WENR, March 2009: Asia-Pacific
Some Say Overseas Tuition Revenue in Danger of Drying Up
Australian and British universities are in danger of facing a major funding deficit as an increasingly competitive global market in higher education drives down income from international students. Or, at least, this is the opinion of Glyn Davis, vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne, who used a January visit to London to warn of the dangers of both countries continuing to rely on income from international students to fund higher education.
“Competitive pressure makes it all the more important that policymakers in both countries solve the underlying domestic policy problems behind the over-reliance on international student markets,” Professor Davis said.
Speaking at the Menzies Centre at King’s College London, Professor Davis said that both nations had benefited from domestic Asian systems not being able to meet internal demand for higher education, thereby helping to avert “the financial crisis that would have otherwise accompanied declining public funding. But now, as those Asian markets mature and turn into competitors, we must start to think again about how Australian [and British] higher education will be financed in the long term,” he said.
– The Times Higher Education Supplement
January 29, 2009
Indicators for International Enrollments in 2009 Look Positive
Universities in Australia are understandably nervous about the prospect of decreasing enrollments from abroad amid a worsening global economy. However, according to a recent report in The Australian newspaper, there are signs that the industry might ride the downturn relatively unscathed as international students continue to show interest in studying in Australia.
According to figures the newspaper obtained from 20 of Australia’s 39 universities, where the academic year starts in February, 16 reported international-enrollment increases of 10 to 15 percent from the previous year. An unidentified administrator noted that in Asia, where most of Australia’s foreign students come from, education is something for which families are willing to sacrifice. A weakening Australian dollar is helping to keep tuition fees affordable.
Australia’s higher-education system enrolls about 178,000 foreign students. By comparison, nearly 624,000 foreign students enrolled in American colleges last year.
– The Australian
February 4, 2009
Official Data for 2008 Show Enrollment Increases
Overseas enrollments at Australian universities rose 4 percent despite the global economic downturn, with the number of students in all school levels reaching a record high, reports The Australian newspaper, citing Education Minister, Julia Gillard in late February. The minister announced that a record 543,898 international students attended schools and colleges in Australia in 2008, a 20.7 percent increase from the previous year.
The biggest increase (46 percent) came in the vocational sector. There was also a 23 percent increase in the English-language sector, a bullish sign for future university enrollments. Ms. Gillard cautioned that the numbers were for 2008 only and did not reflect the February-March enrollment period, which will be crucial for forecasting whether the trend will continue in 2009. Still, reports from Australian universities (see above) indicate that the number of applications from overseas students this year is up by 10 to 15 percent.
The first official enrollment figures for 2009 will be published in March.
– The Australian
February 26, 2009
20 New Universities Needed
An estimated 20 new out-of-town teaching universities are needed if ambitious enrollment goals are to be met. The Government’s Review of Australian Higher Education, led by Denise Bradley, recently set the goal of boosting tertiary participation from 29 to 40 percent by 2020. Education experts believe this will require a number of new universities to be built on the outskirts of major cities. Bob Birrell, director of the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University, said that the extra numbers would not be absorbed by existing universities, as they will remain interested in quality not quantity. He told The Australian newspaper: “New campuses will have to be built in locations that best serve the populations with the least access.”
– The Australian
February 11, 2009
Shanghai B-School Cracks World’s Top Ten List
The China-Europe International Business School (CEIBS) became the first business school in Asia to make the Financial Times’ top-10 MBA programs since the newspaper began ranking business schools 10 years ago.
The Shanghai-based school was ranked eighth in the top-100 list of full-time global MBA programs, up from 11th place last year. CEIBS graduate salaries increased by an average of 179 percent in three years after graduation, the highest pay rise among the schools listed.
– Shanghai Daily
February 2, 2009
Chinese Thriftiness Good for Education-Exporting Countries
Despite worsening global financial conditions and a slowing Chinese economy, evidence suggests that international enrollments from China at universities around the world will remain strong, contrary to indicators coming from India and South Korea.
Chinese recruiters peg the sustained strong interest from Chinese students to high household savings rates, a difficult domestic job market, and a currency that has remained steady. These factors are markedly different from trends in other large source countries. In India, students are much more reliant on bank loans to fund their education at a time when student loans are drying up (see below). South Korean students looking to study overseas are facing dramatically higher costs in the face of a significantly weakened currency.
Looking at these factors, Western universities can expect to see reduced enrollments from India and South Korea with steady to increased enrollments from China. For the United States this could mean reduced overseas enrollments this year as India and South Korea are its first and third largest source countries for international students.
On the domestic front, Chinese universities are reporting increased applications to graduate programs. This is good news for the country as its universities typically struggle to attract PhD students, many of whom choose to conduct their research at Western universities. Eventual enrollment numbers will likely depend on the generosity of scholarship offers from U.S. and other Western universities.
– The Chronicle of Higher Education
February 18, 2009
U.S Art School to Open Campus in Hong Kong
The Savannah College of Arts and Design (SCAD) has announced plans to open a branch campus in Hong Kong. The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) approved the campus and a location in the former North Kowloon Magistracy building in Sham Shui Po. The campus is slated for a 2011 opening. It will be the first SCAD branch campus in Asia. The Georgia-based art school currently has one other overseas branch of SCAD in Lacoste, France.
SCAD plans to offer as many as 1,500 places in digital media programs, including animation, advertising design, photography, graphic design, illustration, interactive design and game development, motion media design, and visual effects.
February 18, 2009
Students Struggle to Finance Overseas Education as Banks Dry Up
Of the more than 120,000 Indian students that traveled overseas to study last year, approximately 95 percent financed the costs through loans from banks or family members. In boom times, students have largely been able to repay their loans after securing high-paying jobs either in India or in the country of study.
With the global economic downturn, banks are rethinking their student loan standards as high-paying graduate jobs are currently in much shorter supply. Recent graduates are not finding the work they had hoped for, leading to high default rates on student loans.
ICICI, a major Indian bank, has discontinued its overseas student loans programs altogether. CitiAssist, a division of CitiBank, has cancelled ties with large US universities like Harvard, MIT, and Cornell. Students who wish to borrow from CitiAssist through these colleges will now require a credit-worthy American co-signer. As a result, Indian enrollments abroad are likely to shrink as the economic downturn continues.
– Hindustan Times
December 16, 2008
Three New Universities to Lure Overseas Indians Back Home
The Indian Government has announced plans to create three new universities to attract the children of Indians who have emigrated and non-resident Indian nationals. Speaking in Chennai, G.K. Vasan, Minister of State for Statistics and Program Implementation, said the first of the universities will be located in Bangalore and is expected to open next year. Half the places will be reserved for non-resident Indians or “people of Indian origin”. Mr. Vasan also announced an increase in the number of scholarships to help poorer students among the five million Indians living overseas.
– Business Standard
January 10, 2008
India’s Top 47 Universities Granted Exemption from Faculty Quotas
The Indian government succumbed to pressure from the country’s top universities, led by the Indian Institutes of Technology, and exempted them from quotas in faculty appointments.
It was revealed in late January 2009 that a bill passed in December by the upper house of parliament exempts 47 institutions of higher education from having to implement a faculty quota for India’s lowest castes and classes. All other public institutions will have to meet their hiring quotas. It is considered almost certain that the lower house of parliament will endorse the bill in its summer session.
The Telegraph reported that the engineering schools’ directors told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year that faculty quotas would hurt the quality of teaching at a time of severe shortages of faculty talent.
– The Telegraph
January 29, 2009
Overseas Universities’ Bill to Linger in Limbo
Guidelines governing the entry of foreign providers into the Indian education space have been put on hold, again. According to the Indian Express newspaper, the Foreign Education Providers Bill, which would have enabled foreign universities to set up campuses in India, will be left in limbo. After being discussed for three years and falling victim to a power struggle by competing political parties, with the main opposition coming from left-leaning parties, an unnamed official told the Express that it would not be taken to Parliament and that “There was no consensus. It is on the back burner.”
The Government had previously indicated that the Bill would appear before Parliament at the earliest opportunity. Arjun Singh, the minister in charge of higher education, confirmed in July 2008 that the bill would be introduced in parliament, and most observers expected it would be passed. However, it wasn’t introduced in the winter session because of strong opposition from the Left, and it is not expected to be introduced in the upcoming session either, which would be the last session for the current government. National elections are scheduled for this spring.
The National Knowledge Commission, a high-profile advisory body created by the prime minister for reforms in higher education, had called for liberalizing policies to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India to create a more competitive environment for education.
– Indian Express
February 7, 2009
Expansion of Top Schools Creating Opposition and Headaches
In July of last year, the Indian government confirmed that it would be creating eight new campuses of the world-renowned Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), a move that has come in for considerable opposition from professors who ask how a top-tier system can be nearly doubled in little more than a year. And now, India’s other flagship network of schools, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), are attempting to avoid the problems faced in the planned expansion of India’s elite engineering schools, arguing that institutions must be allowed to set up branches and must be given the “freedom to grow” rather than be asked to work in a “forced collaboration” with the six additional institutes the government plans to set up.
The seven existing IITs have produced some of the world’s finest engineers and computer scientists, and top graduate schools in the United States eagerly recruit their graduates. But their international status may soon be threatened by what many are calling an ill-conceived and poorly executed plan to double the number of institutes across the country. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that by expanding the network, India can retain more of its brightest students to help promote future economic growth.
However, the rushed implementation of the prime minister’s plan has caused a long list of problems. Top of that list is faculty. While the six new campuses set to begin operations this year have students, they have no faculty members or permanent facilities. Instead, the older institutes are expected to absorb the new students by adding additional courses, or, in some cases, sending their professors to teach at temporary sites far away. All the while, existing colleges are operating under faculty shortages of between 20 to 30 percent. Two more IITs are scheduled to open later this year, and enrollments at the other new institutes, which now stand at about 120 students each, are to double in July. Due to capacity issues and expansion plans, there have already been two high-profile resignations. Ashok Mishra, director of IIT Mumbai resigned last July; and in January C.N.R. Rao, the prime minister’s principal scientific adviser, reportedly resigned as chairman of the council that oversees the administration of the IIT network. Last September, Mr. Rao declared the IIT expansions “a disaster.”
According to estimates by faculty members, the 15 IITs will need to recruit 500 faculty members with doctorates in engineering every year over the next decade, but there will be fewer than 100 suitable candidates each year to fill these positions. Although the government is considering raising faculty salaries at the institutes, academics say that won’t solve the scarcity problem — India simply does not produce enough high-quality engineering doctorates. Efforts to recruit from overseas have met with some success, but the numbers remain fairly small.
The recent IIM report called for a “tempered” expansion plan for the new management schools and suggested the schools use technology extensively, citing limited faculty and other resources. The six existing schools have been trying, without success, to persuade the ministry to allow them to set up branches.
Government Introduces Big Education-Budget Increases to Help Cover Huge Expansion Plans
According to an interim report presented in February in parliament, The Telegraph reported that the Indian Government has announced that it intends to increase its higher-education budget by 21 percent, to US$2.79 billion from $2.22 billion, to help cover the costs of its ambitious plans to increase access to university studies.
The University Grants Commission, the system’s regulator, has been allocated $1.32 billion, up from $1 billion last year. Government officials reported to The Telegraph that the funds would be targeted at opening as many new institutions of higher education as possible before national elections, scheduled for April and May 2009. India has approximately 400 universities and 18,000 colleges to serve a population of 1.1 billion. Less than 12 percent of young people enter higher education. The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has said he wants to raise enrollment rates to 21 percent by 2017.
– The Telegraph
February 17, 2009
Strengthening Yen Trouble for Education-Export Industry
With the yen appreciating considerably against most international currencies, an increasing number of foreign students at Japanese universities are defaulting on their tuition fees, reports the Daily Yomiuri. As many as 90 percent of Japan’s 124,000 overseas students are self-funded, with a majority coming from China and South Korea, both of which have seen their currencies drop sharply against the yen. Of the 80 students from ten nations studying at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, 44 from China and South Korea were unable to pay their tuition costs for the fall semester.
– Daily Yomiuri
January 28, 2009
International Enrollments Up 4.5%
Japan Student Services Association (JASSO) has released its 2008 annual statistics report on international students in Japan. The document highlights the evolution of the number of international students by source of funding and institution type since 1983 and lists the number of international students according to seven criteria, including region of origin, nationality, sex, and institution type.
In 2008, there were a total of 123,829 international students in Japan, an increase of 4.5 percent on the year prior. The top five source countries were: China (72,766), South Korea (18,862), Taiwan (5,082), Vietnam (2,873), and Malaysia (2,271). All five were up on 2007 figures.
– Japan Student Services Organization
December 25, 2008
Weak NZ Dollar Boosts International Enrollments
The New Zealand Dollar has devalued considerably as a result of the global recession, a fact that may have helped fuel an increase in international university and college enrollments. The Kiwi dollar is currently worth almost 40 percent less against the U.S. dollar compared with the same time last year.
With New Zealand’s academic year beginning in March, universities have indicated that applications from new international students are up by as much as 20 percent. Robert Stevens, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand, the body responsible for promoting New Zealand education internationally, said there were early indications of increased international enrollments at all levels of the education system, with the exception of primary schools.
The indications of a 2009 enrollment increase follow the release of February figures showing that New Zealand enjoyed a 16 percent increase in new international enrollments in the 12 months to July of last year. This follows several years of decline in overall student numbers caused by a steep drop in enrollments by Chinese students.
– University World News
February 22, 2009
Government Finally Finds Money to Pay Overseas Tuition Fees
Thousands of Pakistani students on government scholarships at universities abroad were in danger of being sent home after the government failed to pay their tuition fees. According to The Nation newspaper, the government released approximately US$35.4 million to pay their tuition, which was in arrears for the last academic term.
The Higher Education Commission (HEC) introduced an ambitious scholarship scheme in recent years that sent many Pakistanis overseas to study; however, many of those students found themselves in tuition troubles last November with the HEC running out of money. Government officials say that more than 2,500 students were enrolled at universities in Australia, Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Romania, and the United States, among others. Other reports state that as many as 6,500 students were abroad under the program.
The future of the scholarship scheme is in serious jeopardy as Pakistan struggles through a major financial crisis.
– The Nation
February 14, 2009
College Falsely Claiming Links with British Universities Ordered to Stop
The Lincoln School of Management has been asked by the British universities to erase references to the institutions from its publicity material. The school is believed to recruit most of its students from China, Vietnam and Indonesia, advertising links with universities in America and Australia, and charging fees of about US$19,000 for a two-year off-campus “transfer program”.
Its website says it is registered as a private education organization with Singapore’s Ministry of Education. However, the Ministry said that registration “does not in any way represent an endorsement or accreditation of the quality of the courses offered”.
In a statement, the Ministry says it “does not have a list of accredited educational institutions and there is no central authority in Singapore that assesses or grants recognition for qualifications obtained from overseas or local institutions”.
– The Times Higher Education Supplement
February 19, 2009
France, NUS to Offer Double MBA Degree
Two universities from Singapore and France will jointly launch a new graduate program that will allow students to get two Masters of Business Administration (MBA).
According to the Straits Times, the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Business School and France’s HEC Paris will launch their double-degree program in August. Students in the program will spend one year in each university respectively.
– The Straits Times
February 13, 2009
Spending on International Education Drops More Than 50%
An increasing number of South Koreans have been traveling abroad to study in recent years, and currently they make up the third largest source of international students globally.
According to the Bank of Korea, Koreans staying overseas for educational purposes spent US$168 million in November, down 51 percent from $343 million a year ago. It marks the largest decrease since January 1998, when the country’s overseas educational expenditures dropped 61.7 percent year-on-year.
The global economic meltdown and a depreciated Korean won were cited as the main reasons, with the won plunging 25.7 percent against the dollar in 2008 alone.
Global Education Campus Set to Open Next Year
The government has budgeted 40 billion won (US$ 27 million) this year to help establish a global research-education campus at the Incheon free economic zone (FEZ). Located in Songdo, about 40 kilometers west of Seoul, the campus is set to open in 2010, accommodating between 4 and 10 local and foreign universities. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy stated that each institution would pool resources to conduct research and educate students in ‘cutting-edge’ technologies.
Those foreign universities reported to already be on board include the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the State University of North Carolina; the former having already inked an agreement to open a campus and the latter close to signing a similar contract.
Local universities such as Yonsei and Inha are said to be in negotiations with foreign schools to build collaborative campuses and programs at the FEZ. The foreign universities cited by Asia Pulse as being in talks include Britain’s Surrey University and Delaware State University, while the Salk Institute, a U.S. -based laboratory, set up a Joint Center for Biology at Songdo late last year.
The ministry envisions a campus that will initially house 3,000 students and researchers, but will grow over five years to accommodate 10,000 students. The campus will focus on information technology and biotech fields.
– Asia Pulse
February 4, 2009
Students Staying in School to Avoid Unemployment
A recent study carried out by the Institute for Educational Research (IER) at the HCM City University of Education surveyed 2,000 students from 24 schools and universities in four metropolitan areas and found that 80 percent of high school students and 70 percent of university students pursue further studies after graduation.
Summarizing the views expressed by survey takers, the report found that there is a strong belief among students that a bachelor’s degree is no longer adequate when entering the job market.
February 2, 2009