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Amy Dalrymple, Published September 06 2009

Higher ed notebook: MSUM looks to pair families, international students

Minnesota State University Moorhead is seeking community members to connect with international students through a “friendship family” program.

The program aims to give international students an opportunity to experience American life and make connections.

“When you travel, the way to really experience culture is to connect up with a family,” said Greg Wymer, director of international student affairs.

The students do not live in the homes but attend events such as football games, birthday parties or family dinners.

Families are asked to plan one event per month, but many do more than that, Wymer said.

They’re also encouraged to attend events the student is involved in.

The families benefit from the program by learning about different countries, Wymer said.

MSUM has about 400 international students this fall.

A picnic is planned for 5 p.m. Sept. 27 at Gooseberry Park in Moorhead, where the families will meet their students.

To participate or for more information, contact Janet Hohenstein prior to Sept. 27 at (218) 477-2956 or hohenst@mnstate.edu.

MSUM international students also will have more opportunities to interact with the community this fall with a new scholarship program.

The scholarship, which requires students to meet academic requirements, gives international students the same tuition rate Minnesota students pay.

One requirement is that they do 10 hours of community service work.

“They’ll be more visible in the community as a result of this scholarship,” Wymer said.

Cobber pay freeze

Employees at Concordia College will not see pay increases this year “due to continuing uncertainties about enrollment and revenue,” President Pam Jolicoeur told employees in an e-mail last week.

Concordia joins about two-thirds of private colleges nationwide that planned to freeze salaries this year, according to a survey by consulting firm Yaffe & Co. and reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The survey also found that 53 percent of the 259 colleges that responded also planned to cut employee benefits.

However, Concordia plans to increase contributions to employee medical benefits.

MSCTC eyes California

Minnesota State Community and Technical College is turning to California for potential online students.

The college advertises on billboards in California, where budget cuts have put a strain on community colleges.

The billboards have the logo and Web site for M State and say “We’ve got room for you.”

The billboards also are displayed in Arizona.

The advertising has brought more visitors to the www.minnesota.edu Web site – 84 percent more in California and 49 percent more in Arizona.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590 or adalrymple@forumcomm.com