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Kent State's Global Presence Brings Dollars and Students to Ohio (8/19/09)

Kent State University is reaping the rewards of its expanding global presence. Through its partnerships with institutions outside of the country, the university is generating additional revenue and recruiting more international students to Kent State. In particular, the university's presence in China has led to an increase in the number of Chinese students applying to and attending Kent State.

From fall 2008 to fall 2009, the number of Chinese students enrolled at Kent State has risen to 152 students from 112, an increase of 36 percent. The university estimates that the 152 Chinese students enrolled this semester will generate more than $3 million a year to the university. This figure is based on a calculation that each international student brings $20,000 of revenue to the university each year.

"If you factor in tuition, fees, room and board since most of the new Chinese students choose to live on campus, this number goes up to more than $3.7 million a year," said Ted McKown, Kent State's associate director of the Office of International Affairs. "This is a conservative estimate since these numbers do not take into account the economic impact to the surrounding community. These international students will buy clothes, purchase food and household items, and eat at restaurants, spending additional dollars that will benefit the local area as well as the university."

In China, Kent State's presence includes multiple sites. Kent State currently engages in 11 exchange programs with Shanghai International Studies University (SISU). Shanghai Normal University is Kent State's partner in an application as a Confucius Institute. Xiamen University is where Kent State and the Wang Yanan Institute of Xiamen University offer a collaborative Master of Science in Financial Engineering Program. Finally, Renmin University of China is recognized as one of the top five educational institutions in China and is a potential partner for collaborative programs with Kent State.

Another international area that the university is targeting for partnerships and student recruitment is the Middle East. The university has an agreement totaling $3.4 million for Kent State to provide entrepreneurial instruction, curriculum development and technical advising at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia's largest, oldest and most respected university. The agreement connects Kent State with the Middle East and allows for the development of further collaborations with leading universities in the region. The $3.4 million grant and the proposed $10 million successor grant involves Kent State's College of Business Administration and College of Arts and Sciences.

Over the summer, Kent State Senior Vice President and Provost Robert Frank and other university representatives traveled to China and Saudi Arabia to discuss and solidify the university's existing partnerships and investigate collaboration opportunities with other institutions. The trip to King Saud University was financed by the grant.

"During our visit, we also finalized work to bring four SISU students to Kent State to complete their doctoral degrees," Frank said. "Through SISU, 11 additional students have been admitted to Kent State. These global partnerships have benefited us in many ways, such as recruiting international students and faculty to come to Kent State and developing joint research programs This fall, the number of new international students enrolled is projected to be 300, which is a great achievement when you consider that the total number of international students – both new and returning – who attended Kent State last spring was 936."

Mary Anne Saunders, executive director of the Office of International Affairs at the university, said that Kent State has long provided educational opportunities for its students to study abroad and take advantage of academic programs and partnerships in other countries. "Through the presence of our students, partnerships with other institutions and our international recruiting efforts, we have had more international students apply to Kent State," she said. "Kent State's reach is beyond the borders of Northeast Ohio. We are a global university."

The university offers study-abroad programs in several locations, including China, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Russia and Switzerland.

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Media Contact:
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595


This page was last modified on September 8, 2009