Tennessee State University, is a historically Black educational institution in Nashville. According to the latest U.S. Department of Education statistics, African Americans are 71 percent of the undergraduate students at the university. Whites make up 13 percent of the student body and 11 percent of the students are nonresident aliens.
Officials at Tennessee State report that 70 percent of the approximately 570 foreign students at the university come from Saudi Arabia. Mark Brinkley, director of international education at Tennessee State, says that “they select TSU because we have been able to offer the majors that they want to enter, particularly in the field of engineering. Well over half of our engineering majors are Saudi Arabian students.”
S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering at Tennessee State, stated that “our goal in the College of Engineering is to produce what we call the ‘global engineer.’ This is a graduate who is prepared to demonstrate technical competency to work anywhere in the world. This objective has been supported by our study-abroad program and the invitation to international students to complete their engineering degree at TSU.”
The large number of Saudi Arabian students also are a financial boon to the university. “Ninety-nine percent of these Saudi students come here fully funded by their government,” Brinkley reports.