Shifts in international students' enrollment at DePauw

Photo courtesy of DePauw University

In the last 10 years, DePauw University has watched its total enrollment decrease to a record low this year of 1724 students. However, during that same period, the number of international students has been on the rise, from 185 to 291.

Beth Haymaker, director of international student affairs, attributes that increase to Loutif Jirari, assistant vice president for international enrollment at DePauw. Jirari has been engaged in international student recruitment since 2008. He travels to different countries in the world and gave recruitment before COVID-19. Last year when the pandemic happened, Jirari started online enrollment and attended many virtual events in different countries outside the U.S.

“Keeping the relationship with the former students 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 keeps in contact with the alumni from DePauw and continues to get help from them.

Before COVID-19, Jirari traveled to different countries and visited high schools. When he went to different cities in China, he met with the alumni there and got help from them in advertising DePauw. The alumni helped Jirari to do admission events in hotels. They invited high school students with their parents and high school counselors to come. DePauw also built relationships with organizations and schools outside the United States. During the pandemic, Jirari could not travel to other countries. “I would like to have more students because if there are no students, then why would I be here?” Jirari said. After that, he decided to sign up for many virtual events. There were some virtual affairs in Russia, South Africa and Brazil. Jirari started it right away, even if it was at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m.

“The other reason why we have many international students these years is that DePauw does really well on the financial aid,” Haymaker said. Haymaker works in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion helping Jirari with international students’ admission. DePauw gives similar financial aid to international students and domestic students. The only difference is domestic students will get Federal Student Aid, unlike international students.

Outof 291 current international students for the class of 2025, 53 are Vietnamese. However, prior to 2019, DePauw only had 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 in Vietnam last year. “Students want to hear the experience from the real students here at DePauw,” Troy said. He shared his experience at DePauw through his YouTube channel with more than 10,000 subscribers. Many Vietnamese high schoolers contacted him to get more information through Facebook and other social media. During the pandemic, he represented Vietnam in two reception events to welcome the class of 2025. “I would like to say the reason why DePauw has more international students’ enrollment these years is because we keep joining more events and building connections.” Nguyen said.

This is a stacked quote. Rewrite paragraph this way: Menghan Xie, a freshman, said she was glad she made the choice to come to Depauw. “DePauw offered me a good scholarship. Compared to many private schools, DePauw provides a diverse and inclusive learning environment for international students to adapt more quickly and easily.”