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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (ASU) – The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board today voted to approve the Queretaro, Mexico, campus of Arkansas State University, which is scheduled to open in August 2015.

"This is another historic step for Arkansas State," Chancellor Tim Hudson said. "We appreciate the board's vote of confidence as we expand opportunities for our students and faculty while building important relationships between two significant countries."

Dr. Hudson has emphasized how the project will be a benefit to A-State students and faculty who participate, because " . . . it will create leaders who have an empathetic understanding of different cultures, who are comfortable working in a global environment."

ASU System President Charles L. Welch said the expansion is extraordinary for the university.

"We have worked hard to create a partnership that minimizes risk yet maximizes benefits for Arkansas State, Mexico, and, most of all, students," Welch said.

More than 2,000 leaders in government, education and business gathered in Queretaro on Feb. 20 to celebrate plans to start construction of the $50 million, privately funded A-State campus. It will become the first comprehensive U.S. public university campus in Mexico.

The Association for the Advancement of Mexican Education (AIEM), a private business foundation, acquired approximately 2,000 acres for a comprehensive land development plan near Queretaro, and the A-State campus will be the focal point of the project, which will include commercial, residential and recreational components.

The Mexico campus, which will open for classes in fall 2015, incorporates the A-State brand and logo and the university's curriculum. Courses will be taught in English by credentialed faculty approved by Arkansas State. The first phase of academic space on the 200 acres allocated for the campus is being designed to accommodate up to 5,000 students, with a goal of 1,000 students in the first year, Hudson said.

The ASU Board of Trustees authorized Hudson to proceed with negotiations for the campus in December 2012, and the university has since been working with project advocates and partners in the State of Queretaro. Arkansas State will utilize funds generated from private gifts for startup costs, and AIEM will underwrite any operating deficits for up to three years after course offerings begin. A-State ultimately will receive a percentage of revenues.

AIEM is a formally registered, nonprofit organization authorized to engage in all operations needed to support A-State's mission there. AIEM will finance and build the campus, ensuring that Arkansas State will have no liabilities in the country, Hudson said.

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