Washburn University is home to nearly 200 international students. When it comes to paying for school, there is no difference between them and the rest of the student population.
An international student can be classified as a foreign student that has obtained either an F1 or J1 visa. These students are often part of exchange programs with specific universities in China. Washburn students and the students from the Chinese universities essentially swap schools for semesters at a time, benefiting both the students and the universities alike.
The students gain perspective on a completely new culture and the universities gain students from different cultures that can broaden the learning experience of native students.
Some might assume that these students receive scholarships to attend school overseas. However, Xuejing Ran, mass media senior, knows from experience that this is not the case.
“I have attended Washburn for four semesters now,” said Ran. “In those four semesters I have never received scholarships or funding for my education. All of my expenses are paid by my family. It is a choice you make to come to America and study. We do not expect funding from the American university.”
Heidi Staerkel, coordinator of international student services, also said that it was rare for international students to receive scholarships initially.
“A vast majority of our international students do not receive scholarships initially. Students who have been a part of the program for several semesters are more likely to obtain scholarships,” said Staerkel.
According to Staerkel, the scholarship availability among competing universities is nearly the same. She said that the disparity between numbers of international students among these competing schools is based on the courses available to the international student.
“Schools such as Emporia State University, Fort Hays University and Pittsburg State University do have higher numbers as far as international students are concerned,” said Starkel. “However, this is not due to the amount of scholarships given. The disparity lies in the fact that these universities offer more academic programs. For example, Pittsburgh State offers a graduate program in engineering and many international students take interest in that program. That something we can’t control.”
International students do not expect scholarships from the universities they choose to attend. Staerkel described that the international students are just as likely to obtain scholarships as traditional students.
“Our degree seeking international students, in most all cases, have the same opportunities for scholarship money as the universities degree seeking traditional students. However, many of our international students are not degree seeking and because they are not seeking a degree they are not able to obtain Washburn University scholarships. Many international students choose to spend shorter amounts of time abroad.” Said Staerkel.
Despite the fact that many international students do not receive scholarships to assist in the funding of their education based on their degree seeking or non-seeking status’, the international house prides itself on broadening the education of their participating students in any way that they are able.