Kent expands into Brazil

Lindsey Schley

Kent State will open a recruiting office in Brazil.

Brazil is the 14th most common country of origin for students studying in the U.S. and Kent hopes to break into the market, Associate Provost for Global Education Marcello Fantoni said.

“The [Brazilian] government has a scholarship program called ‘Science Without Borders’ that funds about 100,000 Brazilian students a year of a master or a Ph.D. level to come to study internationally,” Fantoni said. “From an educational point of view, it’s definitely an immense market for us. Brazil is an impressively growing economy and this creates a new class of potential customers for American universities.”

Kent State has 19 Brazilian students enrolled this year and hopes to increase that number to 200 students per year in three years, Fantoni said. In that time period, he also wants to raise international enrollment from about 2,200 to 3,000 students. About 1 percent of Kent’s current international students are from Brazil, while 39 percent are from China, the country with the most international students at Kent.

“We need to diversify the international student population,” Fantoni said. “We want to move toward a true multicultural campus because at that point, with 3,000 international students on the main campus, roughly 10 percent of the students will be foreign students.”

This is Kent’s third recruiting office outside the country, Fantoni said. Kent also has recruiting offices in Shanghai and New Delhi.

The office will be located in Curitiba in the state of Paraná, which is in southern Brazil, Fantoni said. Curitiba has a population of about 2 million and Paraná is a wealthy state.

“We are avoiding the big cities where we already would find the competition of other major universities,” Fantoni said. “Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are already saturated with other international or American universities.”

In Curitiba, the university is developing a partnership with Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná to make Brazil a study abroad destination for students, Fantoni said. A group will make a short trip to Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba this spring.

“While we try to recruit more Brazilian students, at the same time, we try to make Brazil into an opportunity for Kent State students,” Fantoni said. “We want to develop partnerships to make Brazil available as an option for our study abroad students.”

The office will also recruit students from other South American countries, such as Columbia, Uruguay and Chile, Fantoni said.

The budget for the office will be decided next fiscal year, Fantoni said. A consultant will arrive at Kent during the week of Jan. 14 to begin working on the program.

Contact Lindsey Schley at [email protected].