream campus.”

According to the census, 3,097 international students attend classes on the UA's main campus and 2,073 are enrolled in programs outside of the U.S.

The UA has made it possible for students to seek a degree from anywhere in the world by creating new chances and ways for students to earn a degree, stay on track or begin a new degree program.

"The online degree options we have created are making a huge difference to students who needed flexibility in these uncertain times," said Stephanie Adamson, assistant dean for global admissions and enrollment, in the UA press release. "We are making sure those students who need to can pursue their degree from their home country. We are truly living up to our international admissions’ motto: ‘Everywhere you are.’”

Along with international undergraduate students, the population of international graduate students has increased as well. According to a press release, international graduate student enrollment is up 128% over fall 2020. International students make up 15% of the new graduate student population.


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