Document Details

Title About a third of international undergraduates in the US drop out? Searching for ROI data in a booming market
Author Richard Garrett - Director, OBHE


In the US, international student numbers continue to expand. The latest Open Doors data from the Institute for International Education reported almost 900,000 international students in US higher education in 2013/14, up 8% on the prior year. International undergraduates have grown by 70% over the past decade, with graduate numbers up over 25%. One reason US universities are welcoming more international students is pressure on the domestic market- enrollments are down (a mix of demographics and a sustained weak economy), state funding is still recovering from the Great Recession and institutions face criticism over high tuition, student debt, graduation rates and graduate ROI. The Obama Administration is working on a “college rating” scheme- tracking tuition, graduation rates and the like- to help consumers select an institution, and potentially to help the government allocate funds.

But what about international students? Only domestic students benefit from federal or state grants and loans, and it is public expenditure that drives the conversation on accountability. Yet international students typically pay over the odds for a US education and subsidize US students. US higher education still enjoys unparalleled brand equity, but how long before international students become more vocal about value for money? For prospective international students, what ROI information is currently available?

Date 29/01/2015
Region(s) North America, All Regions
Countries United States, International
Theme(s) Transnational Education (TNE) Models

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