- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The university of Kansas has announced a partnership with a Massachusetts company to recruit international students to the school.

Shorelight Education, based in Cambridge, Mass., will recruit international students into the university’s new Academic Accelerator Program, The Lawrence Journal-World reported (https://bit.ly/1cBzwsH ).

The three-semester program is also intended to introduce international students to Kansas and U.S. culture and college curriculum and will combine courses from the College of Arts and Sciences with auxiliary language instruction.

Shorelight will share tuition and fee revenue from the new accelerator program plus a small percentage of tuition as students progress through the university. Sara Rosen, vice provost for academic affairs, declined to say how much each party receives from the agreement.

Recruiting and marketing to students has typically been the job of the university’s admissions specialists. Rosen said that can be hard for the university to do in other countries, so the university is trying to capitalize on Shorelight’s experience in places such as China, South Korea, the Middle East and Latin America.

Rosen anticipates that the new program will bring in up to 70 new recruits and hopes that number will rise to about 600 in two or three years. The university now has about 2,200 international students.

Basil Cleveland, Shorelight’s co-founder and executive vice president, said the goal is to help students be successful and get adjusted to college life.

“The number one obstacle we want to overcome is creating a class of international students that feel segregated,” Cleveland said. That can include everything showing them where the post office is and explaining American bank accounts.

Some faculty have raised concerns that the university’s partnership with a private company could reduce faculty oversight of academic standards. Mohamed El-Hodiri, a professor of economics at the university, said he worries that such partnerships will “turn the University of Kansas into another diploma mill.”

Rosen said the university will retain full control over academics.

“It’s not a matter of letting them into an easier program to get the tuition money out of them,” she said.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, https://www.ljworld.com

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