University of Bridgeport is admitting hundreds of new international students to its beautiful Seaside Park campus.
For decades, UB has been one of the most ethnically and racially diverse higher education institutions in the United States. Just before the pandemic in the 2018-2019 academic year, 29% of its student population was comprised of international students. In decades past, that number was even higher.
The global pandemic had a markedly negative effect on the percentage of international students enrolled at UB and other American universities. However, once American consulates abroad started scheduling visa appointments for international students again, more than 200 new students enrolled at UB immediately in fall 2021. Almost 300 additional new enrollees have joined them in spring 2022. “The University of Bridgeport prides itself on being a diverse and welcoming campus,” says President Danielle Wilken. “We are thrilled to greet students, faculty, and staff from around the world to enrich our vibrant community.”
These new students have been brought to UB through a dynamic partnership between UB’s International Admissions Office and the Enrollment Advisory Group (EAG), a global marketing and recruitment firm which specializes in international recruitment. In addition to a seasoned leadership and recruitment team, EAG works with third-party agencies around the world which guide students through the process of applying. “Historically, UB has always embraced working with third-party educational agencies,” says Ken DiSaia, president of EAG. “These agencies have supported UB for many years and continue to support the university now that students’ mobility to study in the US is back on the rise. They are in market speaking to students in cities and high schools around the world.” These agencies also go far beyond recruitment seminars, they offer workshops to teach prospective students about visa applications, prepare them for mock interviews, and more.
It helps that UB has built a strong brand over decades with solid articulation agreements, faculty exchange, and a commitment to internationalization. “UB does an unbelievable job to help students with the process of applying and matriculating,” says DiSaia. “EAG works in concert with the team in UB’s International Admissions office to create a synergy, which has resulted in achieving the enrollment objectives of the institution.”
International students are benefitting from a realignment in the academic calendar. Through this realignment, there is now a full 15-week summer calendar, which is being offered for the first time in UB’s long history. “We are unique among universities of our size in Connecticut,” says Provost Manyul Im, PhD. “We benefit from substantial diversity and have a proud history of providing students with opportunities to learn from peers who have different life experiences. The perspectives and energy from our international students are some of the most valuable assets that UB has to offer.”
Many of these incoming scholars are graduate students in business, computer science, and engineering. “The School of Engineering’s international student population comes from 35 countries,” says the Dean of the College of Engineering, Business, and Education, Dr. Khaled Elleithy. “The effort to recruit more international students is a major component of our plan to increase diversity and inclusion in different academic programs.” In fact, the School of Engineering recently received the Bronze Award for the inaugural American Society of Engineering Education Diversity Recognition Program. The award was received by only 75 engineering schools in the nation and the University of Bridgeport was the only awardee from the State of Connecticut.
This is only the beginning. EAG and the agencies it works with throughout Asia, Africa, and beyond have found new markets and new students eager to attend the University of Bridgeport. “One of our priorities is diversifying the portfolio of the students’ country of origin, particularly in the undergraduate market,” says DiSaia. “We are projecting an additional 100-200 new international students enrolling for the summer semester, as well as 350 new international students this coming fall, which will be a record enrollment at UB for international students.”