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From: Karin Fischer
Subject: Latitudes: To be competitive, U.S. colleges must support foreign students' alternative routes to study
Group calls for recognizing diverse “entry points” for international students
To regain its global edge, the United States must think about international-student mobility in a more holistic way, recognizing that there are different “entry points” to the American educational system, the American International Recruitment Council said in issuing
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Group calls for recognizing diverse “entry points” for international students
To regain its global edge, the United States must think about international-student mobility in a more holistic way, recognizing that there are different “entry points” to the American educational system, the American International Recruitment Council said in issuing recommendations for overseas recruitment.
The recommendations were developed over two years by a working group organized by the council, a membership and standards-setting organization for international-recruitment agencies and American colleges that use them. Not all students come to the United States through traditional pathways, directly enrolling in undergraduate or graduate programs, the group notes. Instead, prospective students’ first exposure may be through language study, cultural programming, study abroad or exchanges, vocational training, or work or volunteer experiences.
“No other nation in the world can match the enormous breadth of educational options offered by U.S. institutions and organizations,” the working group said in introducing the recommendations. “How can the U.S. reestablish itself as the undisputed top global destination for international students?”
Brian Whalen, the council’s executive director, said too often national discussions about international recruitment are “siloed” with policies related to different entry points considered “in isolation.” Because the group works with many kinds of educational institutions and programs, it was well positioned to consider the issue in an integrated way, he said.
“We could offer a broader, more comprehensive view about how international visitors and students enter the U.S., and how their pathways unfold and succeed as well as how they are sometimes stymied by roadblocks.”
The group makes two broad recommendations, to promote different educational entry points to the United States and to facilitate connections between them, and then offers more detailed steps to take, among them:
- Identify model practices that embrace multiple routes to become an international student
- Train those who advise and counsel students about varied paths
- Advocate for visa processes that make transition between different educational opportunities as seamless as possible
- Highlight types of articulation agreements that facilitate transfer
- Support greater portability of international students’ educational credentials and transfer opportunities
- Develop course-articulation databases and assessment practices that include the use of life-skills equivalencies and nonstandardized aptitude tests
The working group also calls for development of a scorecard to allow colleges and other educational institutions to conduct self assessments of their recruitment policies. Whalen said that the council, as a standards-setting body, could create such a tool. For example, the scorecard could help institutions better assess how they retain international students, facilitate their success, and provide effective support and advising, including about further educational and career opportunities.
Whalen said the council plans to collect information about the areas covered by the scorecard as part of its biannual survey on the state of international recruitment.
English-language programs concerned about visas, pandemic recovery
A new study hopes to paint a fuller picture of English-language enrollments in the United States, providing richer data on an international-education sector hit hard by the pandemic.
The inaugural annual report from EnglishUSA, a membership group of English-language programs, was based on a survey conducted by Bonard, a company that does international-enrollment research and strategic planning for colleges, with support from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
It found that the average student spent about $10,700 on tuition, housing, and other expenses while studying English, for a combined annual economic impact of nearly $1 billion by the sector. The English programs responding to the survey taught some 70,600 students in 2022, with the typical student spending about 10 weeks learning English.
In all, 289 English programs took part in the survey, or roughly 40 percent of all such programs in the United States.
Cheryl Delk-Le Good, executive director of EnglishUSA, said the group hopes that the new report complements existing ones, such as the Institute of International Education’s yearly survey of intensive English programs.
More data can aid English-language programs in sharpening their marketing. And the additional information about the impact of the programs, both in the broader economy and on students and institutions, could help strengthen their advocacy efforts, Delk-Le Good said.
The institute’s report, released in June, found that enrollments in English programs were rebounding from steep declines during the pandemic, albeit slowly. Still, 50 percent of programs surveyed by EnglishUSA named the lingering impact of Covid-19 as one of their most pressing challenges.
Visa issues also are a big cause for concern for English programs: Half listed lengthy student-visa-processing times as a problem while two-thirds said visa denials are a major headache, hampering recruitment and placing a financial burden on programs when accepted students were unable to enroll.
Delk-Le Good noted that the United States currently ranks third among destination countries for English-language students. Visa difficulties, she said, may be hampering its attractiveness.
Among other challenges, about a third of respondents cited global competition for students and a similar share pointed to difficulties hiring or retaining qualified staff.
The survey included both college-based programs and those operated by private providers, and highlighted key differences in student preferences. Students studying at college-run programs were more likely to take English courses that ready them for academic study, including pathways programs that combine language instruction with college-preparatory courses.
Those in private programs typically enrolled in shorter courses as well as those that prepare them to take English-language-proficiency exams.
Around the globe
West Virginia University will continue to provide in-person instruction in two foreign languages, Chinese and Spanish, but will eliminate language majors and minors, the college said in issuing final recommendations for several academic programs under review because of budget cuts.
The White House has delayed a decision about renewing a decades-old scientific-cooperation agreement with China, giving itself a six-month extension to hammer out a deal. Congressional Republicans have called for an end to the pact because of rising tensions with China. More than a thousand scholars signed a letter to President Biden encouraging him to renew the agreement.
A graduate student from China is accused of killing his adviser in a shooting Monday that put the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus on lockdown.
The National Science Foundation is creating a network of scientists to study the best ways of dealing with research-security concerns.
Canada could cap international-student enrollments to help deal with a crisis in housing availability and affordability. Universities Canada, the national higher-education association, said comments by the country’s housing minister “conflating international students and the housing crisis are deeply concerning.” Canada has seen some of the sharpest growth worldwide in recent years in international students.
The Nicaraguan government has seized the property and bank accounts of the University of Central America. The presidents of American Jesuit colleges said in a statement that they stood in solidarity with their fellow Jesuit institution.
The education ministries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China are planning to create a new university-ranking system.
India will not recognize online degrees from foreign universities, according to draft guidelines by a national higher-education regulator.
Ashoka University, a private Indian institution, is caught in a political storm after a research paper by one of its faculty members alleged election irregularities from 2019.
A record number of Chinese high-school graduates are entering military academies as youth joblessness soars.
Supporters of a proposed member-interest group on international-alumni relations and fund raising are collecting signatures to have the group recognized by NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
This week’s newsletter is a bit lighter because I’ve been on vacation: Jumping into a bitingly cold lake. Reading on a saggy porch couch. Gorging on grilled corn and sweet late-summer tomatoes and root-beer floats. Playing endless games of hide and seek. But the world of international education doesn’t stop — what news did I miss? You can share your story tips and feedback with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also connect with me on the social-media platforms X and LinkedIn. If you like this newsletter, please share it with colleagues and friends. They can sign up here.