Foothill, De Anza defend policy | July 23, 2010 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - July 23, 2010

Foothill, De Anza defend policy

Charge that foreign students push out locals is untrue, top officials say

by Nick Veronin

Foreign students aren't to blame for local community college students having a hard time getting into classes, district officials say. Recent news reports suggesting that schools are recruiting international students as cash cows and disregarding the needs of California students in the process are off base, at least when it comes to the programs at Foothill and De Anza, according to the two community colleges' presidents.

International students are not eligible for state subsidies and therefore pay much higher tuition than California residents to attend public schools. At Foothill and De Anza they pay $148 per unit, nearly nine times more than California residents, who pay $17 per unit.

The question is getting scrutiny in the press, and by an Alameda County grand jury. Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle questioned in their July 12 column whether it is appropriate for junior colleges to look for students overseas when there may not be enough space for students at home.

The recently released civil grand jury report questioned the foreign recruitment practices of the Peralta Community College District, which has drawn about $4 million this year from foreign student enrollment. And a July 15 article in the Los Angeles Times detailed the University of California's plan to enroll more international students this year "to garner the much higher tuition that nonresident students must pay."

Last year, the Foothill De Anza Community College District brought in $18.6 million — about 10 percent of the district's operating revenue — in non-resident tuition, according to Becky Bartindale, a spokeswoman for the district. The vast majority of non-resident students come from outside the United States, she said. In the fall of 2009, Foothill and De Anza had 3,701 foreign students from nearly 100 countries. Total enrollment in fall 2009 was 44,000.

The district's International Programs Office is dedicated to recruiting and serving international students by helping with housing, visas and other issues. Four representatives from the office spend about 20 to 40 percent of their time overseas promoting Foothill and De Anza, according to Bartindale.

Ross, the Chronicle columnist, said via e-mail that it was not his place to say whether any California community college's recruitment practices were ill advised.

"The question," Ross wrote, "is what's the mission of public colleges in California, and should they be spending lots of money and resources trying to attract foreign students when there may not be enough slots for students already here."

It is true that thousands of students were unable to enroll in the classes they wanted this year, Bartindale said. However, class reductions were a result of state budget cuts that impacted residents and non-residents alike, she said. To conflate those reductions with enrollment of international students would be a mistake, she said.

According to both college presidents, the international student programs at Foothill and De Anza were started long before the current financial crisis — in 1989 — and are not aimed at generating revenue so much as encouraging diversity on campus.

"The original motive is the enduring motive — the educational experience," said Brian Murphy, president of De Anza. "The fundamental educational purposes have become obscured by all the discussion about the finances."

Murphy said he feels that Matier and Ross "misunderstand the origins of the program," a sentiment Judy Miner, president of Foothill, shares.

"As educators, we got into this as part of a deep commitment to teaching and learning," Miner said.

Bringing in students from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds only enriches the education students receive, she said.

In answer to the question posed by Ross, Murphy had an answer:

International students do not deprive local students of seats in Foothill and De Anza classrooms, he said. "Quite the contrary."

"It is true that the program brings in unrestricted revenue to the district," Murphy said. But, according to him, if the district did not get the revenue generated by international student tuition, the colleges would have to cut back on programs. Instead, "we are able to offer more programs to local students."

The way Murphy and Miner see it, bringing foreign students to Foothill and De Anza is a win-win situation. Students gain from the diversity of language, culture, politics and ideas on campus, and the college pulls in extra cash.

"We are not a parochial or nativist culture," Murphy said of Foothill and De Anza. "The history of this state is the integration of people from all over the world. It's the genius of Silicon Valley and the genius of our colleges and universities."


Posted by Marie, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 22, 2010 at 6:33 pm

What Miner said is a load of CARP. I have tried to get into classes and cannot because international students and classes that are cut. International students are given early/priority registration so classes are already filled before I have the chance to register. I have been a California resident ALL my life and cannot get equal treatment at a California college. True, international students do pay a higher fee which does give the college more money. Also, they must take a full load each quarter or they will not be allowed to attend and could be sent back to their countries. These students also apply and get jobs in the area. We are already have the highest unemployment rate in the Bay Area. Foothill and De Anza need to educate the local people first so we may get jobs and be productive. It is not fair for the local, California residents to be denied classes.

Posted by Pele, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 23, 2010 at 6:47 am

Typical scam at the expense of taxpayers. Diversity my butt. The Asian students that attend have no interest of integrating at all, intermingling with native students, just take, take, take. The system is all set up for foreigners to take advantage of while we foot the bill and wait in line.

Posted by John the Man, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 23, 2010 at 10:46 am

Marie, you don't know what the hell you're talking about. By law, those international students CANNOT get jobs in the area while here; their visas explicitly disallow such employment.

Not only do they pay more than resident students, they have to pay the true cost of their attendance and cannot receive any public aid. Because they pay full freight but their marginal cost is much less, their fees are mostly pure profit for the district and (pay attention here) go on to fund programs that ALL students benefit from.

They also cannot enroll in programs that are impacted. So they are not displacing any resident students. If you are having issues with getting a spot on classes, blame ALL the Foothill students around you since enrollment in classes is based on total Foothill units already passed and if you were enrolled in the previous quarter.

Stop whining and grow up a little.

Posted by Lina, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 23, 2010 at 10:27 pm

You may or may not believe of what I am going to say about the International Student. Yes, International student brings revenues for the College but the advantage of it, they are given a job in campus. I hosted an asian itnernational student last year and she was given a job at the International Student Office. The job she is holding right now is supposed to be given to the local student. I think this is not fair for the local student. They look for a job after 3 mos. they are in US. Some of them works somewhere and paid under the table. How do I know this, I asked the student that I hosted last year and she told me that she is working in campus. This is really unfair for the local student who are struggling to get a summer job. I do not agree with this system. The International Student should not be issued a Social Security, should not work be given a job in this country and their visas should not be reclassified, and they should go back to their country after their 2 years or four years of schooling. I asked this student how did she get her social security number and she told me that the school help her out. I am against this system. They are here to get their education but not to displaced the local student.They have all benefits that local student have including getting a job. I think the law regarding the International Student needs to be look at by the government ten times. If you are going to read the immigration law regarding International Student, it says that they can get a job especially if their major are in sciences and business. The Immigration law has been bended for a decade when it comes to International student. I am currently hosting another International Student and I am pretty sure this will not go back to her contry.

Posted by D., a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 23, 2010 at 10:33 pm

If a community college district were to lose even half of the revenue quoted in this story, there would be cuts in classes being offered, which I suspect would mean fewer local people would have access to classes. The state is dealing with reduced tax revenue due to the recession and would not make up this shortfall. In calculating the cost, remember to look at the alternatives.

Posted by D., a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 23, 2010 at 10:33 pm

If a community college district were to lose even half of the revenue quoted in this story, there would be cuts in classes being offered, which I suspect would mean fewer local people would have access to classes. The state is dealing with reduced tax revenue due to the recession and would not make up this shortfall. In calculating the cost, remember to look at the alternatives.

Posted by TheTruth, a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 23, 2010 at 10:48 pm

There is more afoot than that article's well known what groups get financial aid, and what groups do not.

Posted by Help the USA, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 25, 2010 at 6:59 pm

1. No foreign students should take seats if legal residents/US citizens are being denied seats and classes. US taxpayers pay for the public colleges and US citizens should not be denied opportunities in order to accommodate foreign students.

The argument of diversity is specious, since the US welcomes more immigrants than any country in the world. We have a very diverse culture and student body, and diversity of thought is more important than skin color or country.

2. If public colleges want to give preferences to foreign students and deny classes to US citizens, then the colleges should not accept taxpayer money, federal grants or aid, etc. The colleges should become private schools and then they can cater to whomever they prefer.

3. Illegal immigrants should be considered foreign students and should not be able to displace or deny a seat to a US citizen. If a college has open seats after all US citizens, who have applied, have been given the opportunity to take classes and/or enroll, then foreign students and illegal immigrants could be offered the empty seats. But, the illegal immigrants should be required to pay the higher tuition that the foreign students pay and illegal immigrants and foreign students should not receive grants, scholarships, tuition breaks, jobs, etc., those should be reserved for US citizens.

4. Maybe Foothill/De Anza should quit sponsoring and hosting math classes for middle schools students (mainly illegal immigrants) and use the money saved to offer more classes to US citizens.

Posted by Adam, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 26, 2010 at 1:55 am

Miner, Murphy and John the Boy are some of those liars that have helped decimate American education for this generation and probably the next.

First of all, the majority of the foreign students take high-level math and science classes even though they took the same subjects in high school and in college in their own countries. These students already know the subjects very well.

The teachers at Foothill and De Anza love this situation because they don't have to teach and they don't have to learn to teach better. In fact, their teaching ratings go up because they have so many students passing with flying colors. This allows the professors to kick out poorly performing students, mostly Americans in their late teens and early twenties but who had trouble in high school. Thankfully, the teachers' numbers are not affected by pesky local trouble-makers. I did not hear this situation mentioned in the article.

Second, the foreign students take up slots for transfers to UC and Cal State universities. However, that shouldn't matter to John the boy, Miner the embryo and Murphy the microbe because Americans don't matter. Foothill brags about their transfer programs on their page for international students so it must be good for them.

"Foothill has an outstanding reputation and transfer agreements with many of the region's universities, such as Santa Clara, San Jose State University, UC Santa Cruz, San Francisco State, Mills College, and more."

I have known many Foothill and De Anza local students who had to transfer to their second or third choices or who had to wait another semester or quarter before enrolling through the transfer programs because foreign students from Foothill or De Anza were placed higher. With the budget crisis, the transfer quotas will probably go down.

Foreign students do take away campus jobs from local students right now and four years later they take away jobs in the real market place. This is a cycle of devastation for the next generation of Americans.

American education is a joke, and if Foothill and De Anza want to be jokes, then they should be SHUT DOWN and everyone there FIRED. If these colleges stop educating the locals, then the colleges stopped serving their purpose. Why do they exist?

One thing that is not clear from the article is the number of full-time students or the number of the students who transfer. Those students, not the once-in-the-blue-moon or evening students, are harmed. In fact, the article does not use the word "transfer" at all. Out of those numbers: transfers or full-time, how many are foreigners?

Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 26, 2010 at 5:11 am

It is INSANE for a country suffering double-digit unemployment to accept ANY immigrats, legal or illegal.

Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 26, 2010 at 5:12 am

Open immigration and "free trade" are destroying this country.

Posted by Curious, a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2010 at 10:32 am

Rather than blaming immigrants willing to work hard, whether it's in the classroom or the workplace, maybe it's time for a little self-reflection. I have read where the current generation of Americans will be the first generation to be less educated than their parents. Too many parents in our society choose not to get involved in their kids' education, our schools have allowed the inmates (students and parents) to take charge of the asylums (schools), and too many young people (not all!) simply do not have the self-discipline or ambition to see the benefit of education and apply themselves. I read this weekend where the U.S. rates #12 in the percentage of people with college degrees. In the era of a knowledge economy, this is a recipe for disaster.

Posted by Elina, a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2010 at 12:12 pm

We are local (live in Los Altos) and my son goes to Foothill. Most of the times he can not register for classes needed for his transfer to UC because the classes are full when he can go on line. He can not get a job on campus either - international students have permission to work on campus only, so they are given a priority.

Last month Berkeley announced that they will cut admission of the CA students by 30% and will give priority to out-of-state and international students to get more money.

Education system does not seem to be too friendly to the local students at all!

Posted by Steven Nelson, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 26, 2010 at 3:53 pm

The comments from the District spokesperson about finances needs to be taken at face value - the international students are 8.4% of the student population and bring in 'about 10%' of the operation revenue. It is obviously not true that they are contributing 'nearly nine times' the per person revenue as local students. The Master Plan for Higher Education never envisioned community colleges as magnets for international students (or the overly large percentages of high school graduates admitted by UC and CSU). Just like CSU PhD programs - the international student programs represent 'institutional creep', local community college presidents wanting to have international pull. I think the community needs to decide - and tell our Trustees- if after 11 years, we want to continue this "new function" of local community colleges.

I don't.

Posted by Hardin, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 28, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Let's consider the alternatives. If we disallow foreign students in attending community colleges, what are the potential impacts?

1. Less income for community colleges.

2. Less classes and seats for all students.

3. Increased tuition for all students.

4. Increased parcel taxes.

5. Less diversity. There is value in having overseas students, that bring with them their culture and their work ethic, both of which can enrich our country if we are paying attention.

The fact is, America's attraction has been its open borders and acceptance of foreigners, who in turn have contributed to this country in brain power, sweat, and money.

Posted by le dude, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 29, 2010 at 7:25 am

The argument that this country can be "enriched" through increased "diversity" and foreign culture and "work ethics" is bogus. It never applies to any other country, just ours. For some reason, we just don't measure up by ourselves.

Posted by Hardin, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 29, 2010 at 8:57 am

Really? I guess the American Indians should have kicked us "foreigners" out as well then.

Or maybe we should have kicked out the Irish and Poles when they started coming over.

Or how about the Chinese and Japanese?

That's the problem with this, where do you start, and where do you end?

America has enjoyed a reverse brain-drain for many years, to the detriment of their home countries and to our benefit. Sadly, this is beginning to change.

And don't tell me that Pad Thai, Tacos, Chow Mein, or Pizza doesn't enrich our culture, or at the very least, our palates.

Posted by greycat, a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2010 at 10:14 am

"'It is true that the program brings in unrestricted revenue to the district,' Murphy said. But, according to him, if the district did not get the revenue generated by international student tuition, the colleges would have to cut back on programs. Instead, 'we are able to offer more programs to local students.'"


This statement acknowledges, without apology, that Foothill and DeAnza "community" colleges are designed to *rely* on foreign tuition. Apparently this is a means of rationalizing the ridiculously low cost per credit for local students. But this is all smoke and mirrors. The obvious business case for this decision, it seems, is more likely to provide a technically trained, visa-based work force to Silicon Valley tech companies who can then hire them for much less than they could hire local talent. Convenient.

Posted by le dude, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 29, 2010 at 6:45 pm

The difference I see is that past generations of immigrants didn't come here to attend bargain basement colleges at the taxpayers expense with others claiming that they were "enriching" US culture through increased "diversity", "foreign culture" and "work ethics". Call a spade a spade. Pass immigrants, like current ones, came here for jobs and opportunities they had to work for without subsidies like this one, many of which have dried up. Let the immigrants come and give them the same things past generations of immigrants received. Yeah, right. They'd be howling for mama and a lawyer if that ever happened.

Posted by le dude, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 29, 2010 at 6:47 pm

And the American Indians put up a hec of fight to kick us all out as well. Unfortunately they lost. Now days, we just roll over and pay more taxes.

Posted by Commander McBragg, a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2010 at 7:20 pm

This reminds of something that happened back in the 70's. Someone I knew was working at a bank in Palo Alto helping people open new accounts. One day there was a foreign student at Stanford opening a savings account. It turned out that the money to go into the savings account was some sort of government assistance check that the student had received for tuition or books or that sort of thing. This was annoying because as Americans, we were not getting any government checks, plus this person obviously didn't need the assistance because they were just putting it in savings.

Posted by Steven Nelson, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 30, 2010 at 9:19 am

Operations funds are not the only $ that this District gets. There is also the property tax bond funds that local taxpayers pay for the classrooms and other facilities. This is not in the District's 'public calculations' because it would obviously raise the cost per imported foreign student. There is PLENTY of DIVERSITY in the existing high school students of Santa Clara county. Mexican, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian, and Filipino for the largest percentages I have seen in the high schools. THESE LOCAL FAMILY STUDENTS deserve preference for the seats in the college that their immigrant parents help pay for! (IMO)

I'm not saying "disallow", but rather - don't subsidize with a public recruitment program (which includes campus part-time jobs).

Posted by Pete, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Former Blossom Valley neighborhood resident - I grew up there. Here's another story from the 70's that maybe demonstrates how deeply seated this trend is. When I came back from Viet Nam and the Marine Corps, I enrolled at Foothill. Even with the G.I. Bill back then,and a part-time job, it was all I could do to get by. I will never forget the fact that I was unable to get a job on campus because those jobs were all taken by foreign students who had more money tied up in the clothes they wore to school one day, than I had to my name. Then, like now, there were alot of us veterans just getting home. The treatment apparently hasn't changed. The foreign students may well be hard workers. We thought we had kind of put in a few tough hours ourselves.

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