University of Wisconsin accepted 6 percent more international students in 2016, but experts said it had a minimal impact on improving campus diversity.

According to a report from the Institute of International Education, more than one million international students studied in the United States, of which 13,400 were in Wisconsin. The report said approximately 6,500 of those students studied at UW in the 2015-16 school year. 

UW International Division’s spokesperson Steven Barcus said the university’s high ranking and “outstanding academic opportunities” attract international students just as much as domestic students. Having international students on campus adds to UW’s diversity and gives these students opportunities to form connections and new perspectives, he said.

It is a major boon for the university to have an increase in international students,” Barcus said.

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But Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education Director Noel Radomski said increasing international students does not necessarily imply increasing diversity. Approximately 54 percent of all international undergraduates enrolled in the current semester are from China. 

Radomski said in-state undergraduate enrollment has been decreasing, which could be because international students bring in more revenue. International students bring about $364 million a year, which is more than in-state and non-resident domestic students.

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Tuition is higher for international students than domestic out-of-state students. It may be that having more international students could improve funds available to UW, Radomski said. Still, Barcus said accepting more international students does not mean that UW will accept fewer domestic students.

Radomski said having a mix of domestic and international students can help UW become better and more competitive in the global economy. Barcus said international students become international alumni, who share the reputation of the state and university. They help to create global networks and provide resources and support for domestic students studying, working and researching abroad, Barcus said.

“Many campus leaders explain they are enrolling more international students because we live in a global economy, and having domestic and international students will improve the quality of teaching and learning,” Radomski said.