Once they receive inquiries from potential students, Gjersvig and his staff start focusing on service.
“It can be quite a maze for an international student to go through the admissions process and the visa process,” he said. “We also have a strong international student organization on campus. It makes students comfortable to know people going through a similar situation.”
Tuition costs were a draw for Rodrigo. With assistance from the Cultural Contribution In-State Tuition Scholarship, he pays the same tuition a Minnesota resident would pay. The incentive cut his tuition costs in half.
The reputation of MSU’s business and marketing programs also caught Rodrigo’s attention.
For parents of international students, it helps that Mankato is a friendly community, Gjersvig said. As an example, many MSU international students were invited to join local families for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner last week.
“It’s a safe community and parents aren’t concerned,” he said.
Statewide, the Open Doors and Association of International Educators study estimated that international students and their families contribute $320 million to Minnesota’s economy. Gjersvig said MSU and other universities in the state have started working with the Minnesota Trade Office and the Department of Commerce to attract more international students.
“It’s just in the beginning stages, but we’re developing a joint effort that will be a way to export education,” Gjersvig said. “Minnesota has a very strong education reputation, both nationally and internationally.”