As students return to campuses across Middle Tennessee, more of them are from overseas. Vanderbilt and Belmont have more than doubled their international freshman enrollment since 2009. Public universities like Austin Peay and Middle Tennessee State have also seen gains, and it isn’t by accident.
MTSU’s David Schmidt is the vice-provost for international affairs, and he says the school has made recruiting a priority.
“MTSU, over the last 7 to 8 years, has really put a strong emphasis on diversifying our student body and bringing more international students to campus,” he says.
MTSU sends professional recruiters to key markets in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. And it currently hosts students from over 60 different countries.
Schmidt says that having a lot of international students provides a great opportunity for students from Tennessee. He also points out a critical benefit for the international students themselves.
“What they get at the end is going to be a U.S. degree, a degree from a United States institution — and that means an awful lot," says Schmidt.
Schools also have a financial incentive to recruit international students. While Schmidt says there are some merit-based scholarships available for international undergraduates, most of them will pay out-of-state tuition.