NACAC: International Undergraduate Enrollment Trends and Strategies

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 University are responding by offering in-state tuition to international students–an effective discount of 60 percent in tuition.

If innovation is defined as creating value within constraints, then international recruitment and enrollment strategies are in dire need of it. I will be chairing a session at NACAC Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, UT on “Innovative Strategies for Diversifying and Expanding International Undergraduate Enrollment” on Thursday, September 27, 1:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Expert panel:
• Terence Peavy, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management at Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
• Anna Esaki-Smith, Director of Global Outreach at UC Berkeley Extension
• Morgan Volkart, Vice Provost, Western Region and International Recruitment at Lehigh University

This interactive session will illustrate the importance of innovative mindset and identify a set of good practices with a focus on what works and what doesn’t in diverse institutional contexts.
– Dr. Rahul Choudaha