LSU to Lead First SEC Student Recruitment Initiative in Africa

September 14, 2022

BATON ROUGE – LSU will be leading a student mobility initiative in Africa with eight other Southeastern Conference universities. This initiative is the first of its kind to be launched in the United States and will primarily focus on recruitment in Ghana and Senegal. Samba Dieng, Senior Internationalization Officer & Executive Director of International Programs, is spearheading a week-long recruitment trip with the participating SEC Senior International Officers in October. 

“Sub-Saharan Africa is a strategically important market for LSU and other SEC universities,” said Roy Haggerty, LSU Executive Vice President & Provost. “Louisiana has a long-standing history with West Africa, in particular. It is my hope that this joint initiative will lead to new opportunities for LSU and our SEC peers to work in Sub-Saharan Africa in ways that are beneficial to everyone.”

Diversifying the international student population provides an opportunity to develop a healthy and sustainable enrollment rate at U.S. higher education institutions. The majority of international students in the U.S. come from China and India. However, over the past four decades, tertiary education enrollment in Sub-Saharan African countries has been growing at a faster rate than any other region in the world. African student mobility rates are currently the highest globally, according to UNESCO. The large number of African youths seeking education abroad provides further opportunity for U.S. universities. 

“EducationUSA welcomes this initiative from LSU and eight additional SEC institutions committed to expanding the diversity of their international student recruitment,” said Diane Weisz Young, Regional Ed. Advising Coordinator for EducationUSA West and Central Africa. “The quality of students in Ghana and Senegal and their interest in studying in the U.S. will certainly impress all participants.”

LSU is leading this strategic initiative with its SEC peers from the University of Alabama, University of Arkansas, University of Florida, University of Kentucky, University of Mississippi, University of Missouri, University of South Carolina and University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

“Partnerships should be at the core of everything we do as international educators,” Dieng said. “This intentional partnership will make the SEC the primary destination for students from Sub-Saharan Africa.”  

SEC institutions have been collaborating with one another in a similar manner since 2005, spanning a wide range of initiatives from leadership development to student recruitment. One SEC collaboration focuses on domestic student recruitment via the SEC College Tour. This effort first began in 2009 and is administered by the SEC’s enrollment and admissions professionals. The success of this collaboration led SEC leaders to discuss expanding the Conference’s reach and impact within the international market, and the SEC hosted a virtual international tour in the spring of 2022. 

“International recruitment of undergraduate students has been an ongoing conversation among the SEC’s enrollment and admissions administrators for some time,” said Torie A. Johnson, SEC Associate Commissioner for Academic Relations. “To now see our senior international officers coming together for a joint trip to such a strategic area of the world is both exciting and important as our universities continue to navigate the future of international enrollment.”