International Student Mobility Research Report

Competition for international students, cost of recruitment and complexity of higher education systems is posing serious challenge for higher education institutions to recruit in an efficient manner. A recent report published by World Education Services notes that “Overall, U.S. institutions will likely expect another year of international enrollment growth in 2012. However, the road ahead for most U.S. institutions of higher education will not be smooth as many institutions grapple with challenges in meeting recruitment goals with limited time and tight budgets. This is where a better understanding of enrollment trends would help institutions prioritize their resources.” Given below is the excerpt from the report:

• While China and India are still too big to ignore, there are other emerging countries worth paying attention to, including Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Mexico, and Brazil. Recruitment to these countries should also be cultivated not only for campus diversity purposes, but also as a de-risking strategy.

• Growth in international student enrollment is not restricted to large states like California and New York; non-traditional destinations, including Montana, Oregon and Colorado, are also witnessing significant growth due to more aggressive institutional outreach efforts and state policy reforms that allow for the enrollment of more international students in public institutions.

• Enrollment growth at the Bachelor’s level is set to outstrip growth at the Master’s and Doctoral levels. Since international students studying at the Bachelor’s level are typically funded by their families, as opposed to financial aid, and provide a longer stream of revenue (four years) versus Master’s programs (two years), some public institutions are viewing this trend as a solution to current fiscal challenges.

• English as a Second Language (ESL) programs are emerging as an important pathway for international students, most notably from Saudi Arabia. The availability and length of Optional Practical Training (OPT) will also continue to be an important factor for students heading for the U.S., most notably for Indian students.

• Given intense pressure on institutions to become more prompt and efficient in achieving their recruitment goals, the use of recruitment service providers, social media and state consortia marketing will gain momentum

I will also be co-presenting at a free interactive WES webinar on March 16, 2012 to discuss key findings.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha

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