WKU President Gary Ransdell is confident the school will be able to grow its international student body over the next several decades.
But he admits it will become more difficult to do so as countries such as China and India become wealthier and begin to build more of their own universities.
“There are not enough colleges and universities to meet the needs in an awful lot of the countries that have growing economies and growing populations. Therefore, we’re a solution," the WKU President said. "Now, in another generation—in another 25 or 30 years—they may have built enough universities to meet their needs.”
Dr. Ransdell says WKU is actively recruiting in several countries where the school has previously not had a presence.
“South America is really an emerging market for higher education," Ransdell said during a break in Friday's Board of Regents meeting. "We’re looking at as many as 90 students from Brazil next year. We’re always looking for new markets. Turkey is an emerging market for us. Their economy is doing great, and their families are looking for a place to send their sons and daughters.”
Universities throughout the U.S. are trying to increase their international student population, and WKU is no different. For years at WKU, Indian and Chinese students made up the largest international student groups, but that has since changed. There are now more students from Saudi Arabia on WKU’s campus than from any other country outside the U.S.
About 140 new international students are expected to arrive at WKU by August 21st. University officials say a number of activities have been planned to help those students undergo an effective orientation plan, to help them adjust to campus life in the U.S.