5 March 2015


Will worldwide political and economic trends affect student mobility patterns?

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. 

This article is open access


2 March 2015

Who are international students?
Thinking about student diversity beyond "international"

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?

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16 February 2015

What does UCL’s closure in Adelaide tell us about branch campuses?

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





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