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News Last Updated: Oct 18th, 2006 - 15:16:47


Institute of English enrollment numbers rise; Japanese students lead way on admissions list
By Katie Dickerson
Oct 18, 2006, 15:13

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Johnny Huynh’s uncle told him good things about Seattle Central’s Institute of English (SCIE), and he decided to check it out for himself.
“I like the school because I can choose my classes by myself and I like the environment here,” said Huynh, a Vietnamese student in his second quarter.
Seattle Central Institute of English (SCIE) co-director Tom Davis says there is “new energy, enthusiasm, and diversity” this year among the program’s students and faculty due to its expanding student body.
Enrollment of international students has risen this fall from approximately 561 students in 2005 to about 771 in 2006. While the number of international students enrolled in credit programs has jumped a healthy 20 percent, the sharpest increase in enrollment has been seen at the SCIE, which is up 75 percent. Enrollment at the SCIE increased from 182 students last year to 316 this fall.
Davis attributes this to several factors, including improving economic conditions in many Asian countries and diminishing fears of flying in the United States. Approximately 90 percent of Seattle Central’s international community is of Asian descent. However, he says, the number one reason outgoing students gave in surveys for choosing Seattle Central was word of mouth.
That was the case for Trang Pham of Vietnam. “My brother and sister came to this school and suggested that I come here because the teaching is good,” Pham said. Pham, who transferred to the SCIE after a year at Edmonds Community College, says she “came to study,” and that “English is very important now.” Pham plans to eventually move on to Seattle Central’s main campus and then to a four year college.
In the past few years, enrollment has been down among international students. Program Coordinator David Roseberry suggests that there may have been a “perception of difficulty” for many students who wanted to get the necessary F1 Visas after September 11th. However, every agency that Roseberry’s office contacted said that they had not decreased the amount of visas they were issuing. Other circumstances, such as changing demographics in Japan, may also have attributed to the slump in attendance.
Last year, Vietnamese students represented the sixth largest population of international students. This year, Vietnam is tied for second, accounting for about 17 percent of the total international student population. The largest population is from Japan at 21 percent, and South Korea accounts for about 16 percent.
Roseberry says that this is the largest total number of enrolled International Students in the 13 years that he has been at the school.
A new program called the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) requires international students to electronically submit information about themselves to immigration officials, in order to anxiety over fraud at the agencies. As a result, the school has admitted international students this year from new countries, like Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The increase in enrollment benefits the school financially. International students pay between $12,645 and $13,557 a year, significantly more than out of state students.
In order to accommodate the growing student body, the SCIE has added 12 additional course sections and hired seven new instructors, bringing the count to 18 full- and part-time staff members. The program has six levels and is divided into two sections, the Intensive English Program (levels 1-3) and the College Bridge and Advanced English Program (level 4-6). Each level takes one semester to complete and students are given placement tests to determine their entrance level. After completion of the 3rd level (Intermediate English), they may choose to move on to the program’s advanced elective studies at the SCIE or to the College Bridge Program. Students who complete the College Bridge Program are then able to transition to Seattle Central without a TOELF score. Tom Davis says the program “allows students to progress smoothly into college.” The program offers services such as tutoring and counseling, and there are plans to offer a greater variety of courses in the future.


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