Southeast international students perform at Carpe Diem 2019.

The economic impact of Southeast Missouri State University’s international students on the local economy recently was highlighted by the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors (NAFSA): Association of International Educators.

NAFSA’s annual state-by-state and congressional district 2018 analysis has ranked Southeast Missouri State University among the top 10 higher education institutions in Missouri whose international students add academic and cultural value to the campus and local community.


Southeast was ranked second in Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District and 10th statewide with international students contributing $18.9 million and supporting 108 jobs.

The report, which analyzed the economic contributions of international students and their families to the U.S. economy, quantifies the impact international students have in our local community, said Dr. Kevin Timlin, executive director of Southeast’s International Education and Services.

“Southeast’s international students bring a lot to the educational process of the University and NAFSA’s report shows they also have a significant economic impact on the campus, in the community and at the state level,” Timlin said.

This fall, Southeast has 631 international students enrolled from more than 63 foreign countries. The University also has more than 40 international exchange agreements. The report shows how much international students contribute to the local economy beyond tuition, he said.

“Our international students are really giving back in a lot of different ways to our local community,” he said. “They represent a huge market of consumers, whether that be in rent, shopping or local services.”

Like a majority of traditional, domestic students, international students value and place a high priority on a quality education at an affordable price. Additionally, Southeast’s academic reputation, scholarship program and campus involvement opportunities appeal to students from around the world.

“Southeast is invested in our students’ success, and our great faculty offer a personal touch and support system that is really welcoming and important to our international students,” Timlin said. “The leadership skills and academic experiences they have at Southeast are preparing them for careers all over the world.”

The NAFSA report and Southeast’s ranking also underscore how international students contribute to the diversity of perspectives and ideas in the classroom and community.

“As all our graduates, both international and domestic, join leadership positions, organizations and communities, they have to understand how to communicate effectively and efficiently with people from around the world,” Timlin said. “There’s no corner of the United States immune from the effects of globalization, and our economies are so amazingly intertwined with what’s happening in other parts of the world.”

Southeast is committed to providing all students with opportunities to develop their intercultural competencies and abilities to meet, work and interact with people from all over the world. One of the best ways to do that is to encourage students to meet and interact with people from different countries and cultures.

“These personal interactions between domestic and international students create those opportunities to make people qualified and ready to be leaders in the world once they leave Southeast,” Timlin said.

For more information about NAFSA’s International Student Economic Value Tool, visit