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International student recruitment research: Responding to a changing enviornment

Robert Diamond wrote that “[s]ignificant change will never occur in any institution until the forces for change are greater in combination than the forces preserving the status quo. And in colleges and universities, the forces for resisting change are extremely powerful”.

The landscape of international student recruitment is changing at a fast pace and achieving recruitment goals will require adapting to this change. In general, institutional strategies and practices for recruiting international students have not kept pace with the external changes in markets, students, and channels.

In this blog post, I am sharing three recent research pieces on international student recruitment published by WES, NAFSA and AIEA highlighting a changing environment and need for proactive and informed institutional strategies.
International Student Mobility Trends: Towards Responsive Recruitment Strategies published by World Education Services (WES), co-authored with Li Chang & Yoko Kono. This re…

Foreign universities in India - A reality check, again!

"A revolution is brewing in the higher education sector with foreign universities waiting for India to open its doors to them.", says The Telegraph in August 2009 and Inside Higher Ed echoed the optimism and prospects of finding "a passage to India" for foreign universities.

More than three years later sentiments have reversed with pessimism and frustration overtaking optimism. The Chronicle of Higher Education sums up with a headline "For U.S. colleges in India, great possibilities, thwarted hopes" and Times Higher Ed finds "As India plays hard to get, overseas suitors lose interest." University World News reports challenges at Leeds MET India, one of the "first" foreign campuses in India, which decided to not wait for the approval of the foreign universities bill.

Several big names like Duke Fuqua, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech have all scaled down their ambitions from full-fledged degree campuses to smaller partnerships.

What ha…

Decline in doctoral student enrollment in the US

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US universities seems to be absorbing lesser number of international students at the doctoral level. The proportion of doctoral student enrollment has declined from 20% in 2006/07 to 17.3% in 2011/12 (IIE Open Doors). However, total doctoral enrollment grew from 108,033 to 117,564, in the same period.

The decline in proportion of international students at the doctoral level does not necessarily indicate the lack in interest of international students to apply or the US institutions to attract international students, however, it is more of an indicator of the effect of the economy, which made availability of financial assistance for doctoral programs tougher. Of course, related reason is faster growth of enrollment at bachelor's degree level primarily driven by China (proportion of international students at bachelor's degree level grew from 29.2% to 36% between 2006/07 and 2011/12).

At the same time, growth in total enrollment at the doctoral level, perhaps reflects the longer …