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9 Mar, 2012

New Report Explores Global Student Mobility Trends, as U.S. Seeks to Regain Market Share


New York, NY (PRWEB) March 01, 2012 – American Universities are seeking to regain their dominance in attracting international students, powered by the continued momentum from China and Saudi Arabia, revival of India, and emergence of new markets such as Brazil, according to a new report, “Trends in International Student Mobility,” released by World Education Services (WES) on March 1, 2012.

“The U.S. is a sleeping giant in terms of international student recruitment and is just now waking up in response to the fiscal challenges faced by many public universities. As the U.S. economy picks up, the perception of improved employment prospects will strengthen the attractiveness of the U.S. among international students and, at the same time, stringent immigration policies of the UK and Australia are likely to divert some traffic to the U.S. Finally, the sheer size of the American higher education system enables it to absorb international students at a higher rate than other countries,” says Dr. Rahul Choudaha, director of Research & Advisory Services at WES and the main author of the report.

Growth in international student populations will go beyond traditional leading destination states such as California and New York and trickle down to states like Oregon, Delaware and Iowa. The shift is driven by a new segment of international students at undergraduate levels who are seeking higher support for English as a Second Language (ESL) training, as well as by an increasing number of institutions that are proactively reaching out to students. The emergence of new destination states may also be attributed to state-level policy, such as Colorado initiating legislative changes to allow for the enrollment of more international students in public institutions.

• Although the country’s share of globally mobile students has declined over the last decade, the U.S. is likely to consolidate its leadership position due to the sheer size of its higher education system and its ability to absorb international students at a higher rate when compared to competitor countries.

• While China and India are still too big to ignore, there are other emerging countries worth paying attention to, including Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Mexico, and Brazil. Recruitment to these countries should also be cultivated not only for campus diversity purposes, but also as a de-risking strategy.

• 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.

• 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.

• English as a Second Language (ESL) programs are emerging as an important pathway for international students, most notably from Saudi Arabia. The avail- ability and length of Optional Practical Training (OPT) will also continue to be an important factor for students heading for the U.S., most notably for Indian students.

• Given intense pressure on institutions to become more prompt and efficient in achieving their recruitment goals, the use of recruitment service providers, social media and state consortia marketing will gain momentum.

The research paper is now available for download here. WES will also host a free interactive webinar on March 16, 2012 as a part of its Knowledge Resource Exchange initiative where the authors will discuss key findings, trends and implications of their research to help institutional leaders effectively set their international recruitment priorities; learn more and register at http://www.wes.org/webinars.

About World Education Services (WES): World Education Services, Inc. (http://www.wes.org) is the largest non-profit credential evaluation service in the United States.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha is Director of Research & Advisory Services at WES, New York. He earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Denver, a Master’s degree in Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from India.