Cross-Border Education vs. Overseas Study: Similar But Different

Posted 21/07/2014 by maavn
Categories: Articles, Commentary

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In the 1 July 2014 issue of there was a misleading statement in the July 1, 2014 about Vietnamese students and overseas study.  Below are 1) the headline and statement from NAFSA; and 2) the actual University World News article on which the NAFSA post is based, along with my response.

[For the uninitiated, NAFSA:  Association of International Educators, is a US-based non-profit organization for professionals in all areas of international education, including education abroad advising and administration, international student advising, campus internationalization, admissions, outreach, overseas advising, and English as a Second Language (ESL) administration. As of 2010, it served approximately 10,000 educators worldwide, representing nearly 3,000 higher education institutions.]

1)  Vietnamese Students Losing Interest in International EducationInterest in overseas study might be waning in Vietnam after years of effort to promote the benefits. The government has tightened regulations while some investors have pulled out of the higher education sector, and more students are choosing to stay within the country rather than explore international options, according to University World News.

2)  Cross-border education losing favour with studentsTransnational higher education providers in Vietnam are having to work harder to attract students and some international investors are bailing out as cross-border education appears to be losing favour after almost a decade of exponential proliferation.

If you take a few minutes to read the UWN article, you’ll discover that it’s about cross-border education, not to be confused with overseas study, and the government’s attempts to regulate foreign education providers in Vietnam.  Young Vietnamese who study abroad and those who study at home comprise two distinctly different market segments.   

My hope is that NAFSA will print a correction or clarification and, in the future, that its editors will take the time to read an article before writing about it.  Given how busy everyone is and NAFSA’s credibility, my guess is that many colleagues are inclined to take the summary at face value without reading the original source article.  In this case, they might actually believe the screaming headline that Vietnamese students are “Losing Interest in International Education” and the lead sentence that “Interest in overseas study might be waning in Vietnam…” 

The fact is that interest in overseas study among Vietnamese students remains strong.  Speaking of which, the answer to the question I posed in my June e-newsletter is in this blog post entitled 125,000 Vietnamese Studied Overseas in 2013. (No winners this time!) According to the April 2014 SEVIS by the Numbers quarterly report (PDF download), nearly 21,000 Vietnamese students are studying in the U.S. at all levels.


125,000 Vietnamese Studied Overseas in 2013

Posted 17/07/2014 by maavn
Categories: Survey, Updates

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study_abroadLast year, 125,000 Vietnamese studied overseas, a 15% increase over 2012, according to the Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training (MoET).  The top 10 countries are listed below.  Japan climbed to #3, displacing China.  Over 90% were self-financing.  Using the Ministry of Finance’s higher per student estimate from 2012 (15k), Vietnamese families spent at least $1.7 billion on overseas study-related expenses.  To put this figure in perspective that’s about 1% of the country’s 2013 GDP.  Two-thirds of all Vietnamese studying overseas last year were in enrolled in colleges and universities in the top five (5) countries.

1           Australia         26,015

2           US      19,591

3           Japan 13,328

4           China 13,000

5          Singapore        10,000

6           France            6,700

7          Taiwan            6,000

8          UK      5,118

9           Russia             5,000

10        Germany         4,600

Universities need to develop strategies to improve experiences of international students

Posted 08/07/2014 by maavn
Categories: Reblog, Research

Tags: , ,

Below is a summary of some important research from the blog of “Dr. Education,” aka  Dr. Rahul Choudaha:  DrEducation: International Higher Education Blog -Trends, insights and strategies on internationalization of higher education.  (Posted on 30.6.14)

Dr. Choudaha is the chief knowledge officer for World Education Services (WES) and the lead researcher for the report.  It reveals a wide variation in perceptions of why international undergraduate students in the U.S. leave their institutions of first enrollment before completing their degree.   (My italics.) The study, entitled U.S. Study of International Undergraduate Retention: Implications and Gaps between International Education Professionals and International Students, was sponsored by ELS Education Services, Inc.

Source: NAFSA research on international student research

Source: NAFSA research on international student research

One of the key takeaways of the research was “that poor retention is a function of the mismatch between expectations of students prior to enrollment and the actual experience of students once they are on campus.” Sheila Schulte of NAFSA noted that “The three main implications from the study that can help institutions set transparent expectations with international students are: understanding the diverse needs of the international student body, coordinating internationalization efforts across campus, and investing in programs and services that improve student experiences.”

Here are the related links covering the research:

Infographic on NAFSA International Student Retention Research
Perceptions of International Student Retention Vary Substantially, NAFSA
Meeting Expectations of International Students, USA Today
International Students Coming to America for College More Than Ever, But Why Aren’t They Staying?, University Herald
For U.S. Colleges, a Drive to Retain Foreign Students, The New York Times
Why They Stay or Leave, Inside Higher Ed
NAFSA Research Reveals Student Retention Perception Gap, The PIE News
Retention Is a Growing Issue as More International Students Come to U.S., The Chronicle of Higher Education

US Poised for More Active Student Recruitment

Posted 05/07/2014 by maavn
Categories: Articles

Tags: , , ,

Below is an excerpt from a recent ICEF Monitor article that touches on a number of trends and factors that will contribute to increased activity in international student recruitment in the years to come.  Related to that, I look forward to seeing NACAC’s “best practices guide” for working with commissioned agents in a couple of months.


Already the world’s leading destination for international students, the United States is set to become a more active recruiter of international students. In today’s ICEF Monitor post, we look at what is driving this trend, and examine the latest data on key source markets for America’s still-growing population of international students.

icef monitorAlready the world’s leading destination for international students, the United States is set to become a more active recruiter of international students. In today’s ICEF Monitor post, we look at what is driving this trend, and examine the latest data on key source markets for America’s still-growing population of international students.

Domestic enrolment expected to slow

According to the US Department of Education, college enrolment growth will slow through 2022. In a report released earlier this year, Projections of Education Statistics to 2022, the department forecasts that college enrolment will increase by 14% between the fall of 2011 and 2022. Nevertheless, this rate of growth is significantly less than the 45% increase observed during the previous 14-year period.

Predictions such as these are only expected to fuel the interest of American institutions in recruiting international students in the years ahead. Indeed, international enrolments already help offset flat – and even declining – interest domestically in some disciplines at the graduate level, and also help cushion the blow of budget cuts at some US colleges and universities.

Use of international education agents expected to rise

Another factor that will likely drive more active international recruitment by US institutions going forward is an expected increase in the use of education agents. As we reported previously, the National Association for College Admission Counselling (NACAC) has removed its ban on American colleges using commissioned agents in international student recruitment. The new requirements are scheduled to take effect after a one-year moratorium during which NACAC’s International Advisory Committee will develop a “best practices guide” for working with commissioned agents. It is expected that the guide will be presented at this year’s NACAC Assembly (Indianapolis, 18-20 September 2014).

Follow this link to read the rest of the article.

“International Universities – My Visit to Vietnam”

Posted 02/07/2014 by maavn
Categories: Reblog

Tags: , , ,

Below is a post from Kurt Linberg’s blog, Higher education: Are we making the grade?  Dr. Linberg visited Vietnam last year as a member of a delegation from The College of St. Scholastica (Duluth, MN), where he was Dean of the School of Business and Technology.  (The other members were Dr. Larry Goodwin, President, and Mr. Thomas Homan, Director of International Education.)

International Universities – My Visit to Vietnam (24.1.14)

When I look over my four years at the College of St. Scholastica, I will likely never forget my trip to Vietnam. The St. Scholastica President, the Director of International Recruitment, and I were immersed into all aspects of Vietnam education and culture. We visited with high school students, high school teachers, college students, college professors and administrators, local business folks, and government officials. We also enjoyed the food, the people, and the culture. I left with a deep appreciation for the Vietnam students’ dedication for learning.

Here is a summary of our trip to Vietnam from the colleague that was instrumental in making this trip such a success, Mark Ashwill.

Thanks Mark!

Identifying and Analyzing your Institution’s Marketing Opportunity

Posted 01/07/2014 by maavn
Categories: Reblog, Workshop

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intead logoBelow is a repost of an Intead Insight by Ben Waxman & Michael Waxman-Lenz  about a presentation made at the recent Intead NYC Global Marketing Workshop.

Chinese students submit their SAT scores to twice as many colleges than international students from other countries. What does that mean for your yield enrollment marketing and your yield projections?

Elevator Summary

  • International student mobility expected to increase from 4.3M in 2011 to 8.5M students by 2025
  • On average, Chinese students submit their SAT scores to 12 universities, Indian students to 8 and Canadians to 5
  • Check out College Board’s web traffic to understand the most attractive US university brands for Indian and Chinese students. Interestingly, 6 of the top 10 most reviewed profiles are the same choices for students from both countries
  • SAT registrations and student enrollment from China grew by 64% from 2011 to 2013. From India the registrations grew 36%, while Indian student enrollment declined 9% during that 2 year period.

Clay Hensley from College Board and Christine Farrugia from the Institute of International Education presented at our INTEAD Global Marketing Workshop for Academic Leaders last week. They provided a highly informative overview from their rich internal and external data sets.

Chart 1 (below) displays the average number of SAT scores sent per student by country. The numbers show a remarkable difference with clear implications for your school’s yield management after admitting students from different countries. On average, Chinese students submit scores to 12 universities, while a student from the United Arab Emirates, UK or Nigeria will submit less than five. You notice that the difference does not appear income-based.

Frequency of SAT Score Sends Per Student

[Vietnam ranks 4th after China, South Korea and Taiwan with 8.68 SAT scores sent per student.]

Chart 2 is a broad observation of the appeal of the US education super brands around the world. College Board showed the top 10 most viewed university profiles by students from India and China. The data is based on visits to their BigFuture website. Six of the top 10 universities are identical across these two countries and include Stanford, Harvard, UCLA, Berkeley, NYU and Cornell. Indian students have a preference for technical programs and so the inclusion of MIT and Cal Tech may not surprise.

A large share of Chinese students also view two Midwestern universities: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Michigan. While the other 4,500 US academic institutions do not have the global name recognition, the entire US university system benefits from the “halo effect” of these academic “super brands.”

The reality is, these super brands can only accommodate a very small number of students overall, much less international students. Their attractiveness increases US competitiveness overall as the US becomes the chosen destination and other schools have the opportunity to be considered. As online programs gain further attention, these global super brands will increase their reach and brand position around the world.

The corresponding data for India show a 28% increase in web visitors, and 36% SAT registration growth, while the enrolled students from India declined by 9% during the period from 2011 to 2013.

So the intention and interest to study in the US seems to have continued to grow while the realization of that aspiration lagged. What do you think are the main reasons for that gap? Post a comment below this blog to engage in the discussion.

Much productive work can be done by all of us if Clay and Christine’s hopeful outlook is correct for continued growth in student mobility. They quoted a potential group of 8M students studying outside their home country by 2025, up from 4M in 2011.



“With A Boost From Bill Gates, Vietnam’s Entrepreneurs Put Profits Into Philanthropy”

Posted 28/06/2014 by maavn
Categories: Articles

Tags: , , , ,

Sharing is not a strange idea for ordinary Vietnamese, but big-scale altruism is rare so far, given that serious wealth accumulation started in Vietnam only in the past two decades.

This is an issue I’ve discussed with some of you over the years.  First, make money and lots of it, thanks to the economic reforms that date to 1986, secondly, show everyone how successful (i.e., wealthy) you are and, thirdly, begin to ponder your legacy.  In the final analysis, quite literally, we all have a finite number of days on earth and not many of us want to be the richest person in the cemetery.  This is the next logical step after the conspicuous consumption of the nouveau riche phase, which is in full bloom.  There are only so many houses you can live in, cars you can drive, clothes you can wear, and trips you can take.  Who better than Bill Gates, one of most famous and respected people in Vietnam, to provide the spark?

Bill Gates and Le Van Kiem share a moment.  Photo courtesy of Forbes

Bill Gates and Le Van Kiem share a moment. Photo courtesy of Forbes

A sure sign of Vietnam’s economic development is that the country is now producing notable philanthropists. In April Le Van Kiem, chairman of the Long Thanh Investment & Trading Corp., became the first Vietnamese to join forces with Bill Gates, the philanthropist and Microsoft MSFT -0.7% co founder. At a meeting in Singapore the two agreed to set up the Vietnam Health Fund to improve health care in the country. Le pledged $5 million over the next five years, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match each dollar, as well as all other donations from local philanthropists. The goal: $50 million. In May foundation officials organized a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City with other wealthy individuals to round up support.

My prediction is that this budding philanthropy movement will gain significant momentum as the movers and shakers of today come of age.  I expect to see large sums donated and invested in high priority areas such as health care, education and rural development.  A little goes a long way here and people of means can leave a legacy by improving the quality of life for countless people.

Follow this link to read the rest of this 25 June 2014 Forbes article.  Note that it mentions the new Fulbright University – Vietnam (FUV) as a possible beneficiary of Vietnam’s nouveau philanthropists.



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