Hudson Valley Community College Goes Global With International Expansion

August 5, 2019

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U.S. two-year institutions are becoming increasingly global, and Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) hopes to be at the vanguard. Instead of bringing international students to New York, HVCC is coming to them with planned campuses in Central America and the Caribbean.

HVCC’s expansion is particularly bold considering that many higher education institutions around the country, particularly community colleges, are suffering from declines in enrollment and that international campuses have largely been confined to 4-year schools.

“With community colleges, everybody does what everybody else is doing. I want to make sure Hudson Valley is not among the competition but that we’re out there and we’re different,” HVCC president Roger Ramsammy said in an interview with Inside Higher Ed.

Students work and relax in HVCC’s Marvin Library Learning Commons.

HVCC began offering programs in Trinidad this summer with courses in Costa Rica are expected to begin next fall. Many of the Costa Rican courses will be taught by HVCC professors in person, while others will be live streamed. International students will also have the opportunity to transfer to State University of New York (SUNY), Albany, as HVCC is a member of the SUNY system.

Costa Rican officials are keen to see the program implemented.

“Costa Rica has a paradox,” said Pedro Munoz Fonseca, a Costa Rican congressman. “We have a very state-of-the-art industry with manufacturing, technology, pharmaceuticals, computers, and yet we still have a very large unskilled labor force … and that’s not good for the country.”

Ramsammy sees the program as a way to retain adjunct professors while also driving enrollment back up.

HVCC administrators and Ramsammy plan on visiting Hungary in December 2019 to discuss the community college expansion with Hungarian government officials interested in a program similar to Costa Rica’s.

“In order to maintain this college, you have to go far out and make yourself indispensable.” Ramsammy said. “We will be an international college.”

—Thomas Pool

At a Glance

Member Institution: Hudson Valley Community College

Initiative: International Campuses in Trinidad and Costa Rica

Goal: To increase educational opportunities in Trinidad and Costa Rica and create an expanded international campus.

Become a member: As a member of ACE, you join more than 1,700 organizations that collectively promote, protect and advocate for students, faculty and administrators in higher education. ACE is the most visible and influential higher education association in the nation, and we are at the center of federal policy debates concerning legislation that affects campuses across the country. See more on the ACE website.

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