Measuring waves of international student access

Dive Brief:

  • A recent paper by education researcher Rahul Choudaha suggests international enrollment in the United States can be divided into three waves, which have been or will be shaped by a variety of factors beyond instruction and professional training.
  • Between 1999-2006, Choudaha says, a surge in international students seeking research opportunities at major institutions led to an influx of international students in U.S. institutions. The global recession which followed later helped to shape the second wave of international enrollment, spurred by struggles of major economies in China and the United Kingdom
  • The third wave, which the author says began in 2013, presents pressure for institutions to recruit and retain these students and help them to find employment opportunities.

Dive Insight:

The common misconception among institutions is that minorities or international students require a vastly different approach in engagement than white American students. Strong programs and consistent postgraduate outcomes attract all kinds of students from all kinds of backgrounds, and are shaped mostly by the increases in industry and job access. While policy may impact the ability of students to physically attend an institution, opportunities abound to expand offerings through MOOC development and distance learning courses which attract students in critical industries that are important both domestically and abroad.

However, institutions must be intentional about making sure they do not stop at recruiting these students to campus — there has to be an equal commitment to promoting an environment that is welcoming to and inclusive of these students who may not be members of the traditional majority groups. Everything from small tweaks to the cafeteria offerings to diversifying lecture series, course texts and cultural events on campus to providing living and learning communities to help students defeat a feeling of "otherness" and promoting intercultural dialogue to promote tolerance and understanding on campus are imperative for institutions hoping to attract students from different backgrounds.

Recommended Reading:

Filed Under: Higher Ed