Bridge Or Back Door?
Career College Central summary:
International students are enrolled in a pathway program at the University of South Florida, one of a growing number of such programs that permit international students to take a mix of credit-bearing academic and English as a second language courses despite lacking the English language test scores required for direct admission. The number of pathway programs run in conjunction with corporate entities – in USF’s case, in partnership with a U.K.-based company, INTO University Partnerships – continues to increase.
The continuing expansion of these programs — which provide, depending on your perspective, a bridge or a back door into American universities — reflects some of the most vexing issues in American higher education today, among them issues of readiness and rigor and commercialization and commodification.
In the growth of privatized pathway programs one can observe the trend toward joint ventures and other forms of nonprofit/for-profit partnerships in higher education and the normalization of commission-based recruitment of international students (a practice banned by law when it comes to domestic students precisely because of historical abuses in the for-profit college sector). Above all one can observe the increasing drive of universities to internationalize, to bring more full fee-paying foreign students to their campuses, for reasons both noble and financial.
The oldest for-profit pathway programs in the U.S. are barely more than five years old: it's a model that's been adapted from Australia and the United Kingdom, where pathway or "foundation year" programs are much more prevalent.
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