Enrollment at Youngstown State University has increased significantly in the past two years, having the highest freshman class in school history. But it’s one section of enrollment that has the university top in the nation.

YSU is competing with the big dogs by having the second highest growth rate of international student enrollment in the country.

“Our president, Jim Tressel, really recognizes the importance of having culturally diverse classrooms and the educational element,” said Carly Devenburgh, assistant director of YSU’s international program.

According to the latest data, international student enrollment at YSU has grown by 50 percent.

“We’re hoping that that could help students broaden the vision and broaden the experience,” said Corona Jiang, assistant director of YSU’s international recruitment.

Devenburgh and Jiang are influential in the new recruitment tactics for YSU’s international department.

The first new tactic is traveling to other countries and schools.

“I meet Dr. Myers in Napal,” said Bikash Thapa.

Recruiting students like Thapa.

“He told me about the YSU and the academics here and about the honors college and I really liked the program,” Thapa said.

That’s when the next phase of recruitment comes into play.

“A lot of us can’t afford to pay the full tuition,” Thapa said.

“We’ve been offering great scholarship packages,” Devenburgh said.

“If it wasn’t for financial aid I wouldn’t be here,” Thapa said.

Meeting with international students face to face makes them want to come to YSU, and financial aid and scholarships help them get here.

But it’s the programs put on by the international department that make them stay.

“Every week they do coffee hour,” Thapa said.

Giving international students a chance to talk, share stories and connect with the community.

“There are some people who really care about international student[s] and they come almost every coffee hour,” Thapa said.

Having them here also helps the Valley’s economy.

“Many times we receive the request from the local community on the other side and some enterprises, they want to explore the business opportunities here,” Jiang said.