Internationalization of public universities: Gaining momentum, overcoming challenges

State funding as a share of public universities’ budgets declined from 28 percent in 2001 to 19 percent in 2009, according to a recent NSF report. Another report noted that public funding for higher education in California was cut by $1.5 billion, or nearly 12% in 2011-12, to $9.7 billion from $11.2 billion.

Budget cuts at public institutions of higher education is not a news any more. However, the recession of 2008 accelerated the extent of cuts and created a state of urgency among many public institutions to find alternative sources of revenue.

This urgency is prompting many institutions to become more aggressive in recruiting international students. A recent article entitled Lure of Chinese Tuition Pushes Out Asian-Americans noted example of University of California, San Diego which saw 12-fold increase in Chinese freshmen in two years from 12 in 2009 to 200 in 2011.

In my recent article How does the rise of Asia influence international student mobility? published in University World News, I argue that institutions need to develop a comprehensive strategy that should involve deep understanding of countries and student decision-making processes to ensure that recruitment efforts and opportunities are maximized.

Going forward, public higher education in the US will continue to become aggressive in recruiting international students, while grappling with quality and campus diversity issues. A thoughtful and strategic approach to internationalization is required to balance quality with quantity.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha


  1. Yes, I agree with you institutions must prepare student to get better understanding of countries and student decision-making processes.
    Very Informative post.
    thanks for sharing.

  2. I am beginning a consultant contract with a great community (two-year) college district in California seeking to increase its enrollment of international students. Considering the cost savings over that of a four year university, what do you think 'the message' should contain? Is the concept of the community college system successfully serving as an access point to a competitive university resonating in the international community?

  3. It is no secret that funding cuts have affected higher education. Although I applaud thinking out of the box and recruiting more international students, what is being done to meet their needs as learners? Depending on the country, they may approach learning differently and are a great risk of becoming a marginalized segment of the college population. Any thoughts? Thanks!

  4. UC Berkeley (UCB) pulls back access and affordability to instate Californians. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau displaces Californians qualified for public Cal. with a $50,600 payment from born abroad foreign and out of state affluent students. And, foreign and out of state tuition is subsidized in the guise of diversity while instate tuition/fees are doubled.

    UCB is not increasing enrollment. Birgeneau accepts $50,600 foreign students and displaces qualified instate Californians (When depreciation of Calif. funded assets are included (as they should be), out of state and foreign tuition is more than $100,000 + and does NOT subsidize instate tuition). Like Coaches, Chancellors Who Do Not Measure-Up Must Go.

    More recently, Chancellor Birgeneau’s campus police deployed violent baton jabs on Cal. students protesting Birgeneau’s tuition increases. Tough choices must be made: the sky will not fall when Birgeneau and his $450,000 salary are ousted. Opinions make a difference; email UC Board of Regents

Comments are closed.