When Tumal M. Karuna­ratne was trying to decide which college in the United States or Britain to attend, the University of Cincinnati stood out. The 20-year-old undergraduate from Colombo, Sri Lanka, was excited about its engineering and cooperative-education programs. And Cincinnati offered him $12,000 a year in scholarship money designated for international undergraduates.
"The UC Global Scholarship was truly an encouragement," says Mr. Karuna­ratne, now a junior at the university. Cincinnati's Global Scholarships are part of a growing effort by colleges in the United States to attract a more geographically diverse group of foreign students.
With students from China, India, and South Korea often dominating the pool of foreign undergraduate applicants, colleges want to recruit more students from underrepresented countries in South Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere. Admissions officers say international diversity enriches campus culture, helps undergraduates in the United States prepare for the globalized workplaces of tomorrow, and is a hedge against the risk of a sharp, sudden drop-off in foreign enrollment.