Cross-Sector Survey on U.S. International Education

December 8, 2023
  • International
  • Research
Individual walking towards an education building with luggage.

In a connected world, international education is critical in preparing students for careers, fostering understanding and collaboration across cultures, and driving economic growth. The United States, despite being a leading destination for international students, lacks a coordinated national strategy for international education. The cross-sector survey aims to identify the collective priorities of higher education leaders and stakeholders in shaping a national strategy that optimizes international student exchange, sets benchmarks for colleges and universities, and fosters campus internationalization.


The United States boasts a vibrant and diverse international student population, attracting students from around the globe. However, its approach to international education remains fragmented, with federal agencies, state governments, institutions, and private organizations working independently. This contrasts with other study destinations like the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, which have implemented comprehensive national strategies with clear goals and targets. These strategies typically address:

  • International student enrollment: Setting ambitious targets for attracting and retaining international students.
  • Quality and diversity of education offerings: Ensuring high-quality programs and resources that cater to the needs of international students.
  • Partnerships and collaborations: Fostering international partnerships and collaboration between institutions and countries.
  • Intercultural competencies: Cultivating intercultural understanding and global awareness among students and educators.

Such strategies are often overseen by dedicated agencies, like the British Council or Universities Australia, ensuring consistent implementation and policy alignment.

Defining a National Strategy

A national strategy for international education can be defined as a coordinated plan that outlines the country's aspirations and initiatives for enhanced global higher education engagement. It focuses on optimizing participation and diversity in student exchanges, setting benchmarks for institutions, promoting campus internationalization, facilitating overseas partnerships, and attracting international students through targeted initiatives.

Purpose and Scope of the Survey

This survey aims to identify collective strategic priorities for international education in the U.S. among higher education leaders and stakeholders. It explores their perspectives on:

  • Size and composition of the international student body: Preferred number of international students and desired diversity within the student population.
  • Access and affordability issues: Identifying barriers and potential solutions to ensure access to quality education for all international students.
  • Cooperative efforts: Interest in collaborative initiatives and preferred models for collaboration between institutions, organizations, and government agencies.
  • Role expectations in national strategy development: Defining the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders in crafting and implementing a national strategy.

Target Audience

This survey targets leaders in higher education who play a vital role in shaping the future of international education in the U.S. This includes:

  • University presidents, provosts, deans, vice presidents, and trustees.
  • Directors and senior international officers.
  • Senior executives within stakeholder organizations and private companies actively engaged in international education.

By capturing the insights of these individuals, the survey aims to generate a comprehensive and actionable roadmap for a national strategy that positions the U.S. as a leader in global higher education.

Instructions and Participation

This survey includes questions directed towards individual institutions/organizations and others addressing the national landscape. Please take your time to review each question carefully and provide your valuable insights. Your participation will be instrumental in shaping the future of international education in the United States.

Sharing of Results

The survey results will be shared with the public in February 2024, providing a comprehensive analysis of shared priorities and perspectives of higher education leaders. This data will serve as a critical foundation for developing a national strategy that reflects the collective vision of the U.S. higher education community.

We encourage your participation in this important initiative. Your voice matters.


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