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Bridging Cultures, Building Revenue: Saudi Arabian Students May Get Texas College Experience

The UT College of Liberal Arts is co-hosting an open house today that may place thousands of Saudi Arabian students in Texas community colleges.

The open house is organized by The Global Initiative for Education and Leadership and hosted by the Saudi Arabia Cultural Missions (SACM), The US-Alhabra Chamber of Commerce and the College of Liberal Arts.

At the event SACM officials will present their intention to place 8,000 Saudi Arabian students in two-year community colleges. The students are fully funded and sponsored by the Saudi Arabian government, which will includes their tuition, books, medical and housing needs as well as $2,000 to $4,000 a month stipends. 

UT says its main goal is to foster relationships and knowledge between our countries. "Education is one of the ways in which we can begin to build collective futures across these boundaries," says Richard Flores, senior associate dean for the College of Liberal Arts. "Where students begin to know each other, recognize the differences but begin to see the similarities, and begin to build those relationships."

Since the aim of the initiative is to place the students in two-year schools, the UT-Austin campus may not see any financial gain from the partnership. Flores says the initiative "is not being thought of as a revenue generating initiative, but as a way of increasing [UT's] relationship with international partners".

Foreign students brought in over $20 billion to the U.S. economy last year, according to the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers. Since the Saudi Arabian government fully sponsors and funds its students abroad, the initiative could add millions of dollars in revenue to the Texas economy. 

For more information you can visit the Public Affairs page of the UT College of Liberal Arts

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