Bringing more foreign students to the campuses of Oregon's universities is a good thing. The international exposure is good for our students. Maybe some of those foreign students will bring needed perspectives and skills to our state's economy. And maybe OSU will make money off the fees charged. So, on the one hand, I want to applaud OSU for its partnering with ONTO to do so. However, on the other hand, I worry that Oregon already sends far fewer of our students to study abroad compared with students from other countries who come to Oregon to study. I worry that the financial incentives and desire to expand programs on campuses in Oregon are far greater than incentives to send Oregon students to other countries.
The NY Times article "College and Company Link UpTo Lure Foreigner" is here.
Last month, Oregon State University announced a joint venture with INTO University Partnerships, a privately held British firm, for a program to start in fall 2009. INTO, which also runs similar programs at several British universities, is in discussions with other American universities.
At Oregon State, INTO and the university will split the tuition from the program — probably the university’s out-of-state rate, almost $19,000.
Sabah Randhawa, executive vice president of Oregon State, said the university had, for several years, wanted to double its international student body, but has lacked “the resources to develop the infrastructure to sustain recruiting overseas.”
Oregon officials said the program will help diversify the student body, as well as bring in $15 million to $25 million dollars a year, while allowing the university to retain academic control. They cited the experience at INTO’s first partner, the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, where they said the program grew to 540 students in two years, with two-thirds continuing into the degree programs.
But at some British universities, instructors fought INTO programs, saying they were worried that the company would be more interested in profit than in teaching. Some Oregon State faculty were also wary.
“In November, they told us they were thinking about this great program that wouldn’t cost the university anything and would generate millions of dollars,” said Deborah Healey, who until recently directed the university’s English Language Institute.
But even though the institute faculty, with their long years of experience, have been promised they will remain university employees, new instructors hired for the program, she said, are likely to be INTO employees, with less college teaching experience.
Mr. Randhawa said that while the university will definitely play a role in hiring instructors for the program, it has not yet been decided whether they will be INTO or university employees.
Link to OSU press release is here.