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ISU To Court International Students

ISU residence halls

Illinois State University will be trying to broaden international diversity on campus.

Many colleges have sought out international students to bolster revenues because those students typically pay tuition.

ISU President Larry Dietz said ISU probably should have done that years ago, but hasn't until now."We have not been as aggressive in my estimation about adding international students. We stand at about two to three percent of our population coming from other countries. Most institutions our size will have 10 percent to 15 percent of their population coming from other countries," said Dietz.

Universities that court students from other countries typically cite core values of inclusiveness and diversity as the driver. ISU is no exception.

"We are working with what's called a Pathway group that is based in London to help us with some of that recruiting. The countries that have the most students that have  the most interest in the United States are obviously China and India. But, we want our international population to be as diverse as our domestic population," said Dietz.

U.S. Universities are expressing concern at the moment that their access to international students will fall because of the Trump administration stance on visas and immigration. That raises the question whether it's a good time for ISU to expand its efforts in that arena. But, Dietz said it's not that it's a bad time, it's just that ISU probably should have started the effort several years ago. He said ISU will embark on the program in the same "planful" way it does everything else.

"We're going to be the steady Eddies of this," said Dietz.

The number of U.S. High School graduates continues to shrink because of birth rate trends.

After three straight years of record enrollments, Dietz said ISU might be down a couple hundred students in the fall. He said that three percent drop is based on student deposit figures for the fall.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.