"International students brought over $350 million to the state of Colorado [last year]," said George Kacenga, director of International Enrollment at the University of Colorado Denver. "That includes their dependents. It includes tuition, but also includes going shopping."
Lt. Governor Joe Garcia launched StudyColorado on the University of Denver campus Thursday afternoon. It is a collaborative effort between public and private colleges and businesses to launch a unifed marketing plan to try to increase the already 8,000 international students who study in Colorado every year.
"First, we have to figure out how to market Colorado, how to make people aware that Colorado exists, that it's a desirable place to study and to live," said Lt. Gov. Garcia.
Many of the larger universities in Colorado already work to draw international students to them, but this would be a combined effort for all of the universities to gain more of a presence internationally.
"Too often [international students] don't look beyond the coast and too often they don't look beyond those institutions that have international reputations," said Garcia.
Saif Al-Juboori is from Baghdad, Iraq. Right now, he is a graduate student at the University of Colorado Denver. He already knew about colleges in Colorado because research done online. He says a campaign like this can reach a lot of students in his home country that maybe never heard of Colorado.
"We're going to do this kind of awareness for them and just show them what's Colorado or the educational experience in Colorado," Al-Juboori said.
Garcia said the largest export of international students to Colorado is from China followed by Saudi Arabia, Korea, and Taiwan.
"We know we could get more out of South America, more out of western Europe, more out of eastern Europe," he said. "We just want to bring more kids to more schools."
Public and private colleges and universities are contributing money to the StudyColorado initiative.
Though, international students typically pay about three times as much in tuition as local students do, Kacenga says the perspective they bring to Colorado schools is invaluable.
"The quality is brings to the community on campus," Kacenga said. "We are bringing international students here so that ou students in Colorado can have that global experience in the classroom."
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)