Public Schools Woo Foreign Students to Boost Ranks

American colleges have already started to widely recruit overseas in China, but now it seems that American high schools are also hoping to attract more  students from China. From Yahoo News:

Northern Maine is 7,000 miles and a world away from China, but that’s not stopping a school superintendent from recruiting Chinese students to attend public high school in this remote mill town.

Faced with declining enrollments and shrinking revenues, public school districts from Maine to California are seeking out students from overseas, particularly China, to attend their high schools. At least two public schools in Maine have 10 tuition-paying Chinese students in classes this year, and the superintendent in Millinocket is the latest to set his sights on China.

It’s a growing trend: Other schools are doing the same in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia and Washington, according to a student recruitment agency in San Francisco.

Next fall, Millinocket Superintendent Ken Smith hopes to have at least 60 Chinese students — each paying $13,000 in tuition and another $11,000 for room and board — at Stearns High School. Stearns at one time had close to 700 high school students, but enrollment has fallen over the years to under 200 this year.

The first-year batch is now being signed up, Smith said, with plans for more international students in the years ahead. Local students will benefit by being exposed to those from abroad, and Chinese students will gain from being immersed in the local culture, he said.

American schools have been aware of just how lucrative foreign students from China can be.  USAToday has a profile on Chinese college students studying in Nebraska:

There are also economic benefits to hosting foreign students in the USA.

They contributed nearly $18 billion last year in tuition and living expenses to the U.S. economy, including about $89 million in Nebraska, according to a November report from the Institute of International Education. Though it’s costly for colleges to recruit abroad, that population “has the potential to be a significant source of revenue,” says University of Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman.

Nearly half (47%) of Chinese undergraduates, and 29% of all foreign undergraduates, receive some discounts on their tuition based on their academic record. But most international students, including Sun, pay the entire non-resident rate for tuition and fees – about $18,000 this year.

That’s money the school otherwise might not have seen, because Nebraska’s high-school-age population is declining.