International student enrollment has decreased

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Political climate also weighs heavy on student enrollment, the coordinator said.

By Marissa Macias

Enrollment of international students has declined at this college by 75 percent since 2014.

In 2014, 400 international students were enrolled, and now it is down to 99, Patrice Ballard, coordinator of international student services, said Feb. 28.

The majority of the 99 students enrolled at this college are from Vietnam, Mexico and India.

In spring 2019, international tuition was raised by $46 per credit hour from $463 to $499.

In-district tuition per credit hour as of fall 2018 was $86, while out-of-district tuition was $202 per credit hour.

Tuition for in-district and out-of-district students was raised by $13. In-district tuition is now $99 per credit hour and out-of-district tuition is $215 per credit hour.

The district has the highest tuition in the state for international students, English-as-a-second language Coordinator Anna Budzinski said Feb. 28.

“That’s why enrollment is so low,” Budzinski said. “We’re just not attractive for those students.”

President Robert Vela gave a presentation about the international tuition rates to the district board of trustees in October, Ballard said.

“We were told that because the new chancellor has new initiatives coming forward that the international student tuition was going to be put on hold for a year,” Ballard said.

Palo Alto College President Mike Flores became the chancellor of Alamo Colleges beginning in the fall.

The office of international student services has been told the board of trustees is discussing the heightened tuition rate now, Ballard said.

“At this point, we’re not sure where we are at in terms of international tuition because we are being told two different things,” Ballard said.

“I don’t know if they have tabled the conversation like they said they were going to or if they are working behind the scenes to do something for fall,” Ballard said.

The international student services office is trying to promote the creation of two tuition rates instead of the three implemented — in district and out-of-district, Ballard said.

The international and non-Texas student tuition rates would be eliminated and international and non-Texas students would pay out-of-district rates instead, Ballard said.

“So basically the international student tuition would go from $499 per credit hour to $215,” Ballard said.

Various political situations also affect international student enrollment, Budzinski said.

“At the end of the ’70s there was an increase of Iranian students because of the situation in Iran,” Budzinski said. “With the political turmoil a lot of students came here,”

The Iranian Revolution of 1978-79 was an uprising in Iran that resulted in the establishment of an Islamic republic and nationwide unrest.

After Sept. 11, enrollment of international students decreased because of the restrictions and challenges of obtaining an international visa, Budzinski said.

International students also share cultural influences among students on this campus, Budzinski said.

“Meeting international students on this college campus is a good opportunity to learn about other cultures and open minds,” Budzinski said.

Through meeting international students, American students can be encouraged change their way of thinking or taking language courses that were not originally their intention, Budzinski said.

“In general, it will raise some kind of curiosity and curiosity is always good,” Budzinski said.

For more information on the tuition rates for international students, visit or contact Patrice Ballard at 210-486-1720.

For advising, contact Anna Budzinski at 210-486-0971 or email


1 Comment

  1. lance johnson on

    Sadly, Trump’s contentious issue is affecting enrollments and is yet one more thing that makes being an international student away from home difficult, compounded by our complex culture and language problems. Welcoming and assimilation assistance must come from numerous sources, including the White House, to aid these young people embarking on life’s journey. Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and even informative books to extend a cultural helping hand.
    Something that might help anyone coming to the US is the award-winning worldwide book/ebook “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.” Used in foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it identifies how “foreigners” have become successful in the US, including students.
    It explains how to cope with a confusing new culture and friendship process, and daunting classroom differences. It explains how US businesses operate and how to get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to work with/for an American firm here or overseas.
    It also identifies the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.
    Good luck to all at Alamo or wherever you study or wherever you come from, because that is the TRUE spirit of the American PEOPLE, not a few in government who shout the loudest! Supporters of int’l students must shout louder.

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