Category: International student recruitment

Top tips on how to recruit fully funded students

“If you know of organisations in your market that fund students then get in touch with them, but make sure you have something to offer”

Students who are fully funded by external organisations such as governments agencies or private companies are the gold dust that every international officer or student recruiter is looking for.

Funding overseas study is expensive; there is no question about it. Between tuition fees and living costs to study in the UK alone, the costs can vary between anything from £20,000 to £35,000 or more. Here are some tips on how to find that gold dust for your institution.
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The big IP question: How well do students understand intellectual property?

“Without IP knowledge, it is likely that interns and graduates will miss opportunities to protect valuable ideas”

University students are constantly encouraged to be creative and to come up with new and innovative ideas, but are they being taught the value of their ideas and how to protect them?

Intellectual property (IP) knowledge is important not only for law students learning how to inform others about the value and management of IP but for individuals studying business, engineering and technology.
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How San Mateo CCD Rewrote Its International Education Playbook

“We set out to change that one country as a time and we did just that”

Back in 2012, when we initiated our International Education Program, we quickly realised that those “tried and true efforts” such as fairs, online advertising, joint degrees, satellite campus programs, brochures and web pages, and direct meetings with foreign students were simply not effective.

As a result, we decided to develop our own systematic approach, and in short order, the number of international students went from 80+ to 1,500 today, an increase of over 1,700%. The rate of growth is holding, as we see yearly double digits in growth. In a few short years; we leapt from the bottom and joined the top 30 community colleges in the nation, according to IIE International –a respected source in the world of international education. In 2017, our international students brought in over $40 million to our local economy.
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Brexit and the Strengthening of US Partnerships

“US institutions will do well to pay close attention to the final negotiations of Brexit in early 2019”

The much anticipated  September report of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has largely confirmed everyone’s expectations: yes, foreign students are an unalloyed benefit to the UK, but, no, not all obstacles will be removed to promote their arrival.

It’s a bit of a contradiction, but one that might be explained by the committee being appointed and answerable to the Home Office. With its eyes on the Brexit horizon, the committee admits it sees “no strong arguments for discriminating in favor of EU Students.”
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Finland: A view on one of the best university systems in the world

“Despite being a small nation, Finnish universities keep topping the world polls. So, what is it that they get so right?”

Finland is well-known for thinking outside the box in education, and its universities are no exception. The region’s focus on innovation appears to yield results, with Finnish universities recently ranked as the highest performing in the world. So, what exactly is it that they do so well? In my opinion, this can be roughly broken down into three broad categories.

  1. Strong support for quality teaching

Teaching is a respected profession in Finland, one that is extremely competitive to break into. Typically, fewer than 10% of applicants are accepted into the teacher training programme, five-year Master’s degree programmes are compulsory, and subject teachers are expected to carry out advanced academic studies in their field.

Finland’s teachers and lecturers are given great flexibility and freedom in their teaching styles too.

Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) embraces state-of-the-art teaching methods, for example, but teachers have autonomy for deciding how they are incorporated.  Mika Pulkkinen, an educational technology designer at LUT, says: “We offer a number of complex courses so we’re always looking for ways to help students cement their knowledge. We don’t want to insist on any single method of teaching, but we do make sure staff feel confident to use technology if they want to.”
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UK universities can be much more innovative in marketing in India

“UK universities need to be more innovative, less conservative and worry less about the Post Study Work visa”

Indian student numbers to the UK have fallen substantially in the last few years because of tighter visa controls. India was left out of an expanded list in June this year relaxing Tier 4 visa rules. But this is the new normal now. British universities need not use these excuses to justify low recruitment in India but do need to become more innovative in how they recruit.

The Foreign Providers Bill was long seen as a panacea for UK universities to enter the Indian market. In 2015, India’s National Knowledge Commission in 2005 recommended the establishment of Independent Regulatory Authority for Higher Education (IRAHE), replacing the higher and technical education regulators. The Higher Education and Research (HER) Bill 2011 sought to do the same, additionally seeking to grant greater autonomy to well-performing institutions.

In June 2017, the current government announced its intention to replace both the higher and technical education regulators with the Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency (HEERA) instead. A month later, reports suggested the plans were on hold. Sometime thereafter, they were back on track. Then, formally earlier this year, the plans were finally superseded with a version more acceptable to the sector.

There is a very simple reason for this policy vacillation. The education portfolio in the Indian government is not as prestigious as many others. Governments don’t like spending political capital on reforming this sector when far greater political dividends can be achieved elsewhere.

In the Joint UK-India Trade Review earlier this year, the UK government identified several barriers to entry for increased UK-India education trade, including restrictions on repatriation of investment profits, lack of mutual recognition of one-year UK Masters programmes, twinning programmes not being recognised and foreign universities not being allowed to set up.

These are all fair points to make, but there is little prospect of changes happening in India any time soon. Instead, UK universities would be better served by being more pragmatic.

“It sounds simple, but UK universities should focus more on what Indian students want to buy, not what the UK wants to sell”

First, provide guaranteed placements or internships to Indian students. Indian parents and students care far more about ROI than Chinese students and are less likely to be worried about a poor TEF rating if the course guarantees an internship, however short. I have had multiple cold calls from London-based universities asking me to take on international interns. Leaving aside the GDPR implications, I’ve been surprised at how poorly those organisations have understood the CV they are pitching to me. Some universities outside the Russell Group, are slowly beginning to realise the power of this marketing.

Second, reduce dependence on agents. This model of recruitment in India (indeed, elsewhere too) focuses on what a university wants to sell, not what the student / their parents want to buy. Agent models of selling work better for the top-rated universities, not the second tier. Online avenues of marketing like Shiksha.com have far better reach and are significantly more cost-effective.

Third, understand the Indian psyche better. UK institutions are not always on point when it comes to understanding the thought process of Indian students. A prospective European student may see a marketing message about a variety of on-campus clubs, societies and extra-curricular activities, and think that represents the opportunity to develop as a person. An Indian student may see the same marketing message and think about how much extra money this will all cost.

Fourth, focus on Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Yes, they might not have a nice Sheraton or Taj, but there are plenty of rich parents there, who want to send through children abroad. British universities are – amongst its global competitors – the most conservative when it comes to targeting these smaller cities.

Fifth, understand the power of PR and networks in India. I recently arranged a guest lecture for a visiting academic at a TEF Gold institution at short notice, at a leading college in Bangalore, at the request of their India office lead. The students had great feedback and the college Principal thought it was a wonderful collaboration opportunity. Subsequently, at least a dozen leading academics from the UK university have visited different cities in India, and no guest lectures have been arranged.

“These were missed opportunities to reach out to the right kind of enthusiastic student, without having to pay for stalls at student fairs or commission to agents”

Supplement this with more marketing through WhatsApp groups and a concerted PR campaign means that the universities can reach an audience that goes much beyond just a student fair.

According to Rohit Ramesh, Head of International Recruitment at Liverpool University, they were one of the first universities to successful try the PR route in India, paying significant dividends in terms of recruitment. Dr Sonal Minocha, Pro Vice Chancellor at Bournemouth University, has led an annual Festival of Learning in India and other countries, that enable UK students to experience India, and establish an innovative way of marketing the university in-country.

There is plenty of scope for UK universities to expand in India. To do this, UK universities need to be more innovative, less conservative and worry less about the Post Study Work visa.

About the author: Pratik Dattani is Managing Director of EPG Economic and Strategy Consulting, and has worked with educational institutions around the world on establishing innovative models of partnerships.

The Netherlands, identity & the internationalisation of education

“In contrast to what some parties maintain, internationalisation poses no threat to our Dutch identity”

 

Director-general of Nuffic Freddy Weima believes that the internationalisation of education is not a threat to identity. On the contrary, he writes, it strengthens the position of the Netherlands in the world.

International students predominate‘, ‘Stop this English madness‘, ‘Universities aim to reduce international student numbers‘ – the past few months have seen a headline bonanza. The public debate has focused on the problems supposedly caused by the internationalisation of higher education, such as a lack of student accommodation and the imminent demise of the Dutch language.
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How to win international students with a mobile-first approach

“Mobile content and understanding how international students communicate is key to attracting top applicants”

Global student mobility has never been higher: there are now almost five million international students around the world at various stages of their studies.

However, despite an increase in student numbers between 1995 and 2010, growth has slowed and there is huge competition between schools, colleges and universities. Students can now pick from an ever-expanding number of establishments around the world, as well as highly respected courses online.

As applicants use technology to do everything from researching schools right through to completing their applications, it is crucial that establishments provide a high-quality digital experience, which reflects the content and experiences that students engage with daily.
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How educational institutions can capitalise on the rise in Chinese students

“Gain a deeper understanding of the decision-making process Chinese international students and their parents go through”

With over 500,000 Chinese students heading overseas for their education every year, China remains the top country of origin for international students worldwide. This number is expected to grow proportionately to the number of China’s upper-middle-class and affluent households, which is estimated to reach 100 million by 2020.

While the US, UK and Australia remain the most popular study destinations for Chinese students, we are starting to see new trends and preferences emerging. For instance, there has been an increase in Chinese international students going to non-English speaking countries and studying at 2nd and 3rd tier universities in English-speaking countries.
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Evidencing Success for International Students in Higher Education

“It’s one thing to see growth in your international student numbers, but unless you can see them through to graduation, can that be merited as success? “

“Much discussion is had over international student recruitment numbers at conferences and in the media,” says Market Development director for NCUK Georgina Jones. However, she adds, if you try and look into how international students perform at university there seems to be very little information out there.

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) provides details for high school performance but as far as we have seen, there is nothing for higher education performance.
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