State Int’l Education Consortia: Strength in Unity

A recent phenomenon in U.S. higher education has been the creation of state consortia as a cost-effective means of promoting a state’s colleges and universities overseas as well as raising the profile of that state. 

Aside from the many well-known intrinsic benefits of hosting international students, there is the economic justification.  The 671,616 international students in the U.S. contribute $17.8 billion to the U.S. economy through their expenditures on tuition and living expenses, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.  New York, for example, has 74,934 international students who collectively contribute nearly $2 billion to the state’s economy.

State international education consortia are a classic example of “strength in numbers” and cooperation/collaboration being driven by, in some cases, draconian budget cuts.  Some have an explicit link with economic development initiatives (bravo!) and even cooperate with other states.  Study Illinois, for example, list the following goals: 

  • To increase the name recognition of Illinois and its educational institutions
  • To promote the state of Illinois as a study destination
  • To increase the number of international students accessing Illinois educational programs – in person, online and otherwise
  • To facilitate partnerships between Illinois and foreign schools
  • To foster communication between institutions
  • To capitalize upon the services and support of city, state and federal agencies

 Here is a list of active consortia with links to websites, some multilingual, that provide basic information about institutions of higher education and their states 

 While I admire the entrepreneurial spirit of counties and cities that attempt to promote higher education in their areas, it could become a tad overwhelming for international students looking for schools in a country as large as the U.S.  It’s enough that there are 50 states.  On the other hand, some cities and counties are more visionary and proactive than the states in which they’re located.   

Most states, including some that rank among the top five, could substantially increase the number of Vietnamese young people studying at their colleges and universities given the proper investment in marketing and promotion in Vietnam.  There is a long list of ideas and possibilities, depending upon breadth of vision, depth of commitment (short-, medium- or long-term) and level of funding.

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