November 14, 2011

Jefferson City - This year more than 15,000 international students chose Missouri as their destination of choice for higher education. A report issued today by the Institution of International Education says Missouri is 13th in the nation in the number of international students enrolled in the state's colleges and universities.

The number of international students here grew 13 percent, up from 13,360 in 2010. The national rate of increase was 5 percent.

More than a quarter of international students studying in Missouri are from China, followed by India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.

The University of Missouri-Columbia enrolled almost 2,000 international students in the 2010-2011 academic year, followed by Washington University (1,909), University of Missouri-Kansas City (1,229), St. Louis University (1,058) and Lindenwood University (1,023), according to the report.

Most international students pay full tuition at Missouri institutions. Their total expenditures in Missouri are estimated to be $383 million.

The number of Missouri students who studied abroad also increased slightly, from 5,054 to 5,070.

Study Missouri, a consortium of 39 public and private colleges and universities, markets the state's diverse academic offerings to students in other countries, and promotes study abroad opportunities for Missouri students.

Chad Stebbins, Study Missouri chair-elect and director of the Institute of International Studies at Missouri Southern State University, says international students bring more than financial assets to Missouri.

"International students are crucial to all Missouri colleges and universities for the global exposure they provide to Missouri students and communities," Stebbins said. "They bring new ideas and perspectives into the classrooms, and they share their cultures and beliefs with individuals in the school and beyond. They also help facilitate study abroad by encouraging our students to step out of their comfort zones and study in another country."

Commissioner of Higher Education David Russell credits Study Missouri with much of the growth in international students here. "Study Missouri promotes the excellence of the state's academic programs, diverse opportunities and low cost of living to attract international students," Russell said. "The consortium shows that institutions working together can make Missouri a national leader."

International students will come together at the Missouri Capitol to celebrate International Education Day Feb. 29, 2012.