International students to be able to enroll directly at UNC

International students will be allowed to directly enroll at UNC for the first time this fall, as part of an effort to increase the global presence on a campus lagging behind its peers in that respect.

The new Global Visiting Students program will give 20 international students the opportunity to attend UNC for one or two semesters for credit.

The direct enrollment is different from a traditional foreign exchange program, in which the number of students UNC sends must be equal to the number it receives.


Percentage of international undergraduate students at Duke University
Percentage at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Percentage at UNC-Chapel Hill

Katie Bowler, UNC’s director of global relations, said the program only caters to international students.

“This program is about incoming students and international students outside of an exchange program that may not be pursuing four years of study in the U.S., but would like to study here short term,” she said.

The program was created in response to a theme set forth by the 2011 Academic Plan, which aimed to extend UNC’s global presence, teaching, research and public service.

The University does not enroll as many international students as its peers. According to a 2009 report from UNC Global, the percentage of international students enrolled as undergraduates hovered above 1 percent, compared to more than 5 percent for Duke University and the national average of similar colleges — 4 percent.

Ron Strauss, executive vice provost and chief international officer, said the ability to work cross-culturally is important to students’ careers and understanding of the world.

“Being a globally aware student is of very high importance for Carolina, and we’ve taken lots of steps to becoming a more global university,” he said.

Prospective international students will apply through both the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Study Abroad Office.

“We’re very committed to making sure the students who come here will benefit from it — they will be fully integrated on campus,” Bowler said.

After the first round, administrators said the program will grow by 20 students each year for the following two years. Administrators said they will then evaluate the success of the program before deciding whether to continue on.

Jonathan Hartlyn, senior associate dean for social sciences and global programs, said the cost of the program will be covered by the out-of-state tuition the students will pay, as well as a fee for administrative costs.

“It will not cost UNC anything,” he said.

Strauss said this program is unique to UNC.

“This is more evidence of our leadership globally,” he said. “This program is going to be unique and very high quality.”

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