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Higher Education in Missouri

Attending college in Missouri offers diversity and choice. From small to large, rural to urban, specialized to liberal arts, Missouri colleges and universities meet the needs of thousands of international students each year.

In 2011, more than 16,000 students from other countries discovered the diversity and choices offered on Missouri campuses, an increase of 6.3 percent from the prior year. The state of Missouri ranks 13th in the nation in the ability to attract international students to its colleges and universities.

In 2009, 36 Missouri institutions joined ranks to form the Study Missouri Consortium to promote the state as a destination for international students and to encourage Missouri students to study abroad.

Study Missouri conducted a survey among the state's international students, who identified their top five reasons for studying in Missouri:

The Top Five Reasons to Study in Missouri

  1. Excellent academic programs
  2. Welcome, friendly atmosphere
  3. Safe environment and low cost of living
  4. Spacious campuses
  5. Diversity

Students from more than 100 countries around the globe have chosen Missouri as their college destination. The top five sending countries are China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Nepal/Japan. The most popular field of study for international students in Missouri is business, followed by engineering.

Two Missouri universities are among the top 30 nationally in the number of international students enrolled. Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Missouri-Columbia are 18th and 29th respectively among all U.S. institutions. Both offer renowned research facilities with projects throughout the world.

Missouri has 13 public four-year universities, 21 public two-year campuses, one public two-year technical college, 25 independent colleges and universities, and 161 proprietary (private, for-profit) schools. These plentiful and diverse higher education opportunities make Missouri an attractive U.S. destination to discover.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education estimates that international students contribute almost $418 million to the state's economy. Missourians are known for their friendliness and hospitality. Many communities offer programs and networks to help international students feel at home in Missouri.

Missouri's climate and geography are as diverse as its population. North Missouri is primarily rolling prairies of fertile farmland, contrasted with rugged Ozarks Mountains to the south.

America's longest river, the Missouri, flows through the middle of the state before joining the Mighty Mississippi River near St. Louis. Clear, spring-fed streams meander throughout southern Missouri, making it a canoeing, fishing and camping destination.

The seasons bring spectacular changes to the Missouri landscape. The average high temperature in Missouri is 19º C and the average low is 4º C. Average rainfall is 97 cm, and average snowfall is 37 cm.

Missouri's two largest cities, St. Louis on the east side of the state, and Kansas City on the west, are steeped in history, culture and dynamic, diverse populations. Both were settled by immigrants 200 years ago, and retain elements of French, Spanish and German influences.

Other large cities include Springfield, St. Joseph, Joplin, Cape Girardeau, Warrenton and Kirksville. They are all locations of highly regarded universities where international students will find a welcoming academic home-away-from-home.

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