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NACAC: International Undergraduate Enrollment Trends and Strategies

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Political turbulence and the resulting effect on the decline of international student enrollment and revenue is the new normal for many higher education institutions in the U.S. The financial pains are severe with the loss of four years of tuition at the bachelor's-degree level.



For 2016/17, new enrollment of undergraduate international students declined by 2.9% or nearly 3,400 students. This translates into a potential revenue loss of US$342 million over four years at the rate of US$25,000 tuition fee. This loss is only going to balloon as the new enrollment is expected to decline for 2017 and 2018.

The loss of revenue has already started shaking-up a segment of universities which lack national rankings and/or location advantages. Pittsburgh State University, Wright State University and Eastern Kentucky University are a few which are laying off staff citing decline in international student enrollment as one of the primary reasons. Some universities like Eastern Michigan Universit…

Digital-First Strategies for International Student Recruitment

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In my article, "China and India: Understanding Market Characteristics for Online Recruitment", published in 2009 in NAGAP Perspectives, I advocated that to maximize the return on investment, graduate schools must embrace online recruitment as one of the channels for international student recruitment. The key rationale was that the student-decision-making process was rapidly moving towards a more self-directed search-behavior supported by peer-to-peer based on online communication and social networks.



Today, we are at an inflexion point where online recruitment is moving from one of the recruitment channels to first and the most important channel for attracting and enrolling international students. This is what I refer to as “digital-first” strategy of international recruitment.

The impact of megatrends indicate that future international recruitment strategies must innovate and adapt to the competitive environment and shifting student behavior. This competitive environment …

Political Tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia Represent the Three Wave of International Students

The diplomatic and political tussle between Saudi Arabia and Canada is going to disrupt the lives and educational ambitions of Saudi student. It will also hurt enrollments of Canadian universities hosting Saudi students. This political turbulence is characteristics of the Third Wave of international student mobility which has already affected the UK with Brexit and the US with the Presidential elections. After the drastic reduction of Saudi Government's scholarship program, many American universities have already experienced the risky scenario of decline in enrollment due to dependency on Saudi government.

Students from Saudia Arabia formed 3.15% of total international student enrollment in Canadian universities and colleges according to UNESCO data of 2017.

Top-10 Source Countries of International Students to Canada

Int'l Students in CanadaEnrollmentChina60,936India19,905France15,603United States8,355Nigeria5,982Saudi Arabia5,979Korea, Rep.4,743Iran, Islamic Rep.3,735Pakista…

Building World-Class Universities in India: Realizing the Vision of Institutions of Eminence

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Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) announced the names of six Institutions of Eminence (IoE) with the overarching goal of institutions achieving global rankings and the status of world-class universities. Here is an excerpt from "The tough road to academic excellence" originally published in the Hindu with Philip G. Altbach with a focus on India's richest man--Mukesh Ambani’s "greenfield" Jio Institute.



The Institute faces significant challenges which includes clarity on the basic organising principle. How does it plan to differentiate itself from other universities in India and abroad, and at the same time match up to the best academic practices elsewhere? While the Reliance empire is the largest private business in India, the cost of creating a competitive world-class university is daunting especially when starting from scratch. For example, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Saudi Arabia, established in 2009, spent $1.5 b…

Megatrends to Impact International Student Mobility Choices, Preferences and Directions

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Next 15 years are expected to be dramatically different from the previous 15 years due to megatrends--“a long-term, transformational process with global reach, broad scope, and a dramatic impact” (John Naisbitt, 1982). Are universities and colleges ready? Here is an excerpt from a recent article--Megatrends Prompt Universities to Innovate and Internationalize.








Recent Studyportals report, “Envisioning pathways to 2030: Megatrends shaping the future of global higher education and international student mobility” identified following eight megatrends transforming global higher education:

Aging world: finding new opportunities of education and employment;Labor market shifts: increasing automation to affect global workforce;Skills mismatch: gap between what employers’ demand vs what education provides;Rapid urbanization: shift towards cities in search of jobs and career advancement;Stricter immigration policies: more barriers for mobility to high-income destinations;Economic shifts: dependen…

Public-Private Partnerships: Role of Pathway Programs for International Student Recruitment

Public-private partnerships are becoming critical for US higher education. I moderated a panel discussion of leaders from universities and pathway providers to identify some of the best practices for building successful public-private partnership for international enrollment growth and diversification. Given below is the panel of university and its pathway partner:
Ed Feser, Provost & Executive Vice President, Oregon State University John Sykes, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President North America, INTO University Partnerships Gayle Nunley, Director Global Educational Initiatives, University of Vermont Emily Williams-Knight, Managing Director, Study Group J. Tyler Hart, Chief Development Officer, Richard Bland College (RBC) of William & MaryJames Applegate, Senior Academic Advisor, Navitas North America Jim Burkee, Executive Vice President, Concordia College New York Jose Flores, Managing Director, Kings Education  This panel discussion took place at P3EDU, an invitation-only …

Third-party Pathway Providers for International Recruitment: Outcomes and Experiences

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Inside Higher Ed ran a series on the evolution of third-party pathway programs for international student recruitment in the US. This comprehensive and incisive reporting by Elizabeth Redden looks into multiple dimensions related to this complex and evolving topic. It relates to the NAFSA commissioned research report I led on the landscape third-party pathway partnerships and the reasons reported by international education professionals for considering to partner or not.

The article highlights that "Colleges have turned to the third-party pathway model for one main reason: to grow the population of full-pay international students, and in turn the revenue they bring. "



This aligns with the findings of the report. Given below are the topic five reasons for partnering with third-party pathway provider as reported by 347 professionals from 261 institutions who attended NAFSA conferences are:
To access recruitment network of pathway provider To expand enrollment of international st…

BCCIE: Megatrends and Global Issues in International Education

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Conference theme for British Columbia Council for International Education (BCCIE) Summer Conference for 2018 is "Things we should be talking about in International Education." This theme prompts us to reflect on "what we think we are doing, and why, by poking holes in some of the assumptions embedded in International Education, by looking at things we are talking about, by suggesting things we should be talking about."


It asserts that "Our sector casts a long shadow and there may be other things we should be talking about:...our culling of the top economic strata from the global South’s burgeoning middle classes (our emerging markets) to fill our classrooms, quotas and coffers; our wilful ignorance of the demography and elitism of study abroad, building programs and pedestals for the 1% to springboard their careers. There are uncomfortable conversations to be had to be sure."

I am will be presenting a Thought Leadership session on "Preparing for th…

Dr. Rahul Choudaha Elected as EAIE General Council Member 2018-2020

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I am delighted to be elected as a member of the General Council of the European Association for International Education (EAIE). Founded in 1989, the EAIE is a non-profit, member-led organisation serving international education professionals. Every September, it hosts Europe's largest annual conference on international education. 2018 conference in Geneva is expected to attract 6,000 professionals from around the world.

I am honored to be joining following leaders in international education:

Incoming General Council:

Robert Buttery, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, SwitzerlandMark Cunnington, Study Group, UKMathias Falkenstein, CHE Consult GmbH, BelgiumEvelien Hack, Leiden University Medical Center, the NetherlandsPeter Kerrigan, DAAD, USAKees Kouwenaar, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the NetherlandsRoberto Napoli, University of Trento, ItalyArnold Persoon, Navitas, the NetherlandsNidhi Piplani, IILM Institute for Higher Education, IndiaSerge Sych, Ce…