What we know: On a macro level, stalwart student recruitment sources are in flux with China declining a lot and India rising a lot. Other source countries are similarly difficult to predict as the repercussions of the pandemic and other global factors continue to play out.
Statistically speaking, US institutions hosted 8.4% fewer international students this past fall compared to fall 2020 (and that year wasn’t so hot either). Public 4-year institutions saw the largest decline (17.2.%). This is all per the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
While macro stats offer perspective, they are not what drive recruitment strategy. Your goals and differentiators drive strategic enrollment decisions.
On the topic of high-level institutional internationalization: We will be in San Diego presenting at the AGB conference in April. Honored to join Brad Farnsworth from Fox Hollow Advisory (former ACE VP) and Dr. Gretchen Bataille from GMB Consulting (former president of the U of North Texas among other amazing higher ed roles). We will be talking all about insights university presidents and trustees need to guide internationalization efforts. Reach outif you'll be there.
And in less than 2 weeks we will be in DC for the AIEA Conference presenting alongside Karin Fischer from Chronicle of Higher Ed and Dr. Ahmad
Ezzeddine from Wayne State University. If you will be in DC for the event, we are talking about how trend data informs international student recruitment planning on Monday, Feb. 20. Hope to see you there. (Email us if you'd like to find coffee together).
Recruitment strategy derives from the number of students you need to meet enrollment targets tied to what your institution excels at (your market differentiators) - that, along with an evaluation of where in the world (domestically and internationally) market opportunities exist. Our blog post on new market entrycontinues to be a popular one.
Most institutions across the country still believe that international markets work to their advantage. The latest “Mapping Internationalization on US Campuses” report by the American Council on Education (ACE) concurs. 66% of its survey’s 900+ responding institutions anticipate their overall level of internationalization will increase in the coming years. (Our recent blog post on the ACE report provides more perspective).
With traditional source countries in flux (China, India, Vietnam, South Korea, Brazil), we have been pointing to opportunities in developing markets (Africa part 1, part 2) and Latin America (part 1, part 2). Today we offer insights on the Middle East.
The value of reaching a broader swath of prospects gets to the very heart of why most institutions say they are for internationalization in the first place:
- To improve student preparedness for a global era
- To diversity students, faculty, and staff
- To become more attractive to prospective students
- To generate revenue
In evaluating new markets, we look to countries with rising incomes, a growing youth population, and real employment opportunities for returning graduates. The Middle East is a region with a rising youth population, plentiful job opportunities, and only a handful of competitive higher education institutions.
Many students in this region are looking to study abroad due to changes in political climate or the fact that many of their local universities are newer or understaffed. Though let’s not discount the entire system. Two Saudi universities are ranked in the top 200 of global 2023 QS World University Rankings: #106 King Abdulaziz University In Jeddah and #160 King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals in Dhahran.
In this week’s post we offer you insights on student market opportunities in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, and Jordan.