At the risk of being accused of being politically correct (or incorrect), I would like to share with you some of the international higher education myths I have uncovered over the past few months.
The U.S. continues leads the world in attracting international students.
Last year, the U.S. had a 10 percent increase in international students. But Canada increased its international student population by 13 percent, and Australia and New Zealand increased the number of students studying on its campuses by 12 percent.
The demand for higher education is greatest in Europe.
The demand for higher education in South Asia is exploding. With a population of more than 600 million under the age of 18, and with the rapid pace of social and economic changes taking place in the region, South Asia is poised to take over Western Europe and the U.S. as a primary choice for enrollment. This fact may not be reflected in next year’s enrollment statistics, but this is a trend that I would watch closely for future recruitment threats and opportunities.
International hubs and branch campuses will continue to increase in the future.
International hubs may increase in the future but I predict regional hubs, rather than international hubs, will grow faster.
The Asian middle class has grown faster than any other region in the world.
The Asian middle class has increased in numbers over the past two decades but the African middle class has tripled over the past 14 years from 4.6 million households in 2000 to 15 million in 2016.
The UK continues to be the number one choice for U.S. students studying abroad.
The fastest growing market for U.S. students is Germany. The number of U.S. students studying in Germany is estimated to be 10,000. Most of the students pay no tuition.
The fastest growing Chinese market will be at the graduate and undergraduate level.
Chinese teenagers, as young as 14, are enrolling in high schools throughout the world in increasing numbers. Last year, for example, the number of Chinese high school students was nearly 50,000. This is 100 times more than in 2004.
These are but a few of the myths and facts in international higher education. More to come in the future.
How Australia is increasing its international student population
I will predict that when international student numbers are reported in the fall, Australia, along with Canada, will realize a substantial increase in international student numbers. With regard to Australia, there are many reasons for this.
Last year, according to the Australian Department of Education and Training, Australia’s international student population was 554,179, an increase of 11 percent. This is not a single year phenomena. The average annual growth rate has been 10.5 percent since 2013.
Asia dominates international student enrollments in Australia. Three in four international students come from Asia. China especially dominates international student numbers. More than 156,000 students from China studied in Australia in 2016.
What are some of the reasons for this growth? First, Australian universities enjoy a worldwide reputation for excellence. Second, the Minister for Education and Training reported that the most recent International Student Survey revealed that 89 percent of international higher education students reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their educational experience in Australia.
Third, personal safety and security is another reason for an increase in international student enrollment in Australia.
Fourth, the Australian government, in my opinion, has made wise policy decisions which have supported international student recruitment and enrollment. International education is the third largest export for Australia generating more than A$21 billion in annual revenue in 2016.
Australia’ first National Strategy for International Education has nine goals to enhance Australian international education, including a focus on student experience as well as education quality. The country, not just individual schools, are marketed as a desirable international student destination.
The government has also introduced work opportunities both during enrollment and after graduation. Students can work up to 40 hours over two weeks during the school term and for unlimited hours in term breaks. Also, eligible students can work up to four years after graduation. This has been especially important for students from specific countries. Brazilian students, for example, faced with economic difficulties at home, have increasingly enrolled in increasing numbers in Australia. Last year the number of Brazilian enrollments in Australia increased by 20 percent.
These measures by the Australian government come at a time when many countries appear less welcoming to international students.
A combination of an excellent educational system combined with wise government policies supporting international student recruitment and enrollment, are responsible for the huge success in Australia. The rest of the world has a great deal to learn from our colleagues, down under.
If you want to learn more about Australian educational policies and trends, I suggest you read Louise Hargreaves’ Higher Education Morning Update. Louise’s email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Shortly after writing this blog, I received an invitation to study in Australia with the promise that I would receive a response in 48 hours!
In the last blog post I shared with you some of the likely implications on future international student recruitment and enrollment as a result of recent executive orders and new regulations. This blog will focus on three countries likely to benefit from the uncertainty in the United States: Canada, Australia and China.
On January 28, 2017, Canada’s TheGlobe and Mail reported that at many Canadian universities, applications from American students for the 2017-18 academic year are up between 20 to 80 percent compared with last year. There are several reasons for this, including an effective Canadian recruitment program in the United States, a drop in the Canadian dollar, improved visa processing and uncertainty over future U.S. higher education regulations. Additionally, Montreal was rated first on a list of global student cities, edging out Paris for the first time. Affordability, quality of education and student experience, were some of the factors for the ranking.
Canada is now the destination of choice for Mexican students. and between 2013 and 2015 the number of Indian students enrolling in Canadian schools increased by 40 percent.
According to the Australian Department of Education and Training, international student enrollment increased 10 percent to 554,179 last year. In the latest survey of international students, 89 percent indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with their overall educational experience in Australia. The reputation of the Australian higher education universities and colleges and personal safety and security were listed as some of the reasons for student satisfaction.
The Turnbull government is committed to international student outreach and last year international student revenue in Australia was AU$ 21.8, making it Australia’s third-largest export.
China’s educational policies and outreach stand in stark to the uncertainty in the United States over future international student enrollment regulations. Generous funding by the Chinese government is attracting noted scientists and scholars. Similar funding of international Asian and African students has made China an attractive alternative to the United States. The Chinese have taken “soft power” to a new level.
I do believe that when the September international student enrollment numbers are reported in November, many schools in the United States will report a decline in their international student population. True, the top colleges and universities will not be affected but many smaller schools will.
I am reminded that similar gloom and doom articles were written after the September,2001 attacks in the United States. Yet, after a few years, international students did return to the U.S. for study. But I would argue that the international student recruitment market has become much more competitive than it was in 9.11.2001. And it will be more difficult to regain market share.
International deans and recruiters should prepare now for the certainty of the uncertainty in U.S. international recruitment and enrollment.
Since many of you reading this blog have strategic plans that include, even depend, on recruiting international students, I have decided to share with you how future international student recruitment may be impacted by the current administration.
International deans and recruiters are facing the perception that the United States is no longer a country welcoming international students and scholars. As you know, perception becomes reality whether that reality is true of not.
Between eight and ten percent of total net tuition revenue in the United States comes from international students so disrupting the flow of international students can have disastrous repercussions for many schools.
Let’s examine how future international student enrollment could be affected by recently proposed regulations:
Order banning students from seven Muslim countries
If reinstated, the executive order banning visitors, students, and scholars from seven Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen could result in colleges and universities in the United States losing up to $700 million annually, according to estimates by CollegeFactual, a higher education research firm.
More than 17,000 students from these seven countries are currently enrolled on college and university campuses in the United States, the majority in graduate programs. An estimated 2,300 scholars from these countries would be affected by this executive order.
Visa and employment regulations
The proposed stricter policies on issuing visas and Optional Practical Training, or OPT regulations, could impact the recruitment of certain international students. Indian students, in particular, favor enrollment in countries with generous post-graduation employment options. When the United Kingdom scrapped post-graduation permits for international students in 2012, the number of Indian students enrolling in UK universities declined by almost 30 percent. The same is likely to happen in the United States if it becomes more difficult for international students to remain in the U.S. to work after graduation.
International scholars and conferences
In February, 2017, more than 6,000 academics from around the world pledged to boycott future international conferences held in the United States as long as the executive order banning travel from seven Muslim countries is in effect. Some Canadian universities have taken it a step further, by rescheduling previously booked conferences.
No one knows for certain how the recent executive orders and travel bans will eventually impact international recruitment. But some changes are inevitable. In my next blog I will share with you the countries most likely to benefit from the uncertainty in the United States: Canada, Australia and China.
In my last blog post I recommended that international deans and recruiters begin now to plan and write their school’s international strategic recruiting plan for 2018.
The following are four recommendations to assist with that planning:
Review all your current articulation agreements and affiliations
Can you strengthen these agreements? Two plus two programs? Combined degrees? Study abroad and summer programs? On-line collaboration? Take a fresh look at the international partners you already have.
Meet with faculty with international contacts
Are there international faculty contacts that could be explored for potential collaboration? Many professors attend international conferences. Can you provide them with information so they can begin a dialogue with their colleagues?
Based on your research, select two or three new countries for recruitment. I am a big believer in using big data and predictive analytics to guide strategic decisions. But I also believe in getting information from real people. Send a recruiter to explore the possibilities in the new recruiting countries before making a financial commitment.
An agile and open mind, married with a pragmatic approach to international student recruitment, should be the cornerstone of all future international recruiting plans. Being ready to move on a dime and change your college or university’s strategic international plan requires an openness to a new way of thinking and a flexible team. Often this means a culture change from the way your school previously recruited international students to being ready to first recognize new recruiting opportunities and then implement effective and efficient changes to your school’s benefit.
This is not the time to rehearse a new way of thinking. In many colleges and universities traditional recruiting is often a management tool, not a tool for understanding the new world order that will influence politics, economics and student mobility. The tranquilizing drug of last year’s enrollment statistics will have no relevance in the future.
Change permeates nearly every facet of life. The dark alchemy of disruption and unpredictability in international student recruiting demands a new way of thinking and planning.
The landscape and legacy of thinking “without a box” may serve you well. So think “without a box” and see what happens in 2018.