Giving Compass' Take:

• More HBCUs are accepting international students at their schools, an effort that helps to diversify the current student body population.

• What are the benefits of a more diverse student population in higher education? Are other schools making an effort to accept more international students? 

• Read more about international students in the United States. 

When Fahad Alharthi traveled from Saudi Arabia to southern California in April of 2015, by himself at 20 years old, he knew no English. But he did have a scholarship guaranteed by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, to use to learn English and then attend a U.S. college.

In 2008-09, Tennessee State had 77 international undergraduate students. By the fall of 2016, the year before Alharthi enrolled, it had 549 — 8 percent of its undergraduate student body of about 7,000. Other historically black colleges and universities are sparking similar rapid growth in their numbers of international students — for the same reasons.

In addition to the tuition money they often bring — many foreign students pay the full sticker price, often aided by their home countries’ governments — there are benefits for the HBCUs’ American students. Many are from low-income families and cannot afford study-abroad programs. Having international classmates exposes them to cultures very different from their own. Also, when they graduate, they will join an increasingly globalized workforce, and could benefit from understanding the perspectives of their international peers.

“It is important to have different cultures on a campus because we can’t send all of our students to study abroad, so we find unique ways to bring the world to them,” said Jewell Winn, executive director for international programs at TSU.

Read the full article about HBCUS accepting international students by Delece Smith-Barrow at The Hechinger Report.