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Southern University Adding International Flavor

BATON ROUGE, La. — Thirty-six Brazilian students will be navigating the campus along with Southern University’s first-time freshmen and returning upperclassmen.

Southern has made a push in recent years to open its campus to foreign students, sending Chancellor James Llorens overseas to establish relationships with universities in Turkey and Brazil.

In this case, the Brazilian government agreed to send some of its students to Baton Rouge as part of the Scientific Mobility Program, which provides scholarships to undergraduates for a year of study abroad.

Llorens tells The Advocate that the initial 36 students taking classes this fall could grow to 500 students in the coming years.

Formerly known as the Science Without Borders program, the initiative grants scholarships to students studying in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, commonly known as the STEM fields.

Southern has committed to providing the students with a host of cultural experiences, including taking Brazilian students to sporting events, educational tours in south Louisiana and travel to surrounding cities.

Last week, four of Southern’s newest Brazilian students met with faculty advisers as they began the process of acclimating to a new country and a new school. All four hope to advance their studies in engineering and science while in Baton Rouge.

The Brazilian students are one piece of Southern’s stepped-up recruiting efforts. Llorens, the Baton Rouge chancellor, said the university has been losing between 300 and 400 students per year recently, due to tougher admissions standards and rising tuition, as schools throughout Louisiana try to offset more than $700 million in state budget cuts to higher education.

Southern is also expanding its online degree offerings and reaching out to community college students to boost enrollment.

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