The tiny Asian country of Nepal has had a huge impact at OCCC this year, International Services Coordinator Sunny Garner said last week.
With 139 students and approximately one-third of the international student population, Nepal tops the charts at OCCC when it comes to international student enrollment, Garner said.
Nepal is near India, with a land mass approximately the size of Arkansas.
Garner credits the numbers to the country’s familiarity with the community college system.
She said OCCC has seen an increase in Nepalese numbers because other colleges, including University of Central Oklahoma, began recruiting heavily in Nepal.
“OCCC began getting reverse transfers from students who decided to come to OCCC after being at UCO,” Garner said.
Suman Raut, medical technology major, participated in the reverse transfer process by transferring to OCCC from UCO.
Raut said he made the choice to come to OCCC after realizing that OCCC had the same classes but at a fraction of the cost.
According to the OCCC Bursar’s office website, non-residents pay $236.20 per credit hour, plus an additional student status maintenance fee, compared to $88.60 for resident students.
Garner said the number of international students from other countries also has risen.
She said she credits the community the international student body has built as reason for the steady growth.
“Students here have really built a community and the more it grows, the more it will build on itself,” Garner said.
“Through word of mouth, we have had students contact us from all over the U.S. saying, ‘we want to come here,’” she said.
Raut said he also credits word of mouth as an influence on the number of international students at OCCC.
When people from Nepal ask Raut and his friends about school, “we always tell them to come to OCCC,” he said.
Garner said the students from Nepal and other countries at OCCC now are going to be future leaders in their own countries.
She said she hoped the Nepalese and other students will have positive experiences in America, and will take the experiences and use them to better their home countries.