Public colleges are luring international students to cope with state budget cuts

When public colleges are strapped for cash, they turn to international students to fill the void.

For every 10% drop in the level of funding states provided to their public universities between 1996 and 2012, public research universities increased their enrollment of foreign students by 12% and the colleges that spend the most on their students boosted international enrollment by 17%, according to a working paper published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research. But not all institutions are equally likely to use this approach — it’s those colleges that both have an international reputation and were hardest hit by state cuts that have turned to international students to fill the void, the study found.

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