International Student Enrollment on the Rise at University of Arkansas

International students Hafiz Ali Naeem Sheikh and Raphael Rocha da Silva pose together at the Sponsored Student Programs welcome reception.
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International students Hafiz Ali Naeem Sheikh and Raphael Rocha da Silva pose together at the Sponsored Student Programs welcome reception.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A total of 1,525 international students enrolled at the University of Arkansas this semester, representing 112 countries. That is a 10 percent increase from 1,387 in fall 2013 and an all-time high for the university. There are 810 undergraduate students, 714 graduate students and one law student. China, Brazil, India, Panama and Bolivia are the top five foreign countries represented on campus.

“I am delighted with the continued growth in our international student enrollment,” said Kim LaScola Needy, dean of the Graduate School and International Education. “International students are critical to the makeup of the University of Arkansas’ student body. They bring different perspectives and unique experiences to our campus.”

Some of the growth in enrollment is due to an increase in sponsored visiting students. These are students are those who are currently seeking degrees from other institutions, but have received a scholarship to study abroad at the U of A for one semester or academic year. The number of visiting students on campus has more than doubled since last fall from 68 to 178. There has also been an increase in the number of sponsored students on campus with Fulbright scholarships. The university is home to 43 Fulbright students this fall.

Hafiz Ali Naeem Sheikh, a visiting student from Pakistan, is studying business management at the U of A and is enthusiastic about the possibilities available to him while he is here.

“Coming here was very exciting for me. I am looking forward to working on research related to my field,” he said.

The increase in enrollment means a renewed focus on programming that assists international students in adjusting to life on campus and engaging with the local community. Michael Freeman, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars, said several programs are in place to help facilitate students’ transitions.

“We put a lot of effort into programs for our first-year students, so they can build relationships and gain the tools they need in order to be successful here,” he said.

Providing engaging programming is key to not only retention but also to continued growth.

“If we want to see steady, incremental growth we have to provide services that ensure a smooth transition both culturally and academically,” said Lynn Mosesso, director of international recruitment and admissions.

According to Freeman, the impact of international students at the U of A is felt far wider than the Fayetteville campus.

“The more international students we have, the more that people around the world will know about Arkansas as a state. It helps us to present a positive image of Arkansas abroad as our students share stories about the warmth of the people here and the quality of the education,” he said. “In addition, international diversity helps prepare all our students for careers in the global workforce.”


Michael Freeman, director
International Students and Scholars

Lynn Mosesso, director
Graduate and International Admissions

Amanda Cantu, director of communications
Graduate School and International Education


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