Developing an international enrollment strategy: understanding the needs and interests of int ernational students can drive recruitment.


A University Business Web Seminar Digest * Originally presented on November 12, 2015

A small proportion of higher education institutions in the U.S. command a majority of international student enrollment. While 108 doctorate-granting universities enroll just 77 percent of all students in the country, they enroll some 44 percent of all international students. What explains this trajectory of so many international students toward a small number of institutions? And how can other institutions deepen their understanding of the needs and desires of international students, and build informed enrollment strategies to become more competitive in recruiting, enrolling and retaining these students? In this web seminar, a global higher education strategist discussed some of the latest research about international student mobility as well as the decision-making processes of different segments of the international student population, and how to use these insights to develop sustainable and competitive international enrollment strategies.

In these challenging economic times, how can enrollment officers adapt and develop their enrollment strategies for international markets? One of the biggest challenges institutions report, irrespective of the type of institution, is allocating scarce resources efficiently.

On one side, there is the concern of how to meet enrollment goals; but on the other side, there are resource constraints. Institution leaders are concerned not only with the availability of resources, but how to make sure that the resources are most efficiently used. That's the word to keep in mind as we move forward in terms of the research and strategy. How can we make it more efficient, especially in developing an international enrollment strategy, where costs can run very high, very fast?

In this scenario of enrollment challenges and limited resources, many institutions have started focusing on international student enrollment as part of the solution. International enrollment can also mitigate some of the demographic challenges institutions face.

The same 108 institutions enroll about 11 percent of all U.S. students, but they enroll 44 percent of all international students. These are the institutions which provide a much larger portfolio of offerings for international students to choose from. Given the combination of these factors, there is a trajectory toward a particular type of institution for many international students. One factor in their decision is...

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