International Student Mobility Research Report


“…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 report, recently released by World Education Services, provides some useful information about enrollment trends among international students.  One of the key points is that While China and India are still too big to ignore, there are other emerging countries worth paying attention to, including Saudi Arabia, Vietnam (my bold), Mexico, and Brazil. Recruitment to these countries should also be cultivated not only for campus diversity purposes, but also as a de-risking strategy.

 The report also notes that…

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.

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.

Undergraduate enrollment among US-bound Vietnamese students increased from about two-thirds to three-quarters in the 2010/11 academic year.  60% of those were enrolled at a community college, the first step in the 2+2 equation (i.e., transfer to a four-year school to complete the bachelor’s degree). 

While California, Texas and Washington play host to over half of all Vietnamese students, there are also significant numbers headed to other non-traditional destinations such as West Virginia.  In an increasingly competitive market and growing but still limited numbers of students, “aggressive institutional outreach efforts” and a long-term strategy are essential to creating pipelines of Vietnamese students to more schools. 

You can download the entire report here.

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