Changes in International Student Enrollment at DePauw

Photo courtesy of DePauw University

Over the past 10 years, DePauw University has seen its total enrollment decline to a record low this year of 1,724 students. However, during this same period, the number of international students increased from 185 to 291.

Beth Haymaker, director of international student affairs, attributes the increase to Loutif Jirari, assistant vice president for international enrollment at DePauw. Jirari has been engaged in recruiting international students since 2008. He travels to different countries around the world and recruited before COVID-19. Last year when the pandemic hit, Jirari started registering online and attended many virtual events in different countries outside of the United States.

“Keeping the relationship with alumni is very helpful because admission is mostly about relationships,” Jirari said. “We have so many wonderful alumni all over the world, including China, Vietnam and Japan.” He stays in touch with DePauw alumni and continues to get help from them.

Before COVID-19, Jirari traveled to different countries and visited high schools. When he traveled to different cities in China, he met the alumni and got help from them to publicize DePauw. Alumni have helped Jirari organize admission events at hotels. They invited high school students with their parents and high school counselors to come. DePauw also formed relationships with organizations and schools outside the United States. During the pandemic, Jirari was unable to travel to other countries. “I wish I had more students because if there are no students why would I be here?” Jirari said. After that, he decided to register for many virtual events. There have been virtual affairs in Russia, South Africa and Brazil. Jirari started it right away, even though it was 2 or 3 in the morning

“The other reason we’ve had a lot of international students over the past few years is that DePauw is doing very well with financial aid,” Haymaker said. Haymaker works at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and assists Jirari with admissions for international students. DePauw provides similar financial aid to international students and domestic students. The only difference is that domestic students will receive federal student aid while international students will not.

Out of 291 current international students for the Class of 2025, 53 are Vietnamese. However, before 2019, DePauw had only a few Vietnamese students per class. “We have a Vietnamese student who helps us advertise DePauw in Vietnam. He attracted many Vietnamese students for DePauw this year,” Haymaker said.

Troy Tien Nguyen, a junior, is a Vietnamese student who helped DePauw recruit students to Vietnam last year. “Students want to hear the experience of real students here at DePauw,” Troy said. He shared his experience at DePauw via his YouTube channel with over 10,000 subscribers. Many Vietnamese high school students contacted him for more information through Facebook and other social media. During the pandemic, he represented Vietnam at two reception events to welcome the class of 2025. “I would like to say that the reason DePauw has more international student enrollment these years is because we continue to participate to more events and to make connections.” Nguyen said.

This is a stacked quote. Rewrite the paragraph this way: Menghan Xie, a first-year student, said she was glad she made the choice to come to Depauw. “DePauw offered me a good scholarship. Compared to many private schools, DePauw offers a diverse and inclusive learning environment that makes it quicker and easier for international students to adapt.


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