Tuesday, January 06, 2009

How international are US universities?

The US outperforms other countries in the international student market, the Economist reports, with a share of 22% of international students. But foreign students are just 3.5% of total students on US campuses although the absolute numbers are large. There is scope for raising the latter number. Apparently, it has not happened because US universities are averse to soliciting custom by appointing agents. Universities in other countries have no such qualms, so agents lead students to non-US universities.

The story does not mention this but US universities are also not disposed towards going overseas. The top b-schools do not have many overseas locations. Resistance to foreign entry may be one factor but a more important reason could be that US universities think the best students will come to them anyway, helped by generous scholarships. Another reason could be that faculty and education quality may be difficult to maintain over dispersed locations.


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Krishnan said...

Universities in the US have started hiring Presidents not on the basis of their scholarship (or some such senseless ideas) but on whether they can be good salesmen for their campuses - sell the idea of whatever is being sold on the campus to many who are willing to hand over money. So, yea, I can imagine many will (and have) started looking all over the world for students/money. The usual, major players do not have to - students/money come to them and they do fine. To many others, it has become a business - the end game is not the quality of the product, but the numbers of students who can wear the cap and gown after 3 or 4 or 5 years. Woe to those on the campus that think that education standards must remain rigorous while ignoring such issues as retention and friendliness and all that. A 4 year education in many universities is not what it used to be, it takes additional graduate work before they can be partially useful. The dumbing down of education continues at a merry pace, Seems like the B-schools have run amok with their models for raising monies through bizarre models that may include recruiting in distant lands accepting different currencies.

Anonymous said...

referring to US scholarships - it should be mentioned (quite contrary to perception in india) that such generous funding in universities is increasingly for only ph.d. and not masters candidates. this will become more common due to the financial downturn which is squeezing the US universities too.