New Chinese International Student Market

June 27th, 2017 by

New Chinese International Student Market

A short while ago I was in Seattle for my daughter’s wedding. Staying in our hotel was a family from China. They were in Washington state to enroll their 15 year- old son in a local high school. I spoke with the family about why they would choose to separate their son from the family at such an early age. The father assured me that they were one, on many Chinese families, who have decided to better prepare their children for college enrollment in the U.S. by sending them to the U.S. for one or two years of high school.

So I decided to do a little research on this trend.

In the past few years there has been a significant increase in the number of Chinese students enrolling in high schools either in the U.S. or Canada. According to an article by Mini Gu, Advanced Evaluation Specialist, there are more than one million millionaires in China and an estimated 83 percent plan to send their children abroad for high school.

According to a report published by IIE in 2013, there were nearly 25,000 Chinese students enrolled in U.S. secondary schools. Two years later, “The Wall Street Journal” reported that number was almost 35,000.

The Canadian Bureau for International Education reported more than 21,000 Chinese students enrolled in Canadian high schools.

What are some of the reasons for this early student migration?

For many Chinese parents graduating from a respectable American or Canadian university is better than graduating from a second or third tier Chinese university. A recent Chinese government crackdown on teaching western ideas in university classrooms is another reason. Finally, many families have come to understand and appreciate the value of a liberal arts education as opposed to the rigid teaching methods, a hallmark of Chinese university lectures, based on strict memorization.

Key Takeaways

College and university international deans and recruiters should partner with local high schools to create a pathway program from high school to university admission.

International recruiters and agents should market a combined high school and university placement.

College and university deans should begin to “re-recruit” the Chinese high school students in the partnership program by including the students in school events and through a focused student services outreach program.

Outreach to Chinese parents should begin while the Chinese students are in high school and should continue throughout college enrollment and graduation.


Please note: This will be my last blog posting until September, 2017. I need a break from writing. And you need a break from reading. Happy summer.


International Student Recruitment “Winners” 2018

June 13th, 2017 by

International Student Recruitment “Winners” 2018

Time to take another snapshot of international student  mobility patterns a year after Brexit and six months after the U.S. election. I don’t think we will have to wait until September to learn which countries have already emerged as international student “winners.”

Consider the following.

Many colleges and universities in the U.S. and UK are reporting declines in international student applicants.

Clearly most Canadian colleges and universities have experienced an increase in applications from international students. The University of Toronto, for example, reports a 20 percent increase in undergraduate applications and a 41 percent increase in graduate student applications.

International undergraduate applications have increased nearly 30 percent at the University of Alberta; a 120 percent increase in applications from India and a 50 percent increase from U.S. applicants.

The number of international applicants to Irish universities has increased by 17 percent this year with significant increases of applicants from China, India and Southeast Asia.

In 2016-17 a record 112,000 international students attended Dutch colleges and universities. Courses offered in English, low tuition costs and post-graduate employment opportunities contributed to the increase. The highest number of students came from Germany, China and Italy.

In a recent UNESCO report, Malaysia has emerged as one of the top 10 destinations for post-secondary education. Currently there are 11 foreign branch campuses in Malaysia and the Malaysian government has set up two education zones as sites for additional branch campuses.  

“The Jakarta Post” recently reported that Indonesia will have one of the largest college-age populations in the world by 2020. Government policies are poised to make the country an educational hub for students in Southeast Asia.

Key Takeaways

The international higher education student market is poised to grow by almost 5 percent by 2021.

Regional educational hubs, rather that distant locations, will realize an increase in international student enrollments.

The largest increase in international, college-age students will come from Asia.

Government policies, including streamlined visa processing procedures, low tuition costs and favorable employment opportunities after graduation, will determine, in part, future international student mobility patterns.

Look to Africa to Recruit Future International Students

May 30th, 2017 by

Look to Africa to recruit future international students

For ten years I managed the recruitment and admission functions of Suffolk University’s campus in Dakar. We recruited students from all over Africa, enrolled students from more than 40 countries, and all of the students, after two years, moved on to complete four-year undergraduate degrees. These were among the best students we enrolled. So I am very bullish on recruiting students from Africa.

Let’s examine some of the reasons why.

The African continent is the second and most populous continent on earth. More than one billion people live in Africa today. By some estimates the African middle class has tripled over the past 14 years from 4.6 million households in 2000 to 15 million by 2016. These figures represent a new cohort of students for many colleges and universities worldwide from which to recruit.

Over the past ten years enrollments from Africa have increased both within Africa and around the world. Students from Africa account for more than one in 10 international students. France continues to be the top destination for African students studying abroad, followed by South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany.

According to a recent UNESCO report, an increasing number of African students are choosing to remain in Africa for postsecondary education. South Africa is the preferred destination with nine of the top ten sending countries located in sub-Saharan Africa. Living conditions in South Africa, along with the cost of living and visa requirements are among the reasons for increased African enrollment in South African universities. South Africa is also a leader in mobile learning, particularly using cell phone to deliver courses.

The future of recruiting African students lies in providing online courses. eLearnAfrica is a MOOC provider offering more than 1,000 courses from EdX, FutureLearn and other online providers and institutions. In February, 2017, eLearnAfrica and the Association of African Universities announced a partnership that will expand online learning opportunities for students enrolled in 380 member schools.

The future of enrolling African students may not lie in the traditional bricks and mortar recruitment scheme but rather in remote, online educational delivery. Is your college or university poised to recruit African students through online options?

Recruiting in Africa is not easy. More about the best ways to do this in a future blog.b


Alternative International Higher Education Myths

May 16th, 2017 by

Alternative international higher education myths

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

May 2nd, 2017 by

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:

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!