What is a college?

Colleges are a major sector of the U.S. education system. They are public, government-funded institutions. More than 10 million students, about 40 percent of all undergraduate students, attend colleges throughout the United States.

Green River College students standing outside Salish Hall

Last year more than 100,000 international students attended colleges in the United States. Green River College has benefited from having international students since 1985 and has developed a program, which serves students more than 1,700 students from more than 60 countries.

Colleges like Green River provide the first two years of university education, called "lower division courses," preparing students to transfer to a university for two years to complete their bachelor’s degree. This system is called "2+2" – two years at a college to earn an associates-degree plus two years at a university equals a bachelor degree.

In addition to offering two-year associate degrees, Green River College also offers some four-year applied bachelor degrees, as well as short-term noncredit programs.

The curriculum at a college and a university are the same. Both colleges and universities are accredited by the same agencies. College class sizes are typically small (20-35) and students receive close personal attention from their faculty and advisors.


The Study of the United States Institute (SUSI) on Women's Leadership is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). ECA’s mission is "to foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly and peaceful relations.

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logo for the United States Department of State

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Contact Us

SUSI Academic Director

Beth Carter


SUSI Administrative Director

Megan Swanson

+1 (253) 931-6845 (office phone)





This is a program of the U.S. Department of State, administered by Green River College.