State department funding Korean influencers to rake in international students

Josh Hypes, DCNF

The State Department is funding a non-profit to recruit Korean social media influencers to drum up international student enrollment at universities in the United States, according to a new grant proposal.

The State Department will pay a non-profit up to $100,000 to organize a 10-day trip providing the Korean influencers with an expansive view of the United States, according to the grant. The program would require the influencers to post at least one blog or vlog post about their experience in the U.S.

Korean enrollment has declined by 45% since 2011, from 72,295 Korean students to 39,491 students in 2020 and 2021, the grant proposal stated. The decision to recruit influencers comes after international student enrollment declined for the first time by 15% during the 2019-2020 t0 2021-2022 school years, according to U.S. News.

The State Department will recruit up to seven Korean “online influencers” from youtube and other social media platforms to boost enrollment at U.S. colleges, according to the report.

“We anticipate that visits to U.S. college campuses and meetings with successful Korean alumni of U.S. higher education institutions will be included in the itinerary,” the report stated. “The exchange program may also include stays in two different cities to provide participants a wide view of the United States.”

The trip is scheduled for April 2023 with the hope of tapping into the “education fevor” of parents paying for private tutors and enrolling their kids in after-school educational programs to get the best scores on the national exams, the grant stated.

When asked about the success of similar projects using social media influencers, the State Department referred the Daily Caller News Foundation back to the original grant proposal.

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