WENR, February 2016: Americas

U.S.: As the global race for international students heats up, U.S. institutions face steep odds

With international student enrollments expected to skyrocket in the next decade, The Economist speculates that the U.S. higher ed sector may lose ground. Their reasoning? Many countries have a national recruitment strategy in place, but the U.S. does not. That puts U.S. institutions at a disadvantage, even though some individual schools have had enormous success in attracting students from every corner of the globe. The piece examines the recruitment practices in key global geographies, and highlights the University of Miami, which recruits at international schools and trade fairs in around 65 countries each year.

The Economist [1]
January 30

U.S.: Reprieve for tens of thousands of F1-visa holders

Tens of thousands of current and former F1 visa holders gained a reprieve when the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia extended the window of time for the government to address flaws in its STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. The program enables all foreign students to work in the U.S. for up to year on student F1 visas, and extends the term for STEM students an additional 17 months. The OPT program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security.

The STEM extension has been challenged in court by a group of high-tech workers who argue that F1-visa holders are employed at the expense of qualified American workers. The court’s ruling lifted a February 12 court deadline that would have led to the automatic expiration of many F1 visas on February 12. The new deadline is May 30. Experts say a rollback may affect international enrollments in U.S. institutions, since many students come to the U.S. to obtain not just academic training but long-term work experience.

KBIA [2]
January 25

Brazil: Government clarifies tax policy for international students

In late January, Brazil’s government addressed concerns about a new tax that threatened to dramatically raise international education costs for outward-bound Brazilian international students. The new tax is aimed at personal services abroad. The Brazilian government initially indicated that international tuition and accommodation expenses would be taxed at a rate of 25 percent. However, on January 20, Brazil’s Department of Federal Revenue said that there would be no tax on educational programs, alleviating concerns about a potentially “devastating blow to Brazilian student mobility.”

ICEF Monitor [3]
January 21

U.S.: Vietnamese student numbers growing

Vietnam is now ranked sixth as a supplier of international students to the United States. The information comes from the most recent Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) report. The report, which is issued quarterly by U.S. Customs and Immigration, says that there are 28,883 Vietnamese students in the U.S. Most are U.S. colleges and universities, although students enrolled in secondary schools are also included in the count. From July to November 2015, the period covered by the most recent report, growth in international enrollments was led by students from three countries: India, China, and Vietnam.

University World News [4]
January 15

U.S.: Growth of international enrollments slows among grad students

The latest report from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) finds a slowdown in international enrollments in U.S. graduate studies. 2015 saw the slowest rate of growth over the three most-recent fall admissions cycles – a cause for concern given that in international enrollments have driven more than two-thirds of all growth for U.S. graduate programs over the past decade.

ICEF Monitor [5]
January 12

U.S.: Innovative recruitment efforts bring Chinese students to the Heartland

China is a global heavyweight when it comes to enrollment of international higher ed students. In the 2014-2015 academic year, an estimated 304,000 Chinese students were enrolled in U.S. institutions of higher education alone. Foreign Policy recently evaluated 15 months of student visa data to determine “where all those Chinese students are going.” What they found is a healthy spread from New York to Silicon Valley, with a notable density in the American heartland. Many high-ranking schools take an innovative approach to attracting Chinese students – offering introductions to American football and sports broadcasting in Chinese, for instance – and say the payoff is big.

Foreign Policy [5]
December 30

Canada: Canadian pathway programs ill-positioned to meet exploding demand – New Report

Canadian pathway programs are a major feeder for the nation’s universities, says a new report. Researchers for Illuminate Consulting Group found that such programs supply fully 30 percent of all international undergraduates to Canadian universities. The report, however, predicts that such programs will be unable to handle future demands, which are expected to rise from 10,600 students today to 17,500 by 2020. The report calls Canada’s approach to these programs “haphazard” and “extremely fragmented,” and compares it unfavorably with other nations, notably Australia and the UK, where pathway programs play a significant role in enrollments.

The Pie News [6]
December 21

U.S.: Three out of four international grad students in master’s (not doctoral) programs

Master’s students made up more than three-quarters of first time international graduate school enrollments in the U.S. in 2015, data from the Council of Graduate Studies (CGS) has shown. However, growth among first time enrollments has slowed overall. First-time enrollments were up by eight percent in 2014, and 10 percent the year prior. They rose only five percent in 2015. This is the first year CGS has evaluated student program preferences at the doctoral and master’s levels. Engineering and business programs were the top two choices among international students in master’s programs.

The Pie News [7]
December 17

U.S.: Trade imbalance – U.S. student numbers rise in Germany; German student numbers fall in the U.S.

According to a report issued by the Institute of International Education, the number of U.S. students studying in Germany in 2014 rose by nine percent over 2013 tallies, peaking at 10,377. The number of degree-seeking U.S. students in Germany was also up. Interest isn’t necessarily reciprocal. German enrollments in U.S. institutions of higher education fell by 20 percent between the 2008-09 school year and 2014-15, when only 5,983 German students were enrolled in degree programs at U.S. institutions.

University World News [8]
December 10