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Monday, July 23, 2012 - 2:02am

Tech Colleges Look For Overseas Students

The Technical College System of Georgia is working to attract more international students. Officials are hoping to generate more in tuition and to spur economic development.

Technical college officials say international students pay four times the tuition rates of Georgia students. Adding 100 international students would generate $780 thousand a year.

Sparky Reeves, President of South Georgia Technical College, says they believe there is a lot of interest.

“What many countries are missing is the middle class. And I think that blue collar worker that we could touch would be very attractive to some countries to start developing that particular area. If we do this right, we feel like we might have a niche with international students.”

TCSG began its International Initiative a year ago. The Technical College system is luring students with new technology programs in applied research, 3-D printing technology and solar energy. The system is also increasing recruitment efforts overseas.

South Georgia Technical College has named Don Smith to handle it's international initiative. He says they have a lot to offer international students.

“We offer 90 technical college degrees, diplomas and technical certificates of credit. Our students have won national championships in technical skills competitions. We do have intercollegiate athletics. And we have major partnerships with businesses that have locations all over the world.”

South Georgia Technical College is one of only two technical colleges in Georgia that has dormitories. Smith says that also makes them attractive to international students.

Officials hope that as the technical colleges become more popular with foreign students that will lure foreign companies to invest in Georgia.