Trends, insights and research to inform growth and innovation strategies in international higher education.

September 19, 2016

Book: Six Steps to Success for International Students: Starting with Strengths and Opportunities

Here is the summary of the recent book "From Departing to Achieving: Keys to Success for International Students in U.S. Colleges and Universities" by Ye He, Bryant L. Hutson, Michael J. Elliott and Jennifer L. Bloom. The book provides a strengths-based approach for international students to achieve their goals. 

Inevitably, international students experience a lot of differences as they embark on their academic journey in the United States. These differences may range from cultural norms, languages and dialects, to food, transportation, and daily routines. Many perceive these differences as gaps in knowledge or skills that need to be filled. International students often try to learn as quickly as possible from readings, peers, mentors, and advisors, but they may still feel like they are constantly playing the catch up game and can never be just like their American peers.

In the recent book titled “From Departing to Achieving: Keys to Success for International Students in U.S. Colleges and Universities”, we challenge this deficit-based perspective and encourage international students to see differences as strengths and opportunities. We propose 6 steps international students may want to consider as they take this perceptive in their transition process.

First, examine your assumptions and expectations based on reflections about your personal
educational experiences (Disarm). Making these assumptions and expectations clear would help debunk myths about learning in the U.S. and allow you to better articulate to your mentors, advisors, and instructors what your learning needs are.

Second, surface and articulate your assets and strengths as a learner (Discover). You don’t have to start over! Since you already have many years of learning experiences, you bring a lot of great internal and external assets with you to your learning in the U.S.! Through the use of self-assessment instruments, you can discover your personal assets and be more aware of how to leverage them in the new learning environment.

Third, verbalize and visualize your personal and professional goals (Dream). In addition to your immediate goal to successfully complete your coursework and graduate from the institution, what are your long-term goals and dreams? What would your personal and professional life be like 10 years and 20 years from now? These futuristic images are powerful as you align your present studies to purposefully prepare yourself for your own future.

Fourth, strategically connect your assets and goals to plan for your actions (Design). Selecting majors, courses, co-curricular and extracurricular activities should not be random or just based on others’ recommendations. You are in charge of your own learning for your future! Building on the assets you discovered and the dreams you identified, you will be able to design a unique plan for yourself!

Fifth, be reflective of your own cultural and academic transition process and embrace the differences (Deliver). Regardless of where you want to settle down after graduation, you are who you are because of your background and experiences. Your knowledge, skills, and experiences navigating both your home culture and the U.S. culture becomes a huge asset that distinguishes you from others. Embrace the differences and make that part of who you are!

Finally, become a long-term learner and lead changes in your established networks and communities (Don’t Settle). The differences you note and the process you engage in to negotiate the differences will position you well to become a future leader in your community. Make time now to form networks and connect with different communities you are introduced to. The more you share with others, the more you can learn from interacting with other and what they have to share. This engagement will challenge you to reach your potential!

Differences are not gaps to be filled. You do not have to overcome these differences before you launch your trajectory to success. Everyone has their own pathway toward the success they define. Start with viewing differences as strengths and opportunities and engage in these 6 steps toward your own pathway to success!
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September 13, 2016

Enrollment of international students in US universities and colleges up by 67 percent since 2001/02

The data shows that between 2001/02 and 2014/15, the number of international students in the U.S. universities and colleges increased by 67% to reach nearly 975,000 students. This shows the post-9/11 resilience of the U.S. higher education institutions among international students.

Here are some of the highlights of the growth:

  • Five places of origin–China, India, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Vietnam–experienced a growth of over 100 percent. 
  • Only two places of origin–Taiwan and Japan–experienced a decline in enrollment. 
  • Top 10 places of origin for 2014/15 added 376,382 more international students as compared to 2001/02. 

how foreign student number in universities have changed since 9/11


The growth in international student enrollment was led by highly-ranked institutions which were already attracting a large number of international students. Here are the highlights:

  • Three universities–Arizona State University, Northeastern University and the University of California, Los Angeles–expanded international enrollment by over 200 percent.
  • The University of Southern California was the leading institution in 2001/02 and second in 2014/15, but it grew the slowest among the top-10 institutions (107%).
  • Arizona State University added the highest number of international students in terms of absolute growth (7,982). 
data on leading institutions in the US and how number of international students have increased

This blog is based on the article "International Student Enrollment Shows Resilience Of U.S. Universities And Colleges" published in Forbes with Di Hu.
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September 06, 2016

Online Live Webinar on Leveraging Technology for Internationalization Strategies

DrEducation is pleased to partner with University World News to host a free webinar on “Embracing Technology for Global Engagement: A Leadership Challenge and Opportunity.” The live online webinar will take place on October 4, 2016 from 11am-12noon EDT or 4pm-5pm BST.

University World News is a leading online publication of news and analysis on global higher education. This webinar follows the success of the first online event on “Transnational Education: Growth at the Expense of Quality?” which received nearly 1,000 registrations.

DrEducation-University World News Webinar with thought leader series moderated by Rahul Choudaha


Online education and internationalization have been rising as strategic priorities for many university leaders around the world. While online experiments like MOOCs, badging, blended learning are still early in their evolution, few institutions have taken an innovative approach to finding a synergy between technological innovations and their application in global engagement strategies. And, of those who attempted to engage globally through technology have experienced several barriers related to cost, quality, recognition, and outcomes. This online discussion will examine how university leaders are leveraging technology for advancing internationalization? How does technology fit in the overall global engagement strategy? What are the challenges and opportunities?


• (Moderator) Dr. Rahul Choudaha is the principal researcher and CEO of DrEducation, a global higher education research and consulting firm. He co-founded interEDGE.org, a training solutions and resource provider supporting the inclusion and success of international students. Choudaha is known for his expertise in connecting research, data and trends with institutional strategies that advance campus internationalization. He has presented over 100 sessions at professional conferences and has been frequently quoted in global media.

• Professor GianMario Besana is Associate Provost for Global Engagement and Online Learning at DePaul University in Chicago. His portfolio comprises the internationalization process of the institution and the online learning operations. Under his guidance, DePaul’s faculty training program for online teaching was recognized with the Sloan-C award for best faculty development program for online teaching. At DePaul, he led an initiative aimed at collaborating with international partners to offer technology facilitated learning experiences.

• Professor Helen O’Sullivan is Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Online Learning at University of Liverpool. She is responsible for Liverpool Online; a partnership between University of Liverpool and Laureate Online Education to deliver wholly online post-graduate programmes to working professionals across the globe. She acts as a champion for technology-enhanced learning within the University and leads on a range of projects that support the use of technology to enhance the student experience.

• Professor Mark Brown is Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University. Before taking up Ireland’s first Chair in Digital Learning at the start of 2014, Mark was previously Director of both the National Centre for Teaching and Learning and Distance Education and Learning Futures Alliance at Massey University, New Zealand. Over the last decade, Mark has played key leadership roles in the implementation of several major university-wide digital learning and teaching initiatives.

• Professor Kevin Kinser is Department Head of Education Policy Studies at Pennsylvania State University. As a researcher, Kinser studies non-traditional and alternative higher education, particularly the organization and administration of for-profit institutions and international cross-border higher education. His most recent books are The Global Growth of Private Higher Education (Wiley, 2010) and Multinational Colleges and Universities: Leading, Governing, and Managing International Branch Campuses (Jossey-Bass, 2011).


Related articles:

Tomorrow’s Globally Engaged University, NAFSA Trends and Insights
Global Engagement—New Modalities, American Council on Education
The SUNY Center for Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)
Could MOOCs Lead to the Decline of Branch Campuses?
Making Sense of MOOCs: A Guide for Policy-Makers in Developing Countries
Top Universities Could Give Students Credit for Completing Cheap Online Courses
E-learning is Missing Link in Internationalisation


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August 23, 2016

Forbes: Data on Enrollment and Revenue Growth Trends at Public Research Universities (Big Ten)

How has enrollment, tuition, and revenue at Big Ten Public universities changed between 2007/08 and 2014/15? Data on international student enrollment shows that these leading universities have experienced a much faster rate of growth as compared to the national average. Given the high rankings and extensive history, these universities have a strong brand recognition among international students. Post-recession, while Big Ten universities have increased non-resident tuition they have managed to continue to attract international students. Is this growth sustainable?

How is tuition and revenue from international students at Big Ten public higher education institutions have changed?



Here is an interactive chart showing actual undergraduate tuition and international student enrollment for 2007/08 and 2014/15. (Tip: click drop-down under "size" to see the bubble sizes proportionate to revenue). This analysis is based on our recent "Big Ten Universities Become Bigger with International Students" article published in Forbes.





The number of international students in the U.S. universities and colleges has increased by 56% to reach nearly 975,000 students. However, the international student enrollment at ten leading public research universities has grown much faster rate of 74% to reach nearly 90,000 international students in the same period.

Between 2007/08 and 2014/15, average non-resident tuition at Big Ten public universities increased by 29% and total revenue jumped by 127% to reach US$ 2.3 billion. Clearly, a large segment of international students are willing to pay a premium for American educational experience at the leading public universities despite increasing tuition cost.

However, much of the growth in the previous seven years was led by Chinese students. As the Chinese economy decelerates and the initial wave of Chinese graduates try to start building their career, institutions, Big Ten and beyond face some tough questions.

Is this growth in tuition and enrollment sustainable? How to provide support to international students in line with diverse needs and increasing revenue contributions? How can institutions strategically reinvest some of the additional income generated by international student tuition towards campus integration and engagement? How to enhance the experiences of international students and develop successful brand ambassadors for future recruitment?

- Dr. Rahul Choudaha & Di Hu
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August 19, 2016

Interview with British Council's Education Intelligence


British Council's Education Intelligence publishes Macro Trends Analysis like "Postgraduate student mobility trends to 2024" and a range of Research Reports which provide deeper insights on trends with countries, insights, and students. 

- Rahul


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July 01, 2016

Plenary on Global Citizenship and Student Success at BUILA, UK Conference

I will be presenting a plenary with Erich Dietrich, Assistant Vice President of Global Programs & Associate Dean of Global Affairs, New York University at The British Universities' International Liaison Association (BUILA), a membership organisation of 139 the UK higher education institutions and over 2,000 international recruitment and promotion professionals.
The overall theme of the conference is ‘A brave new world?’ will look at the competitiveness of strategies of British higher education institutions on a range of dimensions including rankings, recruitment, marking, study abroad and international partnerships. It is especially an interesting timing with Brexit which has a strong anti-immigration and anti-globalization rationales.

Larry Elliott, Guardian's economics editor noted that "Brexit is a rejection of globalisation...The EU has failed to protect its population from a global economic model that many believe is not working for them." Alan Ruby in his opinion piece in University World News wrote "...the signalling effect of a 'leave' vote is just another way of saying 'they are not the same as us', not equal, not to be trusted. It is a restatement of difference between self and other, them and us. And it will be perceived as insular and unwelcoming."

In this context talking about virtues of global citizenship and translating them into institutional strategies in the UK will not be easy, but it will be very important. Here is the brief description of our plenary on Global Citizenship and Student Success.

Global citizenship is a broad goal used to justify much educational activity in higher education, from curriculum design to student support. But what is global citizenship in the age of high rates of student mobility and shifting institutional demands? We argue that true global citizenship confers a sense of agency within the context of the larger macro forces of globalization. We then discuss ways in which institutions have harnessed this ideal for student success, defined according to a variety of metrics, drawing on examples from the United States. Finally, we consider the implications for universities of achieving--or not--global citizenship at both the mission level and the strategy level.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha

Related media mentions on Brexit
Data on Mobility and International Students in the UK
Article with Erich Dietrich on Rankings in India


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June 26, 2016

What will be the impact of Brexit on international student mobility?

The impact of Brexit on the global student mobility is going to be far reaching. With nearly 10% market share of globally mobile students, the United Kingdom is the second largest destination for international students. British higher education institutions enrolled 436,585 students in 2014. These international students formed nearly one out of every six student enrolled in the UK.

One of the prime reason for the growth in international student enrollment had been the mobility within Europe. In addition to quality, proximity, lower of cost education for EU students and common European Higher Education Area supported the growth of EU students which formed 29% of all international students in the UK. EU students were more likely to enroll in undergraduate degree programs.

Non-EU countries form 71% of international students. In last few years, the numbers of international students from non-EU countries have been stagnating on declining. For example, the number of Indian students coming to the UK declined by 18% from 2012-13 to 2014-15. China, the largest source country forming 29% of all non-EU students grew at a much slower pace of 7% in the same period. Non-EU students are more likely to enroll in postgraduate programs at master's level as compared to EU students.

Post-recession, UK policies have been making it consistently more difficult for international students to study and stay in the UK. For example, Post Study Work visa which allowed non-EU students to work for two years in the UK was abolished in 2012. With the strong anti-immigration stance of Brexit and an uncertain economic impact, many international students would start considering alternative destinations including some of the EU countries which have launched English-taught master's programs.

Despite the quality and value offered by many British universities, the negative perceptions and uncertainties triggered by Brexit will hurt international enrollment at these institutions.

In July, I will be in Liverpool to deliver a plenary with Erich Dietrich of NYU on Global Citizenship and Student Success at The British Universities' International Liaison Association (BUILA), a membership organisation of 139 the UK higher education institutions and over 2,000 international recruitment and promotion professionals at UK higher educational institutions. I will be reporting more from the conference.

- Dr. Rahul Choudaha

Data on Mobility and International Students in the UK
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June 14, 2016

NAFSA Webinar: Co-presenting on Key Considerations and Strategies for Pathway Programs

research, strategies and best practices on pathway partnerships for recruiting and growing international student enrollment NAFSA DrEducationNAFSA: Association of International Educators will be hosting live e-Learning Seminar "Pathway Programs: Key Considerations and Strategies" on Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (EST).

It will discuss different models of pathway partnerships and identify key considerations when making assessments and decisions on partnering with program providers. The event will offer a variety of ideas, examples, and resources that can be used to engage campus stakeholders in determining the appropriate strategy suited for the campus context.

I will be co-presenting with Mihaela N. Metianu, Director of international student and scholar services, Florida Atlantic University and Shannon Paul, Adelphi University, Director of international admissions.

As the principal researcher of the NAFSA Commissioned Research - "Landscape of Pathway Partnerships in the United States", I will present the preliminary findings of the Phase-1 focused on definition, typology and institutional characteristics of existing partnerships. Mihaela and Shannon will focus on bringing relevant perspectives related to their experiences in working with pathway providers.

The content will be relevant to those working in international student services; recruitment and admissions; intensive English programs; campus internationalization; and international education leadership.

- Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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June 12, 2016

Presenting at AIEC Melbourne on Three Megatrends Shaping the Future of International Student Mobility

I have been invited by The Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) to speak on the theme of "connectivity at the heart of international education" with a broad focus on technology, people and partnerships. The conference will take place from October 18-21, 2016 in Melbourne.

I will be speaking on "Three Megatrends Shaping the Future of International Student Mobility" and illustrate the evolution, importance and implications of these megatrends for institutional strategies by addressing following questions:
- What is the impact of demographic and economic shifts regarding diverse needs and expectations of students?
- How is technology impacting the decision-making process and the mobility of international students?
- How are innovative models of institutional partnerships expanding choices for international students?


On average, 1150 attendees from over 400 organisations attend the conference each year with approximately 16 per cent of attendees coming from overseas. The conference will cover following broad tracks:
  • Admissions
  • Business development and strategy
  • Graduates, skills and employment
  • Learning and teaching
  • Marketing and communication
  • Mobility
  • Pathways
  • Policy and regulatory environment
  • Students
  • Transnational education
International Research Roundtable will also take place on Tuesday, 18, 2016. The Roundtable is  facilitated by IEAA’s Research Committee and the International Education Research Network (IERN).

I will be tweeting about the conference highlights with #AIEC2016 from @DrEducationBlog.

Look forward to attending AIEC.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha

Plenary speaker on global higher education trends and student mobility Dr Rahul Choudaha DrEducation at AIEC

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June 05, 2016

Presenting on International Student Success at NASPA Region II Conference

NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, with its 15,000 members is the leading professional association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession.

On June 5-7, NASPA Region II Conference will be held in New York City, at Jone Jay College of Criminal Justice. Over 600 higher education professionals will connect and share with each other new information, innovative ideas, and collaborative projects in advancing support and services to students at diverse colleges and universities.

I’m sure many are looking forward to meeting Dr. Kevin Kruger, NASPA President, and Dr. Shaun R. Harper, Executive Director, Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education, The University of Pennsylvania at the conference.

I will be chairing a session on "Supporting International Student Success" on Monday, June 6.

Di Hu chairing session at NASPA on Supporting International Student Success interEDGE DrEducationHere is the abstract: As the number of international students grow on many campuses, student affairs professionals are facing increasing demand for support services and strategies that are cost-efficient, scalable and sustainable to serve this diverse group of students. Collaboration across campus for shared resources and programming becomes critical in achieving these goals. This interactive session will discuss strategies and experiences from three different perspectives--Office of International Student and Scholars Services, Academic Advising and Career Services.
The co-presenters are:

  • Erika Rohrbach, Director of International Student Services, Fashion Institute of Technology 
  • Leah McNally, Academic Advisor-International, Pace University 
  • Vyju Manian, Senior Associate Director, Center for Career Education, Columbia University 

I look forward to participating at the conference and will be tweeting @iStudentCoach. Here is the twitter handle for NASPA Region II.

- Di Hu
Co-founder, DrEducation and interEDGE.org
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