BY CORIE LYNN
All eyes were on Carol Solko-Olliff during Thursday’s Student Government Association meeting.
Solko-Olliff serves FHSU as the Director of International Student Services and serves the Kansas Board of Regents as a member of the Student Insurance Advisory Committee.
“We have close to 4000 students studying in mainland China in addition to those studying at Fort Hays,” she said.
The total number of international students is even larger than this.
According to the Solko-Olliff, there are currently 110 international students at FHSU from countries like Senegal and Paraguay and students across the world studying online.
Solko-Olliff spoke to the student senators to explain how her department works at FHSU. It provides overall support for international students on campus and overseas as they complete their studies.
Currently, the number of international students on campus is down, a trend that has persisted since 2016. She explained that multiple factors led to this.
“Some of that is due to COVID in the last year and a half,” she said.
The university, though, is engaging in heavy recruiting tactics to bring students back to campus due to the cultural impact they make on campus and the economic impact they have locally.
Solko-Olliff also spoke on student insurance. Because of her work with international students, who are required to have insurance, she sees the impact the topic has on FHSU’s students.
Her goal in the KBOR community is to work to keep insurance as affordable as possible, though premiums have risen.
In addition to international students, certain programs require the students to have insurance.
For those using student health insurance, they can call the company to find clinics and offices nearby. International students also have the benefits of paid repatriation and medical evacuation.
According to Solko-Olliff, in the event of an international student’s death, the insurance company will pay to send the body back to their home country.
For medical evacuation, where illness or injury requires the student to stay in the US, they will pay for the family to fly to the student. They also take return trips into consideration.
“They will pay for [the student’s] flight home,” Solko-Olliff said.
This discussion lasted the majority of the meeting, but the student senators read through new bills.
One, which was an amendment to bi-laws regarding the Educational Opportunity Fund, was pushed to emergency business and passed to extend the due date of the EOF status reports.
“It’s for different departments if they want to hire student employees,” SGA President Mark Faber said.
The EOF amendment passed.
The meeting then concluded. The Student Government will reconvene on Thursday, Nov. 18.