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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

Gender, education and work - The weaker sex, The Economist, 7 March 2015

Distance Ed Myths Debunked, Inside Higher Ed, 5 March 2015

Myanmar Cracks Down on Education Protest at Yangon Pagoda, ABC News (USA), 5 March 2015

Angry students protest against university reforms, University World News, 5 March 2015

Scam of verification of fake degrees of bureaucrats by HEC unearthed, Online International News Network (Pakistan), 5 March 2015

‘An alternative global ranking is my priority’, Hindustan Times, 4 March 2015

How Elite Universities Are Hurting America, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2015

More degree programmes in niche areas at private schools, The Straits Times (Singapore), 4 March 2015

Education Minister: Belarus is determined to join Bologna Process, Belarusian News, 4 March 2015

What are Malaysian universities for? – PenDaPaT, The Malaysian Insider, 4 March 2015

Nigerian University Feeding 270,000 of 1.6 Million Boko Haram Refugees, Breitbart, 4 March 2015

Demand-driven system works best for those who matter most, Australian, 4 March 2015





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Forthcoming Events


10 March 2015:  Westminster Higher Education Forum Keynote Seminar - Next steps for transnational education: growing UK HE provision in the global market, London, UK

11 March 2015:  UK Higher Education International Unit and British Council's HE Global Workshops - 1. The Real Balanced Budget: the costs and income of TNE before, during and after and 2. Technology: TNE’s silent partner? (supported by Jisc), London, UK

18 March 2015:  Rockefeller Institute of Government's Book Talk and Panel Discussion - The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere, New York, NY, USA

19 March 2015:  46th ACA European Policy Seminar - Harnessing the power of alumni - a European perspective, Brussels, BELGIUM

19 March 2015:  Universities UK's International Higher Education Forum 2015: Gaining the competitive edge for your international strategy, London, UK

19-20 March 2015:  7th Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Conference 'The Expanding Landscape of COIL Practitioners, Networks, and Hubs: What’s Next?', New York City, USA

23-26 March 2015: APAIE Conference & Exhibition 2015, Beijing, CHINA

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

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

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

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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