Slow to enroll


File Photo/The Paisano

Vincent Valdez

UTSA’s international enrollment has declined. Lisa Marie Gomez, executive director of UTSA’s Office of International Programs, acknowledges the international enrollment decline and is uncertain of the monetary impact at the university level.

“In terms of our office, we are partially funded through an international student service fee that fluctuates depending on enrollment,” said Gomez. “Those funds are used to provide services that allow us to support the overall well-being of our international students, such as immigration advising, filing the applications for our students to do internships and taking advantage of work opportunities after graduation. In spite of any fluctuations, our mission is to provide the highest level of service to our students.”

Currently, the Office of International Programs is participating in international recruitment activities. There are also outlined plans to increase international student enrollment in the future.

“There is a newly established University task force charged with examining and developing a strategic enrollment management plan,” said Gomez. “International student recruitment/enrollment plans will be decided at that level. “The majority of international students come to UTSA because we are a great institution. It’s the research, faculty, comprehensive academic offerings and positive experience students have here that attracts them to UTSA. San Antonio is also a welcoming city that has many opportunities for internships and employment. We also know that many students choose to pursue their degree here because of friends and family who are alumni. “

After acknowledging that the education in international student enrollment could have a negative impact on UTSA, Gomez outlined several positive impacts of international student enrollment.

“Our international students contribute so much to our multicultural identity. They bring perspectives that broaden our understanding of the world. Our international students are also strong academically and directly contribute to positive graduation rates. Additionally, they are among our champions for raising UTSA’s global profile.”

In addition to the services offered at the Office of International Programs, UTSA also offers English as a Second Language (ESL) services to international and domestic students who want to study English in a rigorous academic setting.

“The Office of ESL Services is committed to giving both our international and domestic students a cross-cultural experience,” said Lauren Heather, UTSA assistant director of ESL services.

“The Conversation Partners Program pairs an international student with a domestic student to practice English and learn more about American culture. It also provides the domestic students with insights into a new culture. “In addition to the Conversation Partners Program, we also host a weekly conversation club for all students. The club provides a comfortable environment for international students to speak English as well as for all involved to learn about different cultures and experiences. The goal of these programs is to allow UTSA students to gather the cross-cultural awareness and perspectives needed to become global citizens.”

For more information on international student enrollment, visit the Office of International Programs at the Main Building at UTSA’s main campus.