One in every five students on the Ohio University (OU) campus is an international student. For a small town like Athens, tucked away in the Hocking Hills of southeast of Ohio, this may be a bit odd. With its global focus on education, Ohio University is beating bigger schools such as the Ohio State University (OSU) in its international presence.
As a state, Ohio ranks eighth in the nation in the number of foreign students attending public universities, with 28,401 students across 13 of its public universities, according to an Institute of International Education report. Foreign students, who pay out-of-state tuition, paid the schools more than $772 million last year, according to the report.
OU has around four thousand international students studying here and our numbers are increasing every year, said Hashim Pashtun, a student from Afghanistan, and also the President of the International Student Union at OU. OSU has around six thousand international students.
“But OSU has a larger student body and OU competes with OSU on an even footing,” he said.
International students comprise 10 percent of the student bodies for both the institutes. Students at OU have an immersive cultural experience where the American students and the Athens residents come to celebrate international events.
But, when it comes to the Fulbright Program and sending scholars to study in other countries, OU is doing much better than OSU. This year 10 students from OU received the Fulbright Scholarship compared to six at OSU.
“We have been recognized as one of the top institutes fro producing Fulbright scholars,” said Beth Clodfelter, director of Office of Nationally Competitive Awards. “The 10 awards that the students have earned this year ties our school with at Stanford, UCLA, Notre Dame, Boston College and Tufts. This is a wonderful honor.”
Not only is Ohio University producing Fulbright scholar recipients, but the school also houses a large number of Fulbright Scholars who come from other countries.
“The School of International Development Studies attracts a lot of Fulbright Scholars,” said Christa McCallum Beatty, the director of International Students and Faculty Services. The African Studies department is yet another top recruiter. We have a lot of students from India who would traditionally come in for our engineering and science programs.”
Right now, Ohio University has students from 114 countries around the world. In recent years, OU has seen a lot of students coming from countries such as Iran. The Columbus Dispatch reports that OSU has nearly tripled its international undergraduate enrollment in the past five years, while, the University of Toledo had the highest percentage increase in international enrollment between 2007 and 2012. Toledo went from 170 foreign full-time and part-time students to 1,431 — a 741 percent increase.