At a time when many schools in the U.S. have seen a drop in international applications and the political landscape creates uncertainty for some students abroad, Suffolk University — ranked #5 in international-student population by U.S. News & World Report — is doubling down on its investment in international education. 

The INTO Suffolk venture, an international student recruitment and preparation collaboration between Suffolk University and INTO University Partnerships, makes sense for the school’s diverse culture and mission of access and opportunity. 

The partnership also makes sense for the intertwined futures of Suffolk and Boston.  

Destination: Boston

“Boston is the top city, in the number four state, in the number one country in the world for international students,” says Tim O’Brien, INTO’s vice president of global partner development. 

All those international students mean big business for the city, contributing approximately $2.3 billion and 32,000 jobs annually to the local economy. 

This week O’Brien joined more than 100 members of INTO Suffolk’s global network of recruiters in Boston to learn more about the city and kick off efforts to bring even more qualified students to Suffolk. 

“The rapidly expanding global middle class—in countries like India and China, but also in emerging markets in Africa and South America—means that overall trends toward growth in the number of international students seeking education abroad will continue. More than 5 million students now study outside their home countries”, says INTO CEO John Latham. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Education at a Glance, that number will rise to 8 million by 2025.

As demographics change, students are becoming more focused on hands-on programs that prepare graduates for in-demand fields. 

“Suffolk’s experience-rich programs in subjects like data analytics and marketing are exciting to international applicants,” says Latham. 

Connecting to the innovation hub

Shanghai-based agent Daniel Yuen helps pair Chinese students with universities around the world. Visiting Suffolk’s Sargent Hall for an international student panel, Yuen called Boston a “hub of intellectual power” and noted that Suffolk’s city-based campus is a major attraction for his students. 

The six current international students who spoke to INTO staff during the panel session unanimously named the city as one of the chief factors in their application decision-making. But when it came down to their final choices, students cited Suffolk’s supportive staff and hands-on learning:

“Class size is important, especially in science,” said Fatima Jalih, a senior biology major from Saudi Arabia. “You want to be hands on, not just watch.”

For the INTO Suffolk recruiters, Boston gets students’ attention. Suffolk’s programs help them find their place. In the end, the potential benefits for students, the school, and the city of the growing program are endless. 

“What we do is help tell the Suffolk story,” says O’Brien. “Like an amplifier on a guitar, we take the message and bring it to the world with the help of our global network. Ultimately, the message only resonates because the quality of the experience, the unparalleled location, and Suffolk’s constantly evolving and relevant curriculum are what international students want.”

INTO University Partnerships Chief Executive Officer John Latham and Acting President Marisa Kelly cut the cake at the launch celebration during INTO's familiarization visit to Suffolk's Boston campus.