International students contributed ~17.7 billion USD to the UK economy

Apr 6, 2014

In 2011–12, there were 435,235 international students contributing ~17.7 billion USD to the UK economy in tuition fee and related living expenses, according to a recent report by Universities UK entitled "the impact of the higher education sector on the UK economy." In specific, non-EU international students paid $5.4 billion in tuition fees to the universities. While, one out of six students enrolled in the UK higher education is from outside the UK, the number of international students in the UK have declined in last couple of years, indicating that the British universities will feel the impact on their budgets. This relates to the previous discussion on foreign students becoming integral to budgets of universities in the US. 

Contributions of foreign students

Dr. Rahul Choudaha

Latest statistics on international student enrollment in higher education in England

Apr 2, 2014

Higher education institutions in England experienced their first decline in enrollment of foreign students in nearly 30 years, according to the latest report by HEFCE--The Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The decline is primarily attributed to decline in two primary segments--
1) students from Indian and Pakistan enrolling in postgraduate taught masters courses in STEM related fields (halved since 2010)
2)  European Union (EU) undergraduate students (who now have to pay the same increased fees as UK students)

This again points out the shifts in mobility of international students based on factors like cost of education, employment potential and immigration prospects. It also supports that institutions need to be strategic and proactive in planning and diversifying their enrollment strategies.

Here are the key charts indicating the data on trends related to international student enrollment in the UK from HEFCE report entitled "Global demand for English higher education: An analysis of international student entry to English higher education courses."

Postgraduate (master's) Enrollment 
- For last couple of years postgraduate students have been declining
- In 2012-13, three out of four students in full-time taught masters entrants were from outside the UK (including other EU countries)




Undergraduate Enrollment
- Number of undergraduate students from EU countries dropped sharply
- In 2012-13, one out of six students in full-time taught masters entrants were from outside the UK (including other EU countries)


Dr. Rahul Choudaha

Diverse global engagement strategies: from branch campuses to online degrees

Mar 24, 2014

International branch campuses receive a lot of attention, however, they form a small proportion university internationalization strategies. More recently, online learning is showing promising potential for global engagement.

A recent report shows that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, is shaping its internationalisation future around its prior initiative like OpenCourseWare and now edX. It forecasts a future where education will be unbundled and degrees will be disaggregated "into smaller credential units such as course credentials, sequence credentials, and even badges" with the possibility that "the credentialing entity may be different from the institution that offers the course". The report adds that the "digital education revolution has the potential to alter the way MIT interacts not only with its on-campus students, but with an entire globe of learners".


I recently chaired a session entitled "Global engagement strategies: What works, what doesn't" at the annual conference of Asia Pacific Association of International Education (APAIE) in Seoul. The expert panel presented diverse institutional perspectives in achieving the goals of their internationalization strategies:
  • Doris Sohmen‐Pao, Executive Vice President, Yale‐NUS College, Singapore
  • Robert Coelen, Vice President, Stenden University, Netherlands
  • Downing A. Thomas, Associate Provost, The University of Iowa, US
  • Joe Chicharo, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Wollongong, Australia
Interestingly, three of the four panelists have some form of international branch campus engagement. Some of the key "lessons learned" shared by the panelists included:
- Long-term commitment that embodies internationalization as a core value is critical. Endeavors with myopic vision and intentions of quick bucks are doomed to fail.
- Attracting and retaining the "right" people that align with the value of internationalization. It takes entrepreneurial spirit and staying power to execute these complex strategies.
- Large scale projects require local academic partner that brings experience and mitigates risks of failure, however, finding the right fit partner is a challenge.
- Articulating institutional priority in terms of market and type of students is critical. Engagement strategies that try to be everything to everyone do not work.

In this context, institutions need to recognize the diversity of models and assess, prepare and adapt their global engagement strategies in line with the emerging opportunities and challenges.
 
Dr. Rahul Choudaha

Global reach of MOOCs: A comparison of HarvardX and MITx

Mar 1, 2014

MOOCs are a learning innovation with technology as it's backbone. Any technological innovation goes through a phase of irrational exuberance to mature reality (Remember, the dot-com bust and now dot-com revival). MOOCs are going through similar evolutionary pangs. Learning innovations face quite a complex set of barriers due to the sheer sociopolitical and traditional nature of the education ecosystem and hence the future of MOOCs even more uncertain. However, I am optimistic about the access, outreach and continuing education potential of MOOCs. Consider the recent data released by HarvardX and MITx which provides insights about its global reach:



- World map of certificate attainment: 17.5% certificate attainment rate of student from Spain for HarvardX
- World map of gender composition: 28% of registrants from Oman for MITx were female; higher than Germany (25%)
- World map of education composition: 85% of registrants of MITx from France held a Bachelor's degree or higher as compared to 56% for Poland
- World map of age composition: Median age of registrants for HarvardX from Egypt is 23 years as compared to 31 years for Italy
- World map of enrollment: 5,100+ students enrolled from Ghana for HarvardX
Above comparative chart shows "worldwide certificate attainment" of students registering for HarvardX and MITx. While there is critique of MOOCs as having low completion rate, the metric is "misleading" for MOOCs. They are open access models with no barriers to entry and hence cannot be measured by the same metric as a traditional university with admissions and upfront cost as the self selection mechanism. Despite the lack of irrelevancy of completion rate to MOOCs, the chart shows high interest for certificate completion coming from countries like Greece (1,500+ certificate earners) and Spain (1,600+ certificate earners). This indicates that there is interest from 'glocal' students and as the blend of technology and learning innovation matures, along with the acceptance in the marketplace by employers, there will be a higher traction for MOOCs in international markets.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha

The role of online learning and glocal students in shaping university internationalization strategies

Feb 23, 2014

International branch campuses receive lot of media attention. Some of the recent endeavors from big brands like NYU Shanghai and Yale-NUS College, gives a perception that many more are building international branch campuses, however, they form a very small proportion of various models of engagement for university internationalization.

Consider the case of the UK, which have been promoting transnational education as a part of the national strategy, has less than 3% of all its TNE activity in branch campuses. Only ~17,500 of  ~600,000 students enrolled in an "overseas campus of a UK HEI." In addition, one out of five overseas students is studying for a UK degree through distance learning programs (Open University is the largest). This is also the learning model which is gaining a lot of buzz with technological innovation, MOOCS and competency-based learning.

In a recent presentation at the AIEA conference, the panel shared the opportunities and challenges presented by the use of technology in shaping and scaling global engagement strategies. I highlighted the example of University of Pennsylvania, which has already built integrated technology-enabled "open learning" as its global engagement strategy.

In October 2012, I argued that MOOCs are beginning to offer a new choice to students, and are not only changing the financial equation of foreign branch campuses but also the way education is delivered as a result of technological advances. While branch campuses are infrastructure-intensive efforts with high financial and reputational risk, online learning offers a low-cost, flexible alternative for ‘glocal’ students to potentially earn a foreign credential (glocal students aspire to earn an international education/experience without having to leave their home/region). 

A recent article from the Economist supports the argument and states that "The rise of online instruction will upend the economics of higher education." It notes that the cost of university is driven by two big factors. First, the need for physical proximity (infrastructure) and so a university’s marginal cost of production is high and second, it is hard to raise productivity due to labor-intensity (teaching).

This is where online education changes the economic equation as the "most salient feature of the online course is its rock-bottom marginal cost: teaching additional students is virtually free." If you add to this low or no cost, a reputed a university brand and a star faculty, you have a strong value proposition for a segment of students, who will be willing to substitute a campus-based experience from a lesser known institution with online experience.

In sum, higher education institutions need to assess, prepare and adapt their global engagement strategies to the new opportunities presented by the two megatrends--rise of technology-based learning innovation and expanding segment of glocal students. 

What is your strategy of engaging technology and glocal students in internationalization--ignore, collaborate or compete?

Related posts:

Dr. Rahul Choudaha (copyright)

Data indicates potential decline in Chinese graduate student enrollment in Fall'2014

Feb 14, 2014

Number of Chinese students applying to graduate schools in the US are likely to decrease for the fall'2014 admissions cycle. In contrast, number of Indian students in graduate programs are expected to increase, as I mentioned in a recent story from the Chronicle of Higher Ed that the recent "increase in GRE-taking in India could be the result of 'pent-up demand'."

A press release by GRE indicates that the volume of GRE test-takers from India increased by more than 70 percent to cross 90,000 (please note, this is test-taker volume by location of test-taker. Previous analysis shows test-taker volume by country of citizenship). However, the press release is silent on China numbers, which had been the growth story for last few years, indicating a decline in GRE test-takers in China, as decline in numbers is not a "story".

In addition, the press release states that GRE volumes in Asia were up more than 35%. This means there were other markets that did not match up with the same growth as India and pulled down the overall growth for Asia and that declining market is very likely to be China.

GMAC data also indicates decline in Chinese test-takers from 58,196 in 2011-12 to 53,005 in 2012–13, a decline of 9%. This decline is even a stronger indicator of prospective decline of enrollment of Chinese students, as larger proportion of Chinese students enroll in business programs and hence taking GMAT. In contrast, majority of Indian students go for engineering/computer science related programs and hence having stronger predictive power with GRE trends.

Contrasting trend of decline in interest for graduate programs among Chinese students and increase in interest from Indian students is also corroborated by CGS data on applications to US graduate schools. In 2013, number of applications from China declined by 5% as compared to increase by 20% from India.

To sum up, all data points from GRE, CGS and GMAC, indicate a declining interest for the US graduate programs from Chinese students. In contrast, India is set to grow. These trends will become more apparent with the upcoming CGS report on applications to US graduate schools in April 2014.

Related reading:
GRE data on China and India: trends and implications for international graduate admissions pipeline
Dr. Rahul Choudaha

International education conference presentations: yes, it's busy and exciting!

Feb 8, 2014

2014 is off to a busy start, especially with the spring conference season. I begin with a presentation on Internationalization of Higher Education on February 14th at SOCHE ED (Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education) in Dayton, OH.

On February 16th, I participate in a panel discussion at Harvard University on the topic of The Indian Higher Education System and its Challenges: Role of Online Learning and other Solutions.

Then, I will be chairing two sessions at AIEA (Association of International Education Administrators) Conference in Washington, DC:
Wednesday, February 19, 11:00 am- 12:15 pm
Scaling and Shaping Global Engagement Strategies in an Era of Technology
Co-presenters:
-Tim Gore is Director, Global Networks and Communities for the University of London International Programmes
-Steve Ernst is Vice President for Innovation and Strategy at Excelsior College
Monday, February 17, 4:45 pm- 6:00 pm
Strategic Choices for Developing and Sustaining Institutional Partnerships   
Co-presenters:
-Simon Evans, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of Melbourne
-Stephen C. Dunnett, Vice Provost for International Education at the University at Buffalo

Finally, I will be presenting on the Landscape of Higher Education in Russia and Ukraine at the University Professional & Continuing Education Association International Briefing (UPCEA) in Washington, DC on February 20th.

In March, I will be in Seoul to chair the session on Global Engagement Strategies: What Works, What Doesn’t? at Asia-Pacific Association for International Education (APAIE) conference with following co-presenters:
-Doris Sohmen-Pao, Executive Vice-President (Administration), Yale Singapore College
-Robert Coelen, Vice-President International at Stenden University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands
-Stephen C. Dunnett, Vice Provost for International Education at the University at Buffalo

Dr. Rahul Choudaha

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