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Recruiting Intelligence

LATAM Recruiting Series: Insights on Mexico

Our 2021 Latin America international student recruiting series has offered insight into the opportunities in Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador. Now: Mexico.

Mexican student enrollment in US institutions grew significantly over the last 4 decades. A rising middle class has driven this desire and ability to afford education abroad. In 2020 the number studying in the US stood at roughly 14,350. That figure represents about 50% of all Mexican outbound student mobility.

Not so long ago, during the 2016 US presidential election (remember that?), our market research found that a whopping 80% of Mexican students in our survey told us they would be less inclined to study in the US if Trump won the presidency. A stunning number by all counts. However, we noted at the time that we believed this was an expression of distaste, and that 80% of students would not actually act on these feelings. 

Our science and art of market research proved accurate. A drop in US student enrollment from Mexico did follow the Trump presidency but nothing as dramatic as 80%. Still, it hurt many institutions and stifled opportunity for many students. We suggested that the real drop would likely be closer to 10% during the Trump presidency and in fact, the number of Mexican students enrolling in US institutions dropped by 8% in 2017 and then another 3% in 2018. These drops occurred despite an education initiative in Mexico during that time that set a goal of encouraging 100,000 Mexican students to seek a foreign education.

During this period there were notable increases in Mexican student mobility to Canada and Germany. However, the numbers were still relatively small in these countries. Read on for deeper marketing insights as you consider your international student recruitment strategy for Mexico. 

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LATAM Recruiting Series: Insights on Ecuador

If you haven’t had an opportunity to read our recent LATAM recruiting series posts, check out Brazil and Colombia. Today in our series, a look at Ecuador. Not the typical place for universities to invest in international student recruiting, but a valuable consideration as you think about diversifying your source countries.

The US and Ecuador maintain consistent and strong economic ties. On July 1, 2021, Ecuador received 1 million COVID-19 vaccines from the US, with another shipment due to arrive three weeks later. With a population of almost 18 million people, Ecuador’s vaccination rate is close to 25% for the first of two COVID-19 doses. 

According to the most recent SEVIS data from March 2021, the US had 3,025 active students from Ecuador. Of these students, 41% are seeking an undergraduate degree. Currently, student visa processing for requests to study in the US are experiencing the same frustrating backlogs and delays as other parts of the world. Getting recruiting processes back to pre-COVID smooth is going to take quite a bit of time.

With that as an introduction, let’s take a look at Ecuador and the top five student influencers for studying in the US.

Read on for our recruiting insights and a handy (and cool) COVID-19 vaccination rate tracking tool from Reuters — you’ll want to check this as you plan your global recruitment travel as funding and travel restrictions permit. 

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LATAM Recruiting Series: Insights on Colombia

Welcome to another installment in our LATAM recruiting series. In part one we shared insights and predictions about Brazilian student mobility. This week, our focus is on Colombia. As you diversify your student sources, Colombia makes for a valuable addition if you are not already active there. COVID creates obstacles for all of our source countries in 2021, but that doesn’t stop us from maintaining important international connections and pursuing the opportunities that endure. 

Let’s get down to business and explore some numbers. According to the SEVIS March 2021 report, Colombia has nearly 10,000 active students in the US, with IIE reporting Colombia 23rd in ranking for sending students to US universities. This same report shows the interest in graduate degrees being the preferred choice with a 34% enrollment rate compared to 25% for a bachelor’s degree and 11% for an associate’s degree.

No surprise, pandemic-fueled personal instability with contributing social and economic turbulence has Colombian students and parents concerned. Taking that into consideration, as well as Colombia having significant income inequality second only to Brazil in Latin America, some Colombian students face seemingly insurmountable challenges when considering tertiary study opportunities.

Overcoming obstacles in this field has so much to do with developing and nurturing the international relationships that turn into pipelines. Consider the conversations your institution already has with prospective students and the channels being used. Faculty connections, alumni connections, agent connections all have value for the intelligence they bring to your planning and the potential for growth. These all play into the digital marketing approach you will deploy to capture greater student awareness and action.

Online Connections Matter

In the latest bulletin (2018) from the Colombian Ministry of Telecommunications, 60% of the Colombian population has Internet access, with more than half of users connecting with mobile phones. Important as you consider your website and landing pages.

Although there is a digital divide leaving countryside dwellers less connected, the larger cities are taking advantage of their 4G services and free wifi hotspots. Facebook and WhatsApp are the most commonly used with We Are Social reporting an increase in social media users in Colombia by 34 million, an 11% increase from April 2019 to January 2020.

Read on for our assessment of opportunities to recruit Colombian students...

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LATAM Recruiting Series: Insights on Brazil

Back in March/April 2020, we talked about the big picture factors that would reduce student enrollment in 2020/2021: job/income loss, restrictive student visa and travel regulations, COVID-19 rates of infection, and limitations on the availability of internships and jobs. Now we need to add to those considerations: vaccination rates. 

Following our publication of enrollment marketing insights about the two largest senders of students to the US (Report Links Available Here: China and India), we find ourselves wanting to know more about LATAM countries and whether there are insights to share with our enrollment colleagues.  

According to SEVIS data, there are more than 23,000 Brazilians studying in the US today. Our friends at WENR predict Brazil will become one of the top five countries worldwide for outbound students seeking degree programs by 2035. A lot can happen between now and then. Nevertheless, we know Brazil will remain an important source of students to academic programs around the world.

Setting the Context

Being proactive in our enrollment marketing initiatives requires data which informs strategy. A few grounding points about overall international student mobility from the past year to put our discussion of Brazil’s opportunities in context:

  • IIE’s widely reported analysis showed a 43% drop in international student enrollment in the US for Fall of 2020. 
  • Not all institutions had the same experience. In general, those that typically do well with enrollment continued to do well.
  • With testing requirements dropped by many institutions, application rates are soaring, though enrollment numbers are struggling. Intention does not equal follow through. 

A Little Motivation

We can emerge from this turbulent and unstable environment with knowledge, insight, and better planning that incorporates recent experience and current data. 

Those who win embrace change! Those who embrace change are incorporating the latest tools to segment audiences and target those prospective students most likely to want what their institution offers.

With that, let’s take a look at Brazil’s opportunities. Read on...

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Recruiting Intel Digest: The Most Useful Stuff from Q2 2021

Ambiguity continues as we head into summer 2021. Will international students obtain visas for this fall in time for August orientation? 

We know the US Embassy in New Delhi and the four Consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata are working it double time to process the same visa volume they had in 2019 but in just 2 months. Go team!

And we know that Chinese student visas are facing a time crunch and additional challenges around the approval rules, especially students admitted to STEM graduate programs. 

While optimism is an important element of any future-focused initiative, facing reality and ensuring your plan can adapt to those realities is more than prudent. It is required. The reality here is that there are significant headwinds that appear insurmountable. Highly unlikely that the enrollment numbers will bear out this fall for many US institutions. Application volume is creating unsupported optimism in this case.

We’ve reported on these topics, collected and interpreted data from multiple sources, and released analyses during this past quarter. From presenting two sessions in partnership with our esteemed academic leaders and global partners at the 2021 NAFSA, to publishing a market research report on the new Indian mindset on US schools, this has been an important quarter for shared insights.

So, grab a cup of coffee and before you finish it, we know you’ll be sharing links from this Q2 2021 wrap up with your enrollment team and colleagues with the power to make positive change for students around the world.

Read on for our quarterly recap of Intead resources available to you — all in one place. Plus, a preview of what’s coming next…

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Is There a New Indian Mindset on U.S. Institutions?

You’ve likely been wondering, and we have too.

We completed our latest market research to answer the question: Are Indian students still interested in pursuing a U.S. education?  The results are compelling and advantageous as you move forward to meet enrollment goals. There is so much ambiguity around student mobility right now; this kind of market research has real value.

Below you'll find the download button to access our latest report on Indian student interests.

With India being such an important market to U.S. academic institutions, Intead and iSchoolConnect conducted a 13-question survey of 19,924 Indian residents that had expressed interest in international education. We had a 3.7% response rate.

This market research about recruiting students from India follows our highly downloaded market research released in March 2021 about recruiting students from China. That report has drawn a lot of attention. If you’ve not already grabbed that one, well...

In this Indian student market report you will value the insights around attitudes towards agents, among other findings. With responses broken down by high school, undergraduate, and graduate cohorts, the report is designed to help you find the information you need, choose recruitment channels, and develop relevant and strong messaging.

Want a sneak peek into our findings (and the download button)? Read on...

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Recruiting Intel Digest: The Most Useful Stuff from Q1 2021

Pro tip: If you read only one of our blog posts every few months, make it this one.

Between application reviews and a little thing called budget season, we know you may not have kept up with the weekly posts and resources that we’ve shared here on the Recruiting Intelligence blog over the past few months. And we can’t blame you!

From hosting webinar events in partnership with The Chronicle of Higher Education, CIEE, and iSchoolConnect, to publishing a market research report on the new Chinese mindset on US schools, we’ve been pretty busy ourselves.

So, we’ve created the Recruiting Intel Digest, a quarterly roundup post of the resources, downloads, and top insights we’ve published in the last three months which you can view, share, and download all in the span of your next coffee break.

All this with our signature focus on helping you produce stronger enrollment results based on trend data and marketing industry insights. You are so very welcome.

Read on for the latest Intead resources available to you — all in one place. Plus, a preview of what’s coming next…

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Chinese Students, We Are Listening

Your Asian student communities are hurting right now.

Nearly 3,800 hate incidents against AAPI individuals were reported from March 19th, 2020 through February 28th, 2021 according to the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center. Nearly a third of Asian Americans report having experienced racial slurs or racist jokes since the beginning of the pandemic, this from a recent Pew Research Center survey. Then the killings in Atlanta last week.

As global leaders responsible for the safety, growth, and development of diverse student populations, what institutions say and do at this moment matters. And hashtags and statements of solidarity are not enough (they never are).

We, as a higher education community, do what we do because we believe in the power of cross-cultural communication and diverse student populations to move the world forward.

As the Intead team, that often means making space for those student populations (and their parents) to speak and be heard. We know how crucial understanding and listening to those thoughts, fears, and needs are to fostering a student-first ethos on your campus. It is this work that allows you to more effectively support all of your student populations, especially those most vulnerable to systems of racism and xenophobia, as well as the disturbing hate and violence that occurs as a result.

In early 2021, with this terrifying climate of rising anti-Asian sentiment in the US and views of the US among global allies reaching its lowest point in nearly two decades of Pew Research polling, we set out to understand how Chinese parents specifically are feeling now about sending their students to American institutions.

In partnership with WholeRen Education, an AIRC-certified agency and a trusted advisor for tens of thousands of Chinese students and families since 2010, we surveyed over 20,000 Chinese parents, the vast majority of whom currently have undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in US institutions, as well as parents of current high school students considering higher education. With a better than 5% response rate, we had more than 1,000 responses to analyze. We then followed up with a focus group to dive a bit deeper into our questions. We conducted all of this work in Chinese.

Some of the findings will likely surprise you. As academic leaders we see the news, we talk to our students, and we hold an entirely justifiable anxiety for our current Chinese students as well as the recruitment path to bring new Chinese students to our campuses.

The information we’ve gathered is incredibly important to your work. But more importantly, it points the way forward for your institution in how to help parents and students feel confident and safe in their decision to study in the US.

Read on to download your free copy of our new market research report, Is There a New Chinese Mindset on US Schools?

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Your Students. Your Programs. In China — Register Today

The course of Chinese student recruitment never did run smooth.  

And in the last year, your institution’s road to recruiting, enrolling, and retaining students from one of the most complex international markets was bumpier than ever. Can we get our visa offices back, please?

Miraculously, despite the setbacks of the pandemic year, Chinese demand for a US education remains. Our upcoming market research with WholeRen Education (surveying 20,000+ Chinese parents) will shed some light on how the US brand identity is enduring and where your institution needs to focus to succeed in today’s Chinese enrollment market. 

Perhaps allow yourself a brief sigh of relief—but it’s not time to rest. (It rarely is).

There’s still work to be done to keep your institution strong in this new, more flexible, post-pandemic reality. And later this month, you’ll hear from those leading the charge (and learn from their successes) at our webinar event: Your Students. Your Programs. In China: Creating US-Style Classrooms for Your Chinese Students. 

Register Now

Your event pre-registration will also pre-register you for a copy of our upcoming Chinese Market research. 

At the event (date coming soon), we'll be interviewing several amazing resources for you about strategy, market insights, and powerful new program options to help your institution shore up both near-term and long-term enrollment in the Chinese market. We'll be talking about how 10 different universities managed their fall 2020 Chinese student enrollment and what they are doing to continue their success in 2021 and beyond.

 Speakers will include:

  • Brad Farnsworth, former Vice President for Global Engagement at the American Council on Education (and a member of the Intead Research Advisory Board)
  • Seamus Harreys, CIEE Vice President for Global Engagement 

More than 2,100 Chinese students studied in US-style classrooms in China during fall 2020 and spring 2021. The CIEE team helped each of them make it happen. Now, many institutions are working toward a longer term vision building a bridge between China and their US campuses. You can learn from their experience.

Read on for a preview of the valuable perspectives to be shared in the webinar.

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Chinese Students Want to Hear from You

You and your team have been navigating the China recruitment challenges for years with some notable successes. Taking those long-haul flights and testing out the student fair operators. Building a reliable agent network despite the risks (thanks, AIRC). Learning WeChat and leveraging an entirely new digital marketing landscape. Developing meaningful global partnerships.

And then the visas and flights stopped.

As if China were not already the most complex marketing challenge for international student recruitment, along came COVID-19.

At this writing, the first F-1 visa appointments at US consulates in China are tentatively available as of August 12, notes WholeRen Education Chief Learning Officer Andrew Chen. Right now, it is unclear why any US institution might believe their Chinese students currently in China will be coming to their US campus this fall. Logistically, it seems entirely unlikely if not impossible.

Fortunately, and somewhat surprisingly, despite all the setbacks, Chinese demand for a US education is strong.

How do we know? Two proof points:

  • Market research we performed with WholeRen Education surveying 20,000+ Chinese parents just last month.
  • 2,000+ Chinese students voting with their feet and attending classes run by Syracuse, Rutgers, Clark, Babson, Penn State, Tulane, and others in US-style classrooms in China run by CIEE.

At the link below, you can pre-register for the release of our latest research for student enrollment professionals interested in succeeding in China based on current conditions and what will follow.

Pre-register Now

Your pre-registration for the latest research will also grant you access to our upcoming webinar interviewing three experts on the Chinese student experience. You’ll hear from one university on how they managed fall 2020 Chinese student enrollment and what the institution is doing to continue their success.

Read on for insights and practical tips to reach the Chinese market in the current climate and beyond.

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