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

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?

Following charts show the contributors of enrollment growth and highlight the importance of diversification in the internationalization strategies of American higher education institutions. It shows that the growth is concentrated  in terms of source countries, types of institutions and level of education. The three charts from my article “Diversification key to international higher education” published in University World News, look into year-on-year growth from three different angles– academic level, type of institution and source countries.

1. Higher revenue potential: Bachelor level enrollment becoming attractive


2. Big getting bigger: Doctorate-granting institutions driving growth 

3. Demand from China and Saudi Arabia: Over-dependence on a few countries

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Dr. Rahul Choudaha

1 Comment

  1. Diversification is key, but do conventional marketing and recruitment methods preclude this?

    Australian universities and vocational sector found their international student body being dominated by Chinese and Indian students, how?

    Institutions' international marketing and recruitment strategy revolves round recruitment contracts with selected agents in particular markets (with recruitment targets) attending events in India or China, with local education agents to "distribute marketing materials" to prospective students.

    While focusing upon events other channels are ignored i.e. word of mouth (from students already on campus), digital and agents, while many institutions don't analyse effectiveness of events, ROI etc..

    However, by only giving contracts to agents in markets with immediate results, and the need for results for future travel approval for further events, it becomes a circular and dominated by students from markets where it easier to recruit……… and many return visits….

    May look good in the short medium term achieving targets through aggressive selling, but meanwhile the neglect of digital channels all year round precludes market development in other markets to increase diversity.

    Further, many senior marketing personnel simply do not have the required skill set (motivation?) to develop and implement effective digital strategies.

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