There are over 900,000 international students studying in colleges and universities in the United States. Getting a degree from an institution in the United States has tremendous value to international students, their families and potential employers in their home country. International students represent an opportunity to enrich the campus and bring many benefits to the institutions they join. When well-integrated and supported, international students provide opportunities for cultural and social interaction for local students, which help the local students become more comfortable with diversity and competitive in a globalized economy. International students bring a range of knowledge and experiences that can serve as a resource for faculty and students in the classroom. International students can even function as mentors of local students interested in other places and maybe stimulate your study abroad programs.
There is strong evidence of the financial impacts of international students to their institutions and communities. International students not only pay tuition but provide revenue for goods and services provided by the institution or by local community partners, such as housing, food, entertainment, and other services to support the needs of these residents. Benefits from international students extend to the local communities. According to the Association of International Educators (NAFSA), spending from international students create or support 3 local jobs for every 7 enrolled students, (http://blog.nafsa.org/tag/international-student-economic-value-tool/). The financial impact to the communities can translate into additional support for other institutional activities.
Finally, international graduates can become institutional connections to the world. Graduates tend to be employed in positions of prominence and thus become examples of the quality of education and spokespersons for institutional recruitment.
There are many challenges for attracting, recruiting and managing international students. According to the International Consultants for Education and Fairs (ICEF) Monitor, about “ five million students are studying outside their home countries” (http://monitor.icef.com/2015/11/the-state-of-international-student-mobility-in-2015/.). Changing economic and political realities have made higher education opportunities an option for millions. The growth has spurred competition for these students around the globe. Moreover, global economic shifts create a highly dynamic system with fast-changing mobility trends.
Geo-political conflicts have increased the level of scrutiny and the challenges for compliance with US immigration and financial regulations. Potential students must meet your admission and educational standards, as well as being able to demonstrate that they can pay for the cost of their education and living expenses.
Success in your pursuit will require support for the needs of international students, which are often substantially different from those of the local students. In many instances the issues that international students face are not academic but social, cultural and technical in nature. You want students who will enhance your statistics of student success.
Developing a functional strategy for recruiting international students requires expertise. An effective strategy must be geographically and functionally balanced, flexible enough to take advantage of developing opportunities, yet providing structure through vision and direction. Your international enrollment strategy should be consistent with your overall strategic plans and not generic.
The benefits of developing a robust population of international students far outweigh the challenges. However, many schools do not have the expertise, connections or resources to mount a comprehensive campaign to grow the international student population. Furthermore, much of the early investment is spent learning of ways not to recruit students. While one student normally represents the beginning of a very rich pipeline of future students, one bad experience of a student can rapidly close the recruitment stream. Therefore institutions must be able to develop strategies not only for recruitment but also for the acclimatization and retention of international students.
CEO offers a comprehensive suite of services to institutions to ignite their international student recruitment initiative and to maintain an ever increasing population of students from a variety of countries. In addition, CEO helps prepare incoming students for their initial experiences on your campus as well as advises your staff on how best to assure continued success in this important initiative.