Education at a Glance is an annual report on global education published by The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It collects educational data from 34 OECD countries and many partner countries.
Education at a Glance 2015 was published just last week. Included are some interesting statistics:
(1) “Adults with higher qualifications are more likely to report being in good or excellent health, volunteering, trusting others and having a say in government”;
(2) “Young men are significantly more likely than young woman to have low skills and poor academic achievement, but young women are less likely than young men to be employed”; and
(3) “The number of students enrolled in schools outside their country of citizenship has risen dramatically, from 1.7 million worldwide in 1995 to more than 4.5 million (2015).”
It’s interesting to note that international student numbers worldwide have increased from 1.7 million in 1995 to more than 4.5 million in early 2015. This is a 165% increase in international student enrollment worldwide. During this period of 20 years, world population growth was 29% according to data from geohive.com. International student mobility is now the norm.
Today a diverse group of international students is changing the shape of world education, and they influencing the economies of the countries where they study. Recent headlines such as “Foreign Enrollment at U.S. Colleges Sets a Record”(by World Street Journal), “U.S. Sees Record Number of International Students” (by U.S. News & World Report), and others suggest that the U.S. is doing much better than other countries in attracting international students. Although the United States attracts more international students than any other country, America’s share of the of world education market continues to shrink.
According to Open Doors the number of international students studying in the U.S. during 1995-1996 was 453,787. Education at a Glance 2015 states that the world’s international student population was 1.7 million in 1995. Back then the U.S. hosted 26.69% of the world’s international students.
Open Doors most recent survey indicates the number of international students studying in the U.S. was 974,926 during the 2014-15 academic year. If we divide 974,926 (international students in the U.S.) by 4.5 million (international students worldwide), we learn that the United States currently host just 21.67% of the world’s international student population compared to 26.69% in 1995/96. This illustrates a decrease of 5.02 percent over 20 years.
While mainstream U.S. media boast that the U.S. is still the world’s #1 destination for international students, it does not take into account America’s 5.02% drop in the adjusted international student population over this 20 year period.
The U.S. Department of Commerce claims that international students contributed 30.5 billion dollars to the U.S. economy in 2014-15. But international headlines highlighting American police brutality, gun violence , terrorist threats, and massive hikes in college costs are just some factors likely contributing to declining international enrollment.
Furthermore, most international students and their parents are looking for quality educational at good value. They also consider the surrounding environment for safety and economic opportunities. They are smart shoppers who expect a good return on their investment.
U.S. schools have much to contend with so many fronts when it comes to attracting international students. These problems are not limited to academia and U.S. social problems. American schools are competing with quality schools in other countries that are both affordable and safe.
But on the bright side, America’s top 200 colleges and universities continue to do well. Also, specialty schools such as Babson College for Entrepreneurship Education, and other affordable state-supported schools are thriving despite brutal international competition. It’s just a matter of time before schools with poor ROI’s are exposed for what they are. U.S. schools facing this dilemma have a choice. They can either adapt quickly to this ever changing market, or fail trying.
(Edited by T. Gray, co-founder of Access Education LLC)