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Did you know that Missouri currently has international college students attending nearly 40 different universities around the state? A major reason for the growth is because of Study Missouri, a coalition of colleges and universities across the state that work to promote international education. This week, the group launched an updated website to keep those students coming. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark has more.
Founded in 2009, Study Missouri has increased the number of international students from 11,285 to over 16,000—that’s a growth of 6.3 percent in the last three years. According to the recently released Open Doors Report, Missouri is 13th in the nation in the number of international students enrolled in the state’s colleges and universities.
Kathy Love, spokeswoman for Missouri’s Department of Higher Education, says the revamped website isn’t just to get more students from around the world to come to Missouri; it’s also to encourage Missouri students to travel and learn about the world.
“This is a redesigned website. It’s got a video of the president of Study Missouri welcoming people to the website. But what’s really unique is it’s got about 35 student profiles of actual international students talking about why they came to Missouri, and Missouri students talking about why they studied abroad. Those will be updated and rotated in and out.”
Love says some countries send a lot of its students to the states.
“The top five countries that send students to Missouri are China, with almost thirty percent of the students, followed by India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Nepal and Japan.”
She says China has a growing middle class population, and the country struggles to keep up with the high educational demand. Love says many of these Chinese families save their money in order to send their children overseas.
Jim Baker is the vice president of Research/Economic Development and International Programs at Missouri State University. MSU is part of Study Missouri. This semester, Baker says the university has 1,426 full-time international students from 86 different countries. About 800 of those students are from China.
“Obviously, there’s a fiscal impact of all the international students that study here. If you go around the campus, on the outside of the campus, you’ll find a lot of new apartment buildings. Many of those apartment buildings were built to cater to international students. Local developers have really caught on that there’s a real economic boost by having these students studying.”
According to a press release from the Department of Higher Education, most international students pay full tuition at Missouri’s schools. Last year, their total expenditures in the state were estimated to be over $417 million dollars.
Baker says the best part about international students studying here is that it grows everyone’s cultural competence and understanding of the global economy. He says MSU has heavily recruited its local students to study in other countries. Baker says the school has raised its Study Away student participation about 25 percent in the last year.
Other schools around the state participating in Study Missouri include Drury University, Saint Louis University, the University of Missouri, Stephens College and Truman State University, just to name a few.
You can go to www.studymissouri.net to watch more personal testimonies from local students and students from around the world who have participated in the program. A link to the Open Doors Report can be found here.
For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.