In my last blog I quoted statistics from the QS Applicant Survey 2018 revealing the shifts in international students’ preferences and mobility patterns. More than 16,000 prospective international students participated in the survey.
This blog will examine one country who appears to be gaining both in reputation, application and enrollment: Canada.
The Canadian government and higher education authority has set a goal of enrolling 450,000 students by 2022. In 2017 495,000 international students enrolled in Canadian colleges and universities, five years ahead of schedule. The numbers reflect a 20 percent increase over the previous year.
Canada ranks number three as a top study destination for international students, after the United States and the United Kingdom.
Higher education is the fourth largest export in the Canadian economy and supports 170,000 jobs throughout the country.
Enrollments from China increased 28 percent and Indian enrollments increased by 25 percent. Enrollments from Vietnam and Iran also increased. Applications from Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe to date this year should reflect strong enrollments from these regions in the fall term.
President of the Canadian Bureau for International Education, President Karen McBride: “Our research shows that international students choose Canada because of the quality of the Canadian education system and our reputation as a safe and tolerant country.”
I would also add that the Canadian government, in concert with Canadian colleges and universities, created a strategic international marketing plan. When you request information on studying in particular school in Canada, you first get the reasons why you should study in Canada. And last year the Canadian government opened seven new visa centers in China to meet the growing demand from Chinese students to study in Canada. Finally, the Canadian government has implemented generous employment opportunities for international students after graduation.
QS Market Insights manager Dasha Karzunina put it best: Student mobility patterns are “on the precipice of transformation.” International student enrollment in Canadian schools is one indication of this transformation.
In March 2018 the 2018 QS Applicant Survey Report published the results of a global survey of study abroad students and the preferred countries of internationally mobile students.
The survey revealed the following:
While the United States and the United Kingdom remain the preferred study destinations, the survey results also revealed that both countries are losing market share to other destinations, especially Canada, Germany and Australia.
The “Trump Effect” and Brexit appear to be key (negative) factors in student preferences.
Countries offering classes in English and with low tuition or scholarship programs (like Germany) have experienced increased applications from international students.
The United States has received fewer applicants from students in several countries in the Middle East. The reasons are well known to anyone reading this article or newspapers.
For the first time, China emerged at the eighth most popular international student destination. This is a reflection, among other reasons, of the significant scholarships awarded to students in countries in China’s Belt and Road initiative.
There are other trends affecting international student mobility worth noting:
Southeast and East Asia are increasingly popular among international students.
Key factors include:
Low tuition and living costs
Proximity to home
English language courses and
Improvement in rankings
While these surveys reflect a point in time, March 2018, I think it safe to predict that when international student enrollments are reported in the fall, these statistics will hold and reflect the changes in international student preferences and mobility patterns. I don’t think this is a one-year phenomena. There is ample data to suggest that these changes have been occurring “sub rosa” for quite some time.
Is this the college/university student of the future?
“Painting a vision with words carries the argument.” C.S. Lewis
I don’t know if I will succeed in convincing you, the reader, that college and university students of the future will be very different from what they are today, but I shall try.
The U.S. college/university student in the future will be:
Older and female
Hispanic and Asian
Attend school closer to home
Learn in study labs, not lecture halls
Learn using podcasts, blogs, and streamlined videos
Attend several schools and have multiple transcripts
Graduate with a double major
Graduate with stackable credentials
Enroll in schools with robust career counseling programs, job placements at graduation and manageable debt levels
Take courses online and on-campus
Take at least one Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
Attend classes year-round
Study abroad either in the summer or for one semester
Participate in at least one internship program
Graduate with stackable credentials
Have multiple transcripts listing competencies
Take certificate and continuing education courses after graduation
I don’t know if the picture I have attempted to paint with the words in this article has convinced you that the college student of tomorrow, and by extension, the college and university of the future, will be different from what it is today. But I tried.
My next blog will attempt to define the college and university of the future. Stay tuned.
Will the United States continue to enroll more international students by 2020?
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, international students contributed nearly $40 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016 and supported more than 450,000 jobs. Dr. Dick Startz, an economics professor at the University of Santa Barbara, puts the figure even higher at $50 billion.
According to the Institute for International Education the United States has led the world in the number of enrolled international students since records have been compiled.
However, there is ample evidence to suggest that this may be changing. The number of international students enrolled on U.S. colleges and universities declined by four percent between 2016 and 2017. On the graduate level, the number of international students enrolled in science and engineering decreased by 14,730, or six percent between 2016 and 2017.
The latest statistics from the State Department indicate a 17 percent decline in 2017 in the number of F-1 visas issued to international students, a 28 percent decline in the number of visas granted to Indian students and a 24 percent decline in visas issued to Chinese students. A combined 78,000 ewer international students were granted visas in 2017 compared with 2016.
The reasons for the decline are many: increased competition from other countries, especially Canada, Australia, China and Southeast Asian countries. The U.S. Muslim travel ban, greater scrutiny by consular officials of student visa applicants, uncertainty about the regulations for international students to work after graduation under the Optional Practical Training program, difficulty to obtain H-1B visas and the uncertainty over potentially new regulations that may limit the number of visas granted to Chinese students. (In 2016-17 Chinese students accounted for a third of all international students studying in the United States and contributed $ 12 billion to the U.S. economy.)
Many colleges and universities in the United States rely heavily on the income from international students to subsidize national students to meet enrollment and financial goals. The schools with brand name recognition will likely continue to enroll the number of foreign students they want or need. But second and third-tier institutions, both public and private, are most likely to experience declines in the number of international students enrolling on their campuses.
I, for one, believe that in time the United States will lose, or share, the number one spot with other countries who are aggressively and successfully enrolling a greater share of internationally mobile students. China, with nearly a half million students enrolled on Chinese campuses today and with the One Belt One Road educational initiatives in countries worldwide, may, in time, take over the number one spot in international student enrollments.