The U.S. Perspective:
Education Policy on International Education and Mobility, Credential Evaluation, and Global Recognition
Worldwide, the pool of internationally mobile students expanded rapidly. In 2001, there were just over two million internationally mobile students. In 2017, that number grew to nearly five million. In academic year 2017-18, the U.S. welcomed more than one million international students. It was the third year in a row that more than one million students have come to this country. This constituted a 1.5% increase of inbound international student mobility. Over the past two years, however, the U.S. has seen a slight decline in new student enrollments. This is concerning. The decision-making process for students is complicated. And the market is becoming crowded with very attractive offers for students. There are many new players in the higher education space which is leading to increased competition for internationally mobile students.
- The United States' market share decreased from 28% to 24%.
- China has a 10% market share.
- Australia's market share grew from 4% to 7%.
- Russia has emerged with a 6% market share.
- Canada has a 7% market share.
It is into this complex marketplace that the GCR enters. Countries that offer competition to the US are aligning their practices to the convention, which may in the short term not have much impact, but in the long term could pose a threat ifthe US remains an outlier in the global higher education marketplace.
While the United States is still the top receiver of international students by a wide margin and it has a strong brand, U.S. higher education has to work harder to promote the sector to international students, particularly given the chilling impact on mobility of the global pandemic. Strengths of the sector include:
- Diversity. The U.S. has approximately 4,700 accredited colleges and universities.
- Autonomy. Since the system is decentralized, institutions have freedom to develop their own policies around international student recruitment and enrollment.
- System capacity. There is a lot of room to grow international student enrollment numbers across the country. The average international student enrollment rate at U.S. institutions is 5.5%. In other countries, the saturation rate is much higher. Based on 2017 data, around 70% of the one million international students coming to the United States attend only 200 U.S. colleges or universities.
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