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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