5 March 2015
International higher education is a “big business.” Estimates vary, but annual global revenue exceeds $500 billion and is projected to substantially increase in the future.
Evidence suggests that international student mobility patterns are changing and I maintain that specific political and economic trends will significantly impact where international students enroll in the future.
Most colleges and universities rely on enrolling international students to meet financial and diversity strategic goals. However, some schools base their strategic international plans on past enrollments of international students.
This article will attempt make the case that political and economic trends in certain parts of the world will impact the future enrollment of international students and serve as a wake-up call to colleges and universities to question and perhaps alter current international strategic plans.
2 March 2015
Who are international students? That may sound like a simple question, but the answer is often circular. Countries and institutions that compete to enroll international students routinely report their number, nationality, level and field of study and perhaps their financial contribution to the region or country, but it hard to find much more detail about their background and circumstances. The word “international” is a demographic marker in its own right, but one that tends to close off further questions.
To study for an entire degree in another country remains an elite option, driven by academic exceptionalism but also financial means. Out of an estimated 180 million higher education students in the world, fewer than 3% obtain a degree abroad. Does this mean that we should not expect much socio-economic diversity from such a rarefied population? When international students represent much-needed revenue for cash-strapped institutions, should we expect leaders to care?
16 February 2015
In early February 2015, the University College London announced plans to close its campus in Adelaide, Australia, by 2017, at the completion of mining and energy partnerships with Santos and BHP Billiton worth $20 million. The campus, established as the UCL School of Energy & Resources, opened in 2010 as part of the South Australian government's strategy to create an educational hub in the city.
The university cited “academic and financial risk and sustainability, as well as emerging changes in UCL’s international strategic direction” for the closure. The announcement was followed by the resignation of campus chief executive David Travers on February 11th, who said, “It has been a privilege to lead the establishment of this unique school in Australia”. No successor has been named.
UCL Adelaide currently has around 100 science masters and doctoral students, mostly in mining and resource-related fields, and around 21 staff. The campus’ staff and management, including the chief executive, were not aware the campus would be closed when the university’s management in the UK made the announcement: as of last year its enrollments were on track and it had been profitable. UCL’s other branch campus, in Doha, Qatar, appears not to be affected by this change in strategic direction, nor is its partnership with Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan.
What problems precipitated the closure of the UCL campus, and what does it mean for Adelaide’s plans as an education hub? While surprising, does the university’s decision to close its Adelaide campus indicate that it was deemed to be failing, or does it suggest that small branch campuses have different life spans than larger ventures, and could still be viewed as successful even if they close?
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In the News
Education ministry outlines university merger proposal, Taipei Times (Taiwan), 28 March 2015
The world is going to university, The Economist, 28 March 2015
How much do foreign students cost Finland?, YLE (Finland), 27 March 2015
China focuses on regional students as inbound enrolments up, The PIE News, 27 March 2015
Debunking Myths About the U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings, US News and World Report, 27 March 2015
Living & Learning: Japanese students overseas / Future engineers bonding at UBC, The Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan), 27 March 2015
Graduate recruiters call for better links between universities and firms, The Times Higher Education, 27 March 2015
Why the University of Phoenix May Not Rise From the Ashes, Business Cheatsheet, 27 March 2015
Autonomy granted to universities next year, Nation News (Thailand), 27 March 2015
Will Belarus become a part of Bologna?, The Times Higher Education, 26 March 2015
Changes afoot at the Irish Research Council, Irish Times (Ireland), 26 March 2015
First university uses English in training PhD holders, Vietnam Net, 26 March 2015
30 March - 3 April 2015: The International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) conference, 'The Changing Landscape of Higher Education: New Demands for Quality Assurance', Chicago, Illinois, USA
16-17 April 2015: EUA Annual Conference 2015, European Universities in Research and Innovation - People, Policies and Partnerships, Antwerp, BELGIUM
20–24 April 2015: Spring EAIE Academy 2015, Riga, LATVIA
30 April 2015: i-graduate Best Practice Exchange: Raising the bar for the student experience, London, UK - DRAFT PROGRAMME incl REGISTRATION LINK
6-8 May 2015: The IAU 6th Global Meeting of Associations (GMA VI), 'Social innovation: Challenges and perspectives for higher education', Montreal, CANADA
17-18 May 2015: 10th EIRP & 5th AGAUC International Joint Conferences, Galati, ROMANIA
24-29 May 2015: NAFSA 2015, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
20 May 2015: The 7th Annual International Symposium on University Rankings and Quality Assurance, Brussels, BELGIUM
1-2 June 2015: Going Global, 'Connecting cultures: forging futures', London, UK
9-11 June 2015: QAA Scotland the Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Committee's 2nd international enhancement conference, 'Enhancement and innovation in higher education', Glasgow, Scotland
14-16 June 2015: ACA Annual Conference 2015: Internationalisation: from strategy to implementation, Brussels, BELGIUM
22-25 June 2015: Canada International Conference on Education (CICE-201), Toronto, CANADA
23 June 2015: Westminster Higher Education Forum Keynote Seminar, 'Challenges and opportunities for increasing outward student mobility, London, UK
24-25 June 2015: The 5th International Assessment in HE Conference, Birmingham, UK
20-24 July 2015: The National Association of Disability Practitioners International Conference – ‘Working for disability equality in Higher Education – the global perspective’, Manchester, UK
30 August - 2 September 2015: 37th Annual European Association for Institutional Research (EAIR) Forum, From here to there - Positioning Higher Education Institutions, Krems, AUSTRIA
15-18 September 2015: The 27th Annual European Association for International Education (EAIE) Conference, 'A wealth of nations', Glasgow, UK
5-8 October 2015: Global Access to Post-Secondary Education (GAPS) Initiative Conference 2015 - Access to Higher Education, Meeting the Global Challenge, Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
6-9 October 2015: 29th Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) - International education: global, responsible, sustainable, Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
14-15 October 2015: OECD Conference on Higher Education Futures, SINGAPORE
28-30 October 2015: International Association of Universities conference, 'The internationalisation of higher education: Moving beyond mobility', Siena, ITALY
19-21 November 2015: QAA's 10th European Quality Assurance Forum, London, UK
22-25 November 2015: Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) Annual Conference, Niagara, Ontario, CANADA
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