Last fall, the Texas Education Technology Network and
the 20 regional education service centers in the state
invited MSU to participate in a State Wide College Day
videoconference. High school students could dial in to the
conference to learn more about any participating college.
This is the next best thing to a college night,” said Kathy
Harvey, Region IX Education Service Center College
and Career Readiness and Education Specialist. “For kids
in a rural setting, or kids who can’t travel, this is an avenue
that they wouldn’t have had to ask questions.” Harvey
said that although students can visit college Websites
and take virtual campus tours online, having a college
representative available to speak with makes a positive
MSU’s Assistant Director of Admissions Brad Borton
prepared a 15-minute presentation for the event. Through
the videoconference, MSU had the potential to reach
students in more than 1,000 school districts.
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation
and Development, the largest numbers of international
students are from China, India, and Korea, with Asian
students representing 52 percent of foreign students
enrolled worldwide. Dr. Keith Lamb, Vice President
for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, and
International Services Director Dr. Randy Glean are
working for MSU to have a piece of that percentage
through visits to Asian countries. Lamb and Glean visited
China last fall, meeting with universities and agents in
Guangzhou, Maoming, Changzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai.
MSU already is an international university with
approximately 9 percent – more than 500 students – from
foreign countries. “We have a vibrant international
program,” Lamb said. Glean has a goal of 10 percent
foreign enrollment. Fifty-four countries are represented
at MSU, but that figure has been as high as 66. Although
China is the university’s main focus now, Glean said that
some Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia, United
Arab Emirates, and Oman are secondary targets with
other Asian countries, Caribbean nations, and Central
and South America as objectives also.
MSU has approximately 20 students and faculty from
China, with 10-20 more expected in the fall. Lamb said
that the model that works best for Chinese students
is a transfer articulation agreement, where students
study two years in a Chinese university and two years
here. In China, Glean and Lamb confirmed a two-year
articulation agreement with a university where students
will transfer to MSU’s mechanical engineering program
for two years.
Competition for students is heavy with other American
universities and countries such as Australia, Canada, and
Britain sending recruiting representatives abroad also.
In some ways, Glean said that selling MSU is difficult
because it is not in a large metropolitan area with name
recognition, but that once students arrive, the Wichita
Falls area is easy on the nerves for new students. “It
doesn’t overwhelm,” Glean said.
Lamb said bringing students in from foreign countries
works to the university’s benefit in two ways. From a
practical side, international students bring more revenue
because they pay a higher tuition. “What’s important
to understand is that the tuition foreign students pay
is not subsidized by the State of Texas. These students
pay the true cost of education,” Lamb said. “We don’t
receive reimbursement by the State of Texas for them.
Enrollment growth will still come from domestic students,
but the foreign student tuition helps increase revenue.”
But the most important reason to Lamb is philosophical.
Being an international university makes MSU more
desirable by exposing students to the world. “There’s
a saying that the world meets in the United States, and
more specifically on college campuses,” Lamb said.
Students are learning to interact with students from
strong economies that they will be working with in their
professional lives.”
Lamb and Glean will continue to explore China and
other countries to diversify the international population
even more. “That’s what robust universities want,” Lamb
said. “They want a campus culture that reflects the
world. Having an international community opens up our
students’ eyes to the world. We’re educators. That’s what
we do.”
Recruiting is an increasingly important
part of university business, whether it’s
recruiting the best for athletics, staff, or
faculty. Midwestern State University is
stepping up its recruiting efforts in another
area – to bring in the best students. The
university is reaching out using technology
and visiting nontraditional areas to bring
students to its campus.