OSU Looks To Mexico For Students

Saturday, June 3rd 2006, 2:42 pm
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Officials at Oklahoma State University are starting to look south of the border for new students and has hired a former OSU graduate student from Mexico to recruit them.

Mexico doesn't have as many graduate school opportunities as the United States, so OSU is a logical place for them to attend, OSU President David Schmidly said.

``Oklahoma is not that far from the border, so it's just logical that we could be recruiting students down there, looking for opportunities to share faculty resources and address common concerns.''

The university has hired Jose Sagarnaga, earned a master's degree in international studies at OSU, to work out of several universities in the state of Puebla, in south central Mexico.

About 20 students from Mexico attended OSU last year, but Sagarnaga hopes to increase that number tenfold. He hopes those students return to Mexico and work to better their country.

He is working out of the Universidad de las Americas Puebla and Universidad Popular Autonoma del Estado de Puebla, which have donated office space.

Sagarnaga also will travel to other universities in Mexico, looking to create student and faculty exchanges that will benefit both countries.

``We are hoping this will lead to a better understanding and improved relationships _ economically and socially _ between the state of Oklahoma and Mexico,'' Sagarnaga said.

Sagarnaga said his experience as a graduate student at OSU is a good selling point. He had opportunities to study in Europe but chose OSU because he was impressed with the campus friendliness, proximity to Mexico, quality academic programs and affordability.

``The percentage of Mexican students going abroad is increasing and we want to be included as one of the top options for them,'' he said.

Sagarnaga said OSU will work to develop relationships with government and business leaders in Mexico to make it easier for students to gain financial support and student visas to study in Oklahoma.

While the University of Oklahoma does not have a recruiting office in Mexico, it has partnerships with various universities for student exchanges, spokeswoman Catherine Bishop said. Last year, 19 students from Mexico attended OU.