UI prepares for influx of foreign students

By Gary Brode | gbrode@wcia.com, Anthony Antoine | aantoine@wcia.com

Published 08/07 2014 12:11PM

Updated 08/19 2014 12:02PM

Update: 10:22 pm, 8/18/14, Monday
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- The fall semester at UI starts next week. Many international students are already moving in. Monday is the busiest day of the year for students coming from other countries.

This is the first year the UI has run shuttle buses from O'Hare Airport to campus. Almost 900 students are using the service. They're shuttling students from Chicago because 80% of international students use O'Hare. About 500 new students came to campus Monday.
Original: 10:01 pm, 8/6/14, Wednesday
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- Foreign students coming to school in America can be difficult, but the UI has a plan to make it smoother for them. The international student population continues to grow. Last year, about 9,000 students came from overseas. This year, there are about 800 more; most are from China.

The university is making sure they feel welcomed. For the first time, the university had a pre-arrival orientation in three of China's largest cities. University officials say it was helpful for students, but also their parents.

Two years ago, the university did a survey. A lot of students said they had difficulty getting from O'Hare Airport to campus. Last year, a Chinese student was ripped off. He paid a cab driver $4,000 to get to Champaign.

This year, the university will have staff at the terminals to greet students, then shuttle them back to the university. They already planned on starting the program, but last year's incident was confirmation help was needed.

Roughly ten percent of the freshman class will come from China. The university even has an office in Shanghai. It's working to build a database of alumni and raise funds.

The university will spend five days in Chicago, busing kids to the university. Students will pay a small fee to take the shuttle.

International students have a huge financial impact on the university. They bring in more than $200 million a year and support more than 5,000 jobs.

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