OLLU has welcomed international student-athletes for 17 years

The OLLU athletics program has welcomed and helped graduate international student-athletes for more than 17 years. International students are an important part of the OLLU community and help carry the OLLU experience to all parts of the world. According to 2022 data, of all the international students who attend OLLU, 75 percent of them are student-athletes and they marked a 3.6 GPA compared to the OLLU average of 3.2. 

Mary Scotka is OLLU’s Assistant Vice President for Administration and the F-1 Visa (academic student) Principal Designated School Official (PDSO). As the PDSO, Scotka provides recommendations to F-1 students enrolled at OLLU regarding maintenance of nonimmigrant status and to support timely and complete record-keeping to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

She commented, “OLLU provides our international students with services support resources and programs, so they have a strong, vibrant experience while studying in the United States. International students are encouraged to be engaged in their studies and to take advantage of the many co-curricular, on-campus activities and opportunities throughout San Antonio.” 

Other Designated School Officials (DSO) at OLLU are J. Carlos Laird from Undergraduate Admissions in San Antonio; Cindy Mata-Vasquez from the OLLU Rio Grande Valley campus; and Jamina Scippio-McFadden from the OLLU Houston campus. Information on the international admission requirements, admitted students, English proficiency requirement, credential evaluation, where students are from, the international team and other helpful resources, go here. 

Whereas other universities may have more international students, OLLU’s receive hands-on learning and have faculty who serve as mentors and guides, both of which are hallmarks of an OLLU education. They also receive invaluable support from the athletics and coaching staffs. 

The most popular majors for international students are kinesiology and business. All programs offered are designed to ensure their success during their time here and upon graduation. Scotka said, “We embrace them from the start, and we make sure we give them a good experience. We meet with them as soon as they come on campus and at the end of their semester. In between, we are available to help them along the way.” 

The men’s basketball team has the most international student athletes, largely because of the relationships fostered by Head Coach Chris Dial. He is the founder of The Basketball Embassy, a multinational, nonprofit organization that builds community through basketball and assists National Basketball Federations as well as other organizations in their quest to grow and develop the game of basketball in their country or region. He has been able to bring in student-athletes from throughout the world. 

In addition, the women’s basketball, volleyball, tennis, golf and soccer teams have all had international student-athletes from such countries as Argentina, Australia, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, Equador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Montenegro, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Sweden, Uganda, Venezuela, Wales and Zimbabwe. However, the majority have been from Mexico, the United Kingdom and Brazil. Sixty-six percent are male, 75 percent are undergraduates, 16 percent are pursuing a master’s degree and nine percent are in a doctoral program. Forty percent of the international students are employed on campus.