More students from foreign countries than ever before are going to college in Missouri. That means a lot of money for the state’s economy.
The Institute for Higher Education counts a record 18-thousand-205 students from other countries are enrolled at Missouri higher education institutions, eight percent more than last year. Almost two-thirds of them come from five countries–China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Brazil. China, alone, accounts for forty percent of the international students in Missouri.
The chairwoman of the Study Missouri Consortium, Karla McCollum, says the consortium thinks those students put about one-half billion dollars into the state economy.
She says Missouri’s high-quality institutions and relatively-low tuition rates are attractive to students from other countries. She says many of them come here for the STEM programs–Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
She says the schools try to make those students part of the campus mainstream. “One of the ways international students assimilate is through clubs and organizations. Living in the dorm is another way.” She says schools have International Program Directors who can help students from other countries fit in.
McCollum, who also is the Admissions Director at North Central Missouri College in Trenton, says most of the students have at least some proficiency in English. They have to reach a minimum score on an English test so schools know they can keep up in class and understand the instructors. Schools do have some English-as-Second Language program to help students who need some help.
Audio: McCullom interview 14:09.