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Going overseas for students

Once focused on their immediate regions, Florida state colleges are educating growing numbers of foreign students — both by recruiting them to campuses in the state and through partnerships overseas with foreign institutions.

At Broward College, for example, 30% of students, about 9,500, are foreign-born, representing more than 150 countries — but most are permanent residents living in Broward.

What’s new is the school’s aggressive recruitment of international students to come here on student visas. As of fall 2013, 533 Broward students are traditional foreign students here on study visas, up from 466 the year before. The students hope to complete two years at Broward and then use the state’s 2+2 system to win automatic admission to a Florida university.

Miami-Dade College now has 1,039 attending on student visas. Palm Beach State College has 200 while Florida State College at Jacksonville has 88.

Broward Associate Vice President David Moore says the college works hard to acquaint students abroad about Broward as a stepping stone to the universities.

Meanwhile, Broward and other state schools are extending their reach overseas in other ways. In some cases, that has meant opening satellite campuses abroad. Broward offers degrees at sites in Sri Lanka, Peru, Vietnam, Singapore, India, Ecuador — and perhaps soon in China and Bolivia.

Other Florida schools are becoming consultants and partners to foreign institutions. Valencia College in Orlando is helping Princess Noura University establish a community college in Saudi Arabia, the country’s first all-women college. Valencia also is working with Anna G. Mendez University in Puerto Rico to establish a “train-the-trainer” type of criminal justice program modeled after Valencia’s Criminal Justice Institute in Orlando.

Seminole State, which has 655 students from 86 countries here on student visas, has no overseas campus, but that may change. In 2012, it created a Center for Global Engagement that is studying partnerships, especially in Asia. Seminole signed its first partnership last year with a Denmark health care college, primarily for faculty and staff exchanges.

In setting up its overseas campuses, which are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Broward partners with local institutions that provide faculty, recruitment and facilities; Broward ensures quality and accreditation and takes less than 10% of revenue to cover travel, administrative and other expenses.

The self-supporting overseas programs don’t cost Florida taxpayers anything. “We’re bringing in more money than we spend,” Moore says. Broward also has affiliates in China, Colombia, Guyana and Bolivia that offer courses that are the same as at Broward, but the overall programs aren’t SACS approved, and the students are graduates of the host institutions. Broward, which gets $20,000 to $30,000 from each affiliate to cover costs, is talking to Russia, Mexico and Kuwait about opening affiliates there.

Behind the schools’ emphasis on foreign students for growth are several factors. U.S. student populations are flat. And then there’s revenue: Foreign students who study here pay higher, outof- state tuition rates. In addition, the Florida schools make money from their contracts with overseas partners. Valencia will make $510,000 for helping Princess Noura University establish the allwomen school, whose graduates won’t be Valencia graduates. The contract with the Puerto Rican school was expected to bring in at least $21,000 in Valencia’s fiscal year, which ended in June.

The push for growth in enrollment and revenue from non-residents extends online. Broward in August cut online class prices for non-residents, even those in Florida, and international students, dropping the per credit hour price from $368 to $151. Residents pay $75.40 per hour.

Broward, which already says it has the cheapest tuition in Florida, recently centralized its online offerings into an online campus it calls “Florida’s Global Campus.” Some 14% of Broward’s full-time equivalent enrollment is now online, up from 5% in 2006.

CEO Sounding Board

Does it matter who is elected governor?

David Miller
Chairman, co-founder/Brightway Insurance

“It matters very much to our business. Florida is a signifcant market for our company. Insurance, of course, is a regulated industry and, in Florida, the insurance commissioner, who runs the Florida Offce of Insurance Regulation, is appointed by the Florida Cabinet and the governor. On behalf of our agents, we want a governor who is pro-small business. On behalf of our customers, we want a governor who will ensure the fnancial stability of insurance companies operating in the state, while also working to keep all rates, and particularly homeowners rates, stable.”

Mark B. Pentecost
CEO / It Works!

“Yes, it is important that we have a business-focused leader, a governor who continues to make Florida a destination-location for businesses around the world to relocate, in turn boosting job creation.”

Ruth Cyrus
Senior vice president, marketing / Oasis Outsourcing
West Palm Beach

“Yes, it does matter. Some factors I would be looking for is the governor’s ability to work with the Legislature to actually get things done. I would also expect him to be fiscally responsible and to live up to campaign promises. We would want somebody who’s able to create a flavorable business atmosphere, particularly when it comes to creating jobs.”