Vietnam Among Top Emerging Markets for International Student Recruitment

This article, written by Rahul Choudaha, director of research and advisory services at World Education Services (WES) in New York, identified four emerging international student recruitment markets, including Vietnam.  It’s based on a WES research report  (PDF), entitled Beyond More of the Same: The Top Four Emerging Markets for International Student Recruitment,  that “aims to address the information needs of higher education institutions by systematically identifying key emerging markets and offering near-term strategies to successfully nurture them.”

Dr. Choudaha notes that

International student recruitment has become increasingly competitive as institutional budgets continue to shrink. More than ever, higher education institutions are expected to recruit quality students in a short period of time.
Most institutions rely on traditional source countries to achieve this goal, as penetrating an existing market for enrolment growth is a less costly route in terms of effort, expenditure and time.
As a result, students from China, India and South Korea are overrepresented on campuses. On some, Chinese students make up over half of the non-domestic student population. This is the case at the University of Iowa, where Chinese students comprised more than 70% of international undergraduates in 2011.
There is increasing pressure on institutions to attract international students from a broader range of countries, as they look to diversify their student bodies.

The research was based on a two-round Delphi survey – a mixed method forecasting technique based on the anonymity and expertise of participants.

The report  identifies four emerging markets for international student recruitment, including Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Vietnam:

High recruitment potential is attributable to Vietnam’s growing middle-class and strong study abroad interest. Vietnamese students are the third largest body of international students at American community colleges. Institutions of higher education that identify and reach Vietnamese students with the financial means to study in the US should enjoy a good deal of recruiting success in the coming years.

The Value of Education by the Numbers

If you glance at the top ten sending countries and rank them by students and GDP (PPP), Vietnam jumps off the page.  It ranks 8th among sending countries, according to Open Doors 2012 and the latest SEVIS quarterly updates, but 43rd in GDP.  The closest country, Saudi Arabia, 4th among places of origin, ranks 24th.  All of the other countries are in the top 20 in GDP.  This tells you – with a gigantic exclamation point – that Vietnamese parents are spending enormous sums of money on overseas study in proportion to per capita income.  In a phrase, education is important and parents are putting their money where their priorities and values are.   

To read the article and/or report follow these links:

A diverse student body means a stronger university  (University World News, October 2012, Issue No: 246)

WES Research Report

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