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Showing posts from 2013

Looking back at international higher eduction in 2013: The year of funding constraints, regulatory pressures and learning innovations

At the beginning of 2013, I projected that the three mega-trends influencing global higher education will be related to university budgets/funding, regulatory environment and technological innovations. I concluded that 2013 will be a year in which the higher education sector, will be under increasing pressure to justify its value, not only from financial and regulatory side pressures but due to emergence of competing technology-enabled learning models like MOOCs.

By the end of 2013, there have been several developments aligning with the  mega-trends forecast. Here are some of the key stories from 2013.

- Funding and university budgets: Given that higher education is tightly coupled with the economy, a sense of recovery is also reflecting a slight turnaround in university budgets in the US. However, optimism is not reflected in self-sufficiency through tuition revenue as the college enrollment in the US declines. In a recent survey,  about four in 10 public universities report that tui…

Adaptive, flexible and competency-based learning offers potential for international students, says Excelsior's Vice President

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The confluence of  two megatrends--cost pressures on institutions (and students) as a result of global financial recession and  increasing sophistication of technology-enabled learning models--is fostering innovation in long existing models of learning including distance education and competency-based learning.  Competency-based education is defined "as one that focuses on what students know and can do rather than how they learned it or how long it took to learn it." A recent article from Inside Higher Ed notes that "Competency-based education appears to be higher education’s 'next big thing'." In this context, long standing institutions including those offering open and distance education have to respond to a changing environment. For example, The Open University, UK responded to competition from MOOCs by offering its own version--FutureLearn. Likewise, one of the pioneers of open education and competency-based learning in the US, Excelsior College has to…

Future of MOOCs is about proving sustainable and scalable business models, says Udemy President

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In November 2012, The New York Times, ran a story "The Year of the MOOC" and asked what does a student want to get from MOOCs experience--"Most important, what do you get for your effort? Do you earn a certificate? A job interview? Or just the happy feeling of learning something?" A year later, the landscape of MOOCs is still dynamic and optimistic as the "marketplace takes-off". However, future also looks challenging and uncertain as there is increasing competition and higher expectations for finding sustainable models. And of course, there are academic naysayers who believe "MOOCs are just the latest incarnation of bringing watered-down versions of culture, knowledge, and learning to a mass audience." In the context of the barriers of recognition of MOOCs learning as transferable academic credits, non-academic professional development/corporate training based model is gaining traction. Here is interview with Dennis Yang, President and Chief O…

International student mobility is driven by destination country income, not university rankings

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Increasing mobility of international students is a known trend. However, determinants of mobility differ by source and destination countries resulting in different patterns of enrollment. Income of destination countries has a much bigger influence than the quality of its institutions in determining where students want to study, according to a recent research. It highlights steep increase in the absolute number of international students originating in developing countries. Between 1999 and 2009, share of developing countries in globally mobile students increased from 54.8% to 69%.



Campus President of Monash South Africa shares his views on transnational education in Africa

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In last couple of years, Africa has been gaining traction in terms of transnational education. It includes a diverse range of models from traditional branch campuses to emerging blended-learning models. Monash University South Africa had been one of the early movers in Africa and established the branch campus in 2001. More recently, Laureate International Universities partnered with Monash South Africa as a part of its strategy to invest in emerging markets. Here is a brief interview with Ron Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus President of Monash South Africa who shares his experiences in institution building and offers recommendations to universities interested in engaging with Africa.-Rahul


Financial contributions of international students: Contrasting approach of Louisiana & Ohio

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International students contributed $17.7 billion in tuition and fee to the U.S. universities and colleges in fall 2012, resulting in an increase of $5.4 billion in tuition contribution between fall 2008 to fall 2012. Post-recession public higher education systems went through sharp budget cuts. For example, educational appropriations per FTE (full time enrollment) decreased by 23% in five years between 2007-2012. In this scenario, international students have been becoming integral to financial well-being of many institutions, as they can charge high out-of state tuition fee. This out-of-state tuition fee had been increasing at a faster pace than average growth in international student enrollment (blue line), as shown by the steeper slope of increase in Economic Benefit (green shaded area), which includes contributions in the form of tuition and fee.

Three international student enrollment growth trends in the US higher education institutions

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The enrollment of international student at the US universities and colleges has reached a record high of nearly 820,000 in the 2012-13 academic year, according to the latest IIE Open Doors report (Open Door 2013 reports fall 2012 enrollment by all levels, as compared to CGS which reports fall 2013 graduate enrollment). However, which type of students are driving the growth? Which type of institutions attracting most international students? Are all higher education institutions witnessing similar growth?

What institutional drivers explain different enrollment trend of Indian and Chinese graduate students in the US?

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Indian and Chinese graduate students are showing contrasting enrollment patterns at US universities, according to a recent report released by the Council of Graduate Schools. For India, first-time enrollment increased by 40% after two years of flat growth. In contrast, first-time enrollment of Chinese grew by measly 5% as compared to over 20% growth in previous two years. What explains this different trends?

Branch Campuses in Africa: New Transnational Education Market to Serve Demand from Glocals?

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In last couple of years, Africa has been gaining traction in terms of transnational education. It includes a diverse range of models from traditional branch campuses with Webster to blended-learning models with Kepler. Likewise, in terms of home countries, universities from Australia, the UK and the US are engaging with Africa. Here are some of the recent developments with transnational education in Africa:

Webster University in GhanaLancaster University in GhanaCarnegie Mellon University in RwandaKepler in Rwanda (with Southern New Hampshire University)Laureate University in South Africa (through Monash University)

EAIE recognition for advancing research on international student segments and recruitment strategies

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Higher education institutions are increasingly interested in not only expanding the number of international students on their campuses, but also diversifying the countries they come from. However, international student recruitment strategies have a major limitation: over-reliance on anecdotal evidences and hunches to formulate strategies.

Many institutions are missing the cornerstone of successful strategies--international students differ in their needs and preferences and treating all international students as same in terms recruitment strategies is inefficient and ineffective. These strategies are often grounded in a pre-social media era, which continues to transform student decision-making processes.

Can Laureate Change the Landscape of Global Higher Education?

Earlier this year, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced an investment of $150 million in common stock of Laureate Education, Inc., representing IFC’s largest education investment. This was a landmark development in the world of international higher education, as it validated the model of Laureate with a significant investment. What made Laureate so successful?


How to engage foreign universities in India?

The Foreign universities bill 2010 has attracted lot of curiosity and interest from media and universities to assess its potency and implications.  The bill is still pending after three years and it is pretty much written off. However, the recent executive order by the University Grants Commission allowing foreign universities to enter India has reignited the curiosity. In my commentary article "How to Engage Foreign Universities in India" published in Business Standard, I argue that the optimism is unfounded and it will again be a non-starter. The proposed order is not aligned with the reality of global higher education and the needs of Indian higher education. Here is the excerpt.

Edwin van Rest of StudyPortals shares his entrepreneurial journey

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Edwin van Rest, founder, StudyPortals

Edwin van Rest is the founder of StudyPortals – the international Study Choice Platform – helping students worldwide to find and compare the fast-growing international education opportunities. Edwin has always been a true believer in the value of international experience: while studying a Master’s in Industrial Engineering and Management Science at the Eindhoven University of Technology he spent a year at Osaka University. He did internships at the Olympic Games: both in Athens and in Turin. Furthermore he was very active in the world of international study associations – where StudyPortals’ foundations lie. Edwin’s expertise mainly lies in understanding student orientation needs, online technology and result-based recruitment for HEIs. StudyPortals has brought innovation to university promotion by offering an online, result based and cost-effective solution for universities to present themselves worldwide. Over 1,300 universities from 43 countri…

Emerging Markets for International Graduate Admissions: Insights from GRE Data

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In the previous post, I mentioned that India and China are large markets with different growth patterns. India is a price-sensitive market which is showing signs of stronger growth for last couple of years, while China had been a consistent growth market which is witnessing slower pace of growth. Given the over-reliance on these two markets, it is important to cultivate next set of emerging markets. Based on GRE test-takers data, here are the emerging markets watch, sorted by % change between 2008-2011:


Strategic Choices for B-Schools: GMAC Book on Change in Management Education

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Disrupt or Be Disrupted: A Blueprint for Change in Management Education is a recent publication from GMAC which takes "an evidence-based approach to improving the practice of graduate management education." The book is very timely, given the increasing challenges of optimizing cost and quality for many business-schools. For example, the strategic choice of Thunderbird, a reputed B-school, partnering with Laureate, an aggressive for-profit network, to give a boost to its financials and reach. Or UCLA to go independent from public funding to have more autonomy and pricing power. These strategic choices are becoming integral to the success of business schools. The book had two very interesting and insightful chapters on this topic. First, is Framing and Making Strategic Choices by Michael Hay and other is Managing Aspirations, Resources, and Cost Structures in Differentiating Constraints by Authors: Jikyeong Kang, Andrew Stark. I asked these authors about their chapters and wha…

GRE data on China and India: trends and implications for international graduate admissions pipeline

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Ten-year data of GRE examinees for international markets is an excellent source of insights to understand changing trends in demand and how sensitive are different markets to external environment. Consider the case of top-two sources of international graduate students in the world, China and India. A sharp change in numbers from either of these markets can significantly influence the enrollment statistics at several institutions. (Here is a related blog post comparing GRE and GMAT test-takers) Above chart suggests: 1. Growth: Number of GRE test takers from India have increased by 38% in 2011 as compared to 24% for China. Even with this growth, India is still lower than its peak volume of 70,000 pre-recession and almost same as its volume in 2002. In contrast, China touched its all time high of nearly 61,000 test-takers in 2011, which is almost 45% higher than 2002 volume. India still has higher growth potential as compared to China. 2. Sensitivity: India is a price-sensitive market w…

Statistics on Indian Higher Education 2012-2013

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What are the different types of degree-granting institutions (universities/colleges) in India? What is the enrollment of Indian students by level of education? What are the top fields of study for Indian Students? These are some of the frequently asked questions about data and statistics related to the size and scale of Indian higher education system. Given below is the latest information available from University Grants Commission of India.

Please click here to see latest data for 2016 and growth from 2008.



EAIE Marketing & Recruitment Plenary on "International Recruitment Strategy: What Works, What Doesn’t?"

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I will be chairing the Marketing & Recruitment Opening Event (plenary) at European Association for International Education (EAIE) Annual Conference in Istanbul on Wednesday, September 11. The session entitled "International recruitment strategy: what works, what doesn’t?" focuses on the importance of informed strategic choices in achieving goals of international student recruitment.

Some of the tough strategic choices in international student recruitment are--which markets to prioritize (traditional large volume or smaller but growing markets)? Which segment of students to recruit (balancing academic preparedness and financial resources)? Which recruitment channels (social media, agents or fairs) to invest in?

The presenters are experienced professionals with deep expertise in the field of international student recruitment. They will present a comparative persepctive on some of the tough choices they made and what were the results:
Carmel Murphy, Executive Director, Off…

Why US and Australia should pay attention to UK strategy on transnational education?

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UK released its International education strategy that articulates a strategic intent towards the expansion of offshore activities of British Universities through a range of initiatives including transnational education and MOOCs. [I will be delivering a keynote at a conference discussing trends, practices and developments related to Transnational education in the context of this strategy. The conference to be held on October 22d in London is jointly organized by UCAS, Universities UK and the UK HE International Unit.]



Mitch Gordon of Go Overseas shares his entrepreneurial journey

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Mitch Gordon, Co-founder & CEO, Go Overseas
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Mitch Gordon is from upstate NY and lived in Taipei, Taiwan for four years before moving to San Francisco, where he currently resides. Mitch is an entrepreneur, starting a number of companies in the field of travel & education. His most recent company, Go Overseas, has quickly become the most trusted resource on the internet for researching study, teach and volunteer abroad programs around the world. Mitch is also currently the Entrepreneur in Residence at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business/ SkyDeck Incubator. When he’s not working you can find him playing sports, hiking, traveling or reading.

Rahul- What are the key services your organization provides? How would you describe your target customer and the unmet needs you are serving?
Mitch- Go Overseas is a review and community site for programs abroad. We’re the Yelp/ Airbnb for programs abroad. We list every study, volunteer, teach, internship & Gap Year progra…

Does Thunderbird-Laureate partnership indicate the future of higher education?

In March 2013, Thunderbird School of Global Management announced "strategic alliance" with Laureate Education Inc. The school had been under fiscal strains, as the number of applications to Thunderbird's two-year, full-time M.B.A. have declined by nearly 75% in the past 15 years and the school ended 2012 with $4 million loss, according to the Wall Street Journal. It adds "Thunderbird's woes reflect the existential crises that many business schools now face as demand softens for full-time, two-year M.B.A.s."

Despite the "existential crisis", the announcement of strategic alliance did not go well with the school's alumni. They interpreted it to be a sellout of the brand to the for-profit world with concerns of potential brand dilution. However, the perspectives seemed to be more emotional than rational.

Compelled by the barrage of questions from media and alumni, the Thunderbird leadership came forward to explain the nature of the partnership …

Chris Boehner of Vericant shares his entrepreneurial journey

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Chris Boehner, Executive Director, Vericant
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After graduating from the College of Charleston with a degree in Corporate and Organizational Communications, Chris decided to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and move to China. During his seven years in China, Chris’s background can best be described as eclectic.  He was a corporate trainer for Microsoft, then decided to cycle across Asia and Africa working as a translator (you wouldn’t believe how useful Mandarin is in Sudan). Afterward, he managed Omega’s transportation logistics during the Beijing Olympics then spent two years intensively studying Mandarin. His proudest achievement is being a founding member of Beijing’s first bluegrass band–The Redbucks. During Chris’s ever-dwindling free time, you can find him in Beijing’s historic hutongs, playing mandolin or practicing Mandarin.

Rahul- What are the key services your organization provides? How would you describe your target customer and the unmet needs you are ser…

international education as a pathway for immigrant entrepreneurs

While the immigration reform in the US is overcast with uncertainty, I came across a very interesting blog in the New York Times by Catherine Rampell asking "is it true that immigrants are unusually entrepreneurial?" And the data suggests, yes. The highlights are:
Business ownership rate is higher for immigrants than the native-born. In 2010, 10.5 percent of the immigrant work force owned a business compared with 9.3 percent of the native-born work force.Immigrants are also more likely to start a business in any given month. In 2010, 620 out of every 100,000 non-business-owning immigrants started a business each month as compared to 280 for nonimmigrants. "Immigrants’ entrepreneurship rates are especially high in the engineering and technology sector. About a quarter of engineering and technology companies founded between 2006 and 2012 had at least one founder who was born abroad, according to a 2012 Kauffman Foundation study. In Silicon Valley, the share was 43.9 perce…

Making community colleges work in India: Building a community of change to fuel aspirations

What would it take for workforce development programs and vocational education to grow in India? A recent white paper released by Institute of International Education (IIE) and sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in India highlights the potential of learning from and applying the U.S. community college model in India.

The paper includes pieces from several experts. Mary Beth Hartenstine of Community Colleges for International Development in her chapter suggests that "When looking at larger scale, transformative projects, such as those expected to take place in India, U.S. colleges should look to partner through a consortium to alleviate some of the possible burdens of these global development projects." B. S. Panwar of M.S. Panwar Community College asserts that "While the government has taken note of the need for a community college system in India, there is no clear implementation plan. An autonomous agency is needed to act as a link between the government and the communit…

Using recruitment agents: Transparency to move from a dirty little secret to an open-book?

NACAC report on the use of agents for international student recruitment left most of us wanting more. At the same time, it has something for everyone to cite and justify their arguments. Overall, I am pleased with the outcomes of the report and here are my top two reasons:

1. Recognizes diversity: The report rightly recognizes that just because agents are used in other countries does not justifies its use in the US context. There are a diverse set of institutional and student needs. Any kind of ban or no ban situation would have been impractical and unhealthy. There is a wide spectrum of quality of agents which serve needs of a specific segment of students and institutions (see more on segments of international students).

Arguing that agent model works for all institutions and students is an hyperbole. Dan Zaretsky and I have a strikingly similar point of view mentioned in the Chronicle and the PIE News that some will never use agents, some will definitely use agents and perhaps the fe…

How MOOCs and competency-based learning shaping the future of online higher education?

Two models of higher education--competency-based learning and MOOCs--are offering alternatives to conventional higher education and shaping the future of online higher education. Given below are recent developments which highlight this trend:
Southern New Hampshire University, a private university in New Hampshire, "is poised to launch a $5,000 online, competency-based associate degree that would be the first to blow up the credit hour--the connection between college credit and the time students spend learning." In addition, it had been in gaining attention for its aggressive growth in online programs as a non-profit. It enrolled 2,750 undergraduates in its campus and another 25,000 in its online programs. The revenue for this "Little College That's a Giant Online" is forecasted to reach $200 million in the next academic year—four times what it took in for 2010-11.
Western Governors University founded by the governors of 19 U.S. states in 1995, is an online univ…

What are the future mobility trends and recruitment prospects for Indian students?

Some experts have predicted that expanded capacity of higher education institutions in India will slow the mobility students going abroad. However, I have taken a contrarian view that in the medium to long term mobility of Indian students will increase.

This is primarily because capacity has not kept up pace with quality of institutions and aspirations of individuals. Increasing affordability for foreign education among upper-middle class coupled with attractiveness for the US for STEM OPT and now green card prospects will continue to fuel demand for graduate education.

In the immediate term, data for graduate applications and visa applications are already reflecting growth in number of students from India for fall 2013.

According to the Council of Graduate Studies, number of application from India increased by 20% as comapared to decline of 5% for China, based on a survey of over 275 institutions which conferred about 2/3rd of the graduate degrees in the US.

Likewise, according to…

Chris Rudd, Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Nottingham on Transnational Education

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Professor Chris D Rudd, BSc PhD DSc CEng FIMechE FIM Pro Vice Chancellor and Professor of Mechanical Engineering University of Nottingham
Chris Rudd began his career as a sea-going engineer with the P&O Steam Navigation Company. He has been a faculty member at Nottingham since 1989 and is well known for his work on lightweight structures and fibre technology. He is a former Dean of Engineering and has held the role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Vice President) since 2008. His responsibilities include External Engagement – business partnerships, commercialisation and philanthropic fundraising. Much of his recent work has focused on Asia where he has led many trade visits and developed a string of R&D partnerships with the corporate sector. He is a director of the China-Britain Business Council and a regular commentator on University-led innovation and east-west technology exchange.

Rahul - University of Nottingham has been an exemplar for many institutions seeking to internationalize.…

St. Louis: Hosting NAFSA Annual Conference and Attracting Immigrant Talent

St. Louis, Missouri, a city with a population of nearly 315,000 will see an influx of 10,000 international education professionals from across the world in the last week of May. The event is annual conference of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. It brings together professionals working with universities and related organizations and offers them networking and educational opportunities under several tracks including International Education Leadership, International Enrollment Management, International Student & Scholar Services, Teaching Learning and Scholarship and Education Abroad.

I will be attending the conference and chairing two sessions on Wednesday the 29th. Here are the details:

1. Transnational Education: Models and Measures of Success
This session offers compare perspectives from the US, the UK, and Australia on models of delivering transnational education and how they define and measure success. Co-presenters are :
Joe Chicharo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Inte…

how is the mobility of international doctoral students likely to shift?

University World News published a special issue on development and trends with doctoral education and student mobility across the world. I contributed a piece entitled "The future of international doctoral mobility" for this special issue. Here is an edited excerpt of the article.

In ”The Disposable Academic”, The Economist argued that "doing a PhD” was often a waste of time. However, this pessimism does not reflect the experience of all students, as evidenced by increasing numbers of doctoral students from the global South heading to the advanced economies of the North in the past 20 years.

Two primary factors influence mobility and stay rates of international doctoral students: the comparative access to opportunities for doctoral training and professional advancement between their host and home countries.

How is the mobility of international students at doctoral level likely to shift in the next 20 years? It will be shaped by the collision of two counter-trends enab…