Editorial: International Students Benefit South Dakota

The following editorial appeared in the Argus Leader on Sunday, Oct. 16:

Cultural diversity in a student body has numerous advantages:

It adds perspective to our communications.

It broadens understanding and acceptance of people not like one's self.

It encourages a fuller, global view of society and our ever-changing marketplace.

These are all clearly desirable traits, so it is encouraging to see the number of international students at many of South Dakota's colleges and universities on the rise.

With projections for fewer high school graduates in our region for at least the next six years, schools such as Augustana College, South Dakota State University, University of South Dakota and Northern State University have increased their focus on recruiting students from outside the country.

In the News:
Looking Beyond Borders

Augustana's total of 96 international students is a record number for the school, and international enrollment is up at three of the six state public universities as well as the system overall.

These students bring with them additional revenue in the form of higher tuitions, an important piece of the schools' bottom lines.

In return, the students are given a college education in a safe environment that otherwise might not be available to them in their countries. Many international students mark safety as their family's number one priority when choosing a school, while others find themselves looking to the U.S. for school because of scarcity of opportunity in their own countries.

So while the catalyst for this increase in international student enrollment is largely because of the challenges associated with a declining rural population in our state and region, we applaud the effort.

At a minimum, we're giving many of our South Dakota students their first chance to mingle with students from other cultures and understand a global marketplace and society.

And that's certainly a good thing.

Kelly Sprecher
Director of Communications & Media Relations