Category: USA

U.S. is Losing an Opportunity for Economic Growth

International students studying in the US become powerful contributors to the economy…impacting foreign relations in ways that can lead to global growth. 

It is easy to view the value of international students in terms of economic impact says Gretchen M. Bataille, senior consultant at Navitas USA. But, as she explains, international students contribute much more than tuition fees, and unfortunately, the US seems to be missing the memo. 

Education is not often considered an export. However, contrary to images of barges laden with goods, the United States’ most valuable exports are services, including education. In July 2017, services accounted for over one-third of total exports at $65.8 billion.

International students studying in the US become powerful contributors to the economy and contribute new ideas, lifestyles, values, and experiences to their home countries, transforming their local economies and impacting foreign relations in ways that can lead to global growth.

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How will academics be affected by the recent UK/US electronics ban?

“Remember that if needed you can rent or borrow equipment when you reach your destination”

Rowan Burnett, supplier relationship executive at Diversity Travel, a travel management company that specialises in travel in the not-for-profit and academic sector, provides advice for travellers following travel restrictions announced this week.

This week, both the UK and US governments announced a cabin ban on certain electronic devices on inbound flights from countries across the Middle East and North Africa, with immediate effect.

The ability of academics to travel internationally is crucial for academic institutions around the world. A fantastic opportunity from a commercial perspective, as a means of expansion, collaboration, and partnering with a global network of peers, travel allows academics to develop a truly global mindset, improving the breadth and quality of their course material, and bringing huge benefits to students.
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How Trump’s immigration ban may lead to uniting America and the world

“The United States’ image was compromised by the executive order, but there’s another side to this story: fortunately, the public outcry was immediate and widespread”

Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration was damaging and divisive. But the US is refusing to be divided, argues Jill Welch, deputy executive director, public policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

When President Donald Trump signed his executive order on immigration in his first week of office, US and international citizens alike were alarmed to see a country that has prided itself on being a nation of immigrants, suddenly turn its back on those fleeing violence and shut its doors on those seeking opportunity with the mere stroke of a pen. This does not represent the America that we aspire to be.
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Jill Welch is NAFSA’s deputy executive director for public policy. She has been engaged in working with Congress and the Executive Branch on international education issues for more than a decade, and she leads a team of talented staff in promoting international education as central to constructive US global engagement and to peace, security, and well-being in the United States and the world.

Comparing the US and UK: contrasting trends in international education

“The biggest challenge for British universities is that its top two source countries — China and India — are not driving enrollment growth”

International student enrolments in the UK have flatlined, with Indian students continuing their downward slide, according to the latest statistics published by the Higher Education Statistics Authority last week. But how does the picture compare in the US?  Dr. Rahul Choudaha, co-founder of research and consulting firm DrEducation, shares his analysis.

The following table shows the shape of international student trends in the UK and US in recent years, based on data from HESA and IIE’s Open Doors report:

US IIE and UK HESA data on international student statistics - Dr Education
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Dr. Rahul Choudaha is co-founder of DrEducation — a US-based research and consulting firm specialising in international student mobility trends and enrolment strategies.

Treat the Trump phenomenon like a study abroad experience

“We’re international educators, mostly drawn to the field to advance the notion of embracing the ‘other’. In this case, the ‘other’ happens to be a guy with ideas very foreign to our own”

There are many in international education who aren’t delighted at the prospect of Donald Trump becoming president, but the field is all about embracing the ‘other’ – so perhaps we should apply the same approach, argues Cheryl DarrupBoychuck, US director of institutional relations at INTCAS .

Aah, democracy.

Those pendulum swings can be painful but powerful pushes to new perspectives.
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After Trump’s win, there is no use in feeling sorry for ourselves

“The way we can truly make America great again is by thoughtfully addressing this situation, not acting like the sky is falling”

Eddie West, director of international programs at UC Berkeley Extension and former director of international initiatives at NACAC, shares his thoughts on Donald Trump’s shock win in the US presidential election this week.

I am deeply disappointed by the results. But there’s little use in feeling sorry for ourselves. Instead we have to learn from the outcome. Here’s what I think I’ve learned… And I hope you will indulge me.
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Why we should be building bridges, not walls

“Whatever the outcome of the election, each of us owes it to future generations to embrace a sense of curiosity and acceptance of the world”

With the presidential election looming, IES Abroad president and CEO Mary Dwyer writes on the imperative of reaching out beyond US borders, whatever the outcome.

In just four days, Americans will head to the ballot box to choose our next president. The election outcome will have a significant impact on whether our country will continue to be constructively engaged in global matters related to trade, taxation, climate change, immigration, security and cultural exchange, or whether we will embark on a path toward isolationism, populism and nationalism.
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Mary M. Dwyer, Ph.D. is President and CEO of IES Abroad. Since 1950, IES Abroad has educated more than 110,000 students to become global leaders through study abroad and internship programs. Its consortium of 240+ U.S. colleges and universities offers worldwide experiential learning opportunities.

What does the US election mean for international education?

“It is a very frightening time to be an American”

I was at this year’s annual NAFSA conference in Denver, where I spoke to people from all around the world about a wealth of topics, both industry-related and not. But sooner or later, every conversation seemed to end up at one of two destinations: Brexit or the upcoming US presidential election. And sooner or later, everyone had to answer the same questions: Do you think Donald Trump might actually win? What do people make of him in other countries? What might happen if Hillary Clinton becomes president? What would either mean for international education?

Here are some of the things people had to say about how the election outcome might impact the sector, and how the campaigns so far have been heard around the world:

Beckie Smith is senior reporter at The PIE News and manages The PIE Blog. To get in touch, email beckie[@]

President Obama dazzles India to strengthen US-India ties

 “If the US is to continue to innovate, develop and flourish, it needs to not only recruit the brightest and best, but also the bold and the brave”

Adrian Mutton, Founder & CEO of Sannam S4, a company providing market entry and ongoing support services to international universities and skills providers in India, Brazil and China, writes about the recent US India CEO Forum and Business Summit that demonstrated an unprecedented willingness for collaboration in HE.

Adrian-Mutton_wwwWhen new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the US in September 2014, he received a rock star welcome. He was greeted by a full house of adoring fans at Madison Square Gardens in New York and President Barack Obama gave the Indian Prime Minister two days of his time to talk about building better US-India ties and to personally show him around Washington, DC.

To return the compliment, President Obama was invited as chief guest to India’s Republic Day celebrations on January 26th.

Arriving into New Delhi on Air Force One, as the President stepped off his plane onto the tarmac, he was greeted by Narendra Modi with a bear hug.

“The gesture, broadcast around the world, was a clear affirmation that the two leaders have developed a special personal relationship in a very short space of time”

The gesture, broadcast around the world, was a clear affirmation that the two leaders have developed a special personal relationship in a very short space of time. During the two day visit by President Obama, a nation of 1.3 billion people was gripped with the coverage of his every move, suggesting India’s population has also taken to the US President.

The key agenda points tabled for discussion included nuclear collaboration, climate change, increasing trade flows, visas and IPR protection. Leading up to the visit, a number of HE and skills related topics had also been promoted to both the White House and India’s Ministry for External Affairs (MEA) for discussion.

I was fortunate to have been invited to not only participate in the high level US-India talks at a summit held in New Delhi, hosted by both President Obama and Prime Minister Modi, but I was also delighted to have been asked to provide direct input into President Obama’s briefing. Inputs which were included in his final discussion points with Prime Minister Modi and senior US and Indian business leaders and officials, I later learnt.

My inputs were focused on explaining the type of support US universities, skills providers and mid market companies needed to succeed in India. I highlighted the need for a strong platform which dealt with the red tape, bureaucracy, compliance and tax issues faced by organisations when entering India. I highlighted challenges in recruiting good staff, establishing offices and knowing who to collaborate with locally and how to build sustainable partnerships – and, of course, raised the issue of the many “grey areas” around dual programs, tax on local activities and the now rather stale issues surrounding the foreign education providers bill.

“I highlighted the need for a strong platform which dealt with the red tape, bureaucracy, compliance and tax issues faced by organisations when entering India”

Drawing on case studies of institutions we proudly support at Sannam S4 in India, including the University of Bridgeport, University of South Florida, DeVry and MIT to name a few, I set out the vast opportunities these institutions faced and then detailed the specific challenges that hindered their progress.

Presenting Sannam S4’s LaunchPad model as an example, I explained how a strong local supportive environment can help US universities and skills providers flourish.

The US has made good strides of late with its visa policy and the processing of student applications. Unlike some other countries (no names needed!) recruiting Indian students, the PR surrounding studying in the US is positive and as a result its number of applicants is on the rise. The US recognises that Silicon Valley has been built on the brains of Indian students, the engineers across the US are from towns and villages across the subcontinent and that if the US is to continue to innovate, develop and flourish… and own the intellectual property and the rewards that go with it, it needs to not only recruit the brightest and best, but also the bold and the brave.

The US is not just seeking Indian students to become lawyers and bankers, accountants and actuaries, it is seeking to attract entrepreneurs, innovators and risk takers. This is a clear distinction between the US approach to student recruitment and policies adopted by election sound byte focused politicians from other countries.

“The US recognises that Silicon Valley has been built on the brains of Indian students”

The US has recognised that it is also not just student recruitment that is important to help foster long term ties between the two countries. The US India Educational Foundation (USIEF) in New Delhi, for example, led by its impressive and long term Executive President Adam Grotsky, who has decades of experience in India and a deep understanding of the culture and what makes for strong and sustainable ties between the US and India, is doing a sterling job on educational exchanges of scholars, professionals and students. USIEF has awarded approximately 17,000 Fulbright, Fulbright-Nehru, and other prestigious grants and scholarships in almost every academic discipline to promote long term bilateral ties.

The US administration has been working hard on supporting skills development programmes in India with its community colleges and is leveraging the funds available from the Indian government’s corporate CSR ruling to contribute towards new regional training initiatives.

The increasingly influential US India Business Council ( has a dedicated education and skills group which is fostering bilateral institutional relationships, particularly those with a commercial interest. With its incoming President Dr. Mukesh Aghi having a particular passion for educational ties between the two countries, I expect to see the USIBC’s focus in this area strengthen.

So after all the razzmatazz of President Obama’s visit, what was achieved on the higher education and skills development front?

Frankly, despite the excitement, the visit was unfortunately short of news grabbing headlines for the sector.

“Despite the excitement, the visit was unfortunately short of news grabbing headlines for the sector”

An exception was confirmation by President Obama that the US is to send 1,000 academics a year to India, something which had been discussed during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the States last year and is not an insignificant initiative.

The central government sponsored Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN)
aims to give Indian students and academics access to 1,000 US faculty per year, to broaden their horizons, exchange ideas and teaching methods and foster new research collaboration and partnerships.

There was no shock announcement regarding the Higher Education Provider Bill (despite some advanced lobbying during Secretary John Kerry’s visit to India earlier in the month), so no foreign owned campuses for now. There was no public discussion regarding India’s powerful University Grants Commission (UGC) and how it governs international partnerships, so nobody in the sector missed anything by not being tuned into the visit.

What was clear, however, was that the visit encouraged an unprecedented willingness for collaboration between the two administrations. A number of key initiatives have been tabled, several of which are taken from Sannam S4’s own contributions, which will now be pursued and monitored over the weeks and months ahead, so despite the lack of headlines, I am positive about what this visit will achieve mid to longer term.

“The visit encouraged an unprecedented willingness for collaboration between the two administrations”

The future of US-India ties for universities and skills providers has strong support from the highest level of both governments. It has the enthusiasm of Indian students, scholars and business leaders and a focus from the Indian administration on addressing red tape and the complexities of operating in the market. Institutions in the US will have no doubt seen the coverage of the visit at home, reminding them of India’s vast potential.

A touch of realism and pragmatism is still needed of course, but I came away from the visit, truly believing that the stage has been set for a new era of US-India collaboration. For many India has been a frustrating market (particularly when compared to China), fraught with the challenges I have highlighted above. However, I expect to see many exciting opportunities develop over the months and years ahead, which, if well supported in India, will bear rich fruits. The bold and the brave, both institutions and students, will likely be rewarded.

There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ international strategy

“You can’t assume that your domestic marketing strategy can be applied internationally with the same level of success”

Dan Sommer, Education Marketing Expert and President of Global Education, Zeta Interactive, considers some of the challenges university officials must consider when building effective regional strategies.

Over the past 12 months, universities have experienced declining enrolment numbers for a variety of reasons: demographic shifts; an improving economy; increasing competition from both for-profit institutions and more traditional schools; and the influx of disruptive technologies and learning platforms. University officials are now tasked with looking at creative ways to counterbalance declining domestic enrolment numbers.

In the past, university leaders have been forced to consider things like adjusting discount rates or modifying quality standards to meet financial objectives when tackling declining domestic enrolment. Now, however, increasing international recruitment is a meaningful alternative to consider and one that we see as a top five priority for most university leadership teams.

Going international represents an opportunity for institutions to maintain tuition while counterbalancing declining numbers, but it presents an array of challenges to marketing and admissions teams. You can’t assume that your domestic marketing strategy can be applied internationally with the same level of success.

There Is No Such Thing As A ‘One Size Fits All’ International Strategy

When expanding to international markets, it is important to understand the regional differences that might impact your success. Developing an awareness of how your brand will fit in different regions is key. Further, some regions are more price conscious then others and may require differential pricing or scholarship options to overcome financial barriers. Thus, as you develop an international strategy, the first step is to dive deep into the educational landscape of the country you are entering.

“As you develop an international strategy, the first step is to dive deep into the educational landscape of the country you are entering”

Finding the Right Product Market Fit

A number of factors should be considered when launching particular programmes. For example, there are regions that have truly embraced online programmes (the UK), while others take a more mixed position (Canada). Yet others do not currently recognise or support online learning (certain regions in Asia). In developing your strategy, understanding both consumer and government acceptance of online learning is key. Based upon what you uncover, you might consider a strategy that focuses on a hybrid model with some classroom learning and some online, or a or periodic campus immersion experience with the majority of learning online, with limited face to face campus time. I have seen the latter be highly effective for South American recruitment.

Institutions should also consider whether additional contact hours or local student support is needed to enhance the learning experience. If your programmes are taught in English and you are in regions where English is secondary, you may need to deploy additional tutors to offset the potential learning gap.

“It’s important to consider whether your programmes are fully relevant to local conditions and economies”

Finally, it’s important to consider whether your programmes are fully relevant to local conditions and economies. While the MBA is currently the most popular programme internationally, each region may have preferences regarding specialisations (e.g. entrepreneurship vs. Islamic Finance). It is dangerous to assume that the programme that works so well in the US will work equally as well in every region.

Selecting The Right Marketing And Recruitment Partners

In an ideal scenario, it would be possible to generate all of your international inquiries within your marketing department or with your existing partners. The reality is there are many nuances to local student recruitment. For example, if you plan to recruit students in Russia and CIS, selecting a partner with Yandex experience is key. If you are utilising email marketing services, does your partner understand local privacy regulations? There are thousands of new media outlets to consider, from local, SEO-driven education directories to highly targeted regional publications that the right partners can introduce into your marketing mix.

Further down the ‘funnel’ are call centre partnerships (locally and with regional expertise) that can play an important role in qualifying traffic. US institutions often attempt to call new web leads within 120 seconds, but this may not play well in some regions. Language and tempo may also need to be altered on a regional basis and can be the difference between success and failure in new markets.

The Devil is In the Details

Last, but certainly not least, is the question of whether your institution has the operational infrastructure to qualify and enrol international students. Often, institutions create separate units to manage lead flow and applications from international students. Developing the infrastructure that will allow for the proper vetting of candidates (e.g. understanding whether local credentials meet admissions standards, language qualification, and even consideration of prerequisites) can be highly complex.

In addition, local currencies and exchange rates could present a number of challenges for your finance team. Many institutions consider outsourcing aspects of the enrolment process, which can help to reduce some of the complexities.

Dan Sommer is an education marketing expert. He is the President of Global Education at Zeta Interactive,  a leading digital marketing company that helps global brands to acquire, engage and retain customers. Dan has helped dozens of universities to innovate and achieve success through innovative marketing acquisition, retention, engagement and partnership programs.