Universities use cultural bridge to lure foreign students

As the anthropology instructor engaged her class, a fault line quickly developed. American students answered and asked questions, even offered opinions, but the foreigners - half the class, most from China - sat in silence. It became clear that some had understood little of the lecture at Oregon State University and were not ready to be enrolled. In fact, they are not, at least not yet, writes Richard Perez-Pena for The New York Times.

Instead, those students fit into a fast-growing and lucrative niche in higher education, of efforts to increase enrolment of foreigners with transitional programmes to bridge the cultural divide - often a chasm - between what it means to be a college student in their own countries and in the United States.

Oregon State's programme, a joint venture with a private company Into University Partnerships, prepares students to move into the university's mainstream after a year, as Oregon State sophomores. Recruitment from overseas is an increasingly important financial bright spot at a time when state support for higher education has dropped to historic lows, research grants are declining, consumers are objecting to tuition increases, and the supply of college-age Americans is stagnant.
Full report on The New York Times site