MANKATO — The number of international students attending Minnesota State University has nearly tripled since 2008, putting the school 12th in the nation among comparable schools.
MSU had 1,614 students from foreign countries in the 2017-18 academic year — up 11 percent from the previous year. About one of every nine students on campus is now an international student.
Among American colleges that offer bachelor's and master's degrees but not doctorates, MSU has the 12th highest international student enrollment, according to the Open Doors Report released this week. The report, done annually by the Institute of International Education, listed MSU 16th last year and estimated that international students and their families contributed $41 million and 233 jobs to the local economy in the 2017-18 school year.
MSU President Richard Davenport said the ever-growing numbers demonstrate the university's "continued commitment to serving our global community." Praising MSU's Kearney Center for International Student Services, Davenport said the university also boosted its international student retention rate by 11 percent.
As of last spring, MSU had students from 92 foreign countries, led by Nepal (152), South Korea (120), Saudi Arabia (108), Nigeria (88), Kuwait (86), India (77), Ivory Coast (73), Bangladesh (69), Ethiopia (68), Japan (44), Sri Lanka (43), Kenya (37), Pakistan (31) and China (27).
The state of Minnesota was well-represented in the Open Doors Report with the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus ranking 21st among the nation's largest universities with 7,212 international students, St. Cloud State ranking 11th (1,742 students) among universities offering master's degrees, and Macalester College (377) at 13th among colleges offering only four-year degrees.