More on the Dependence on International Enrollment

Yesterday in an addendum to a post written by Brian Mitchell, I referred to the “charter” university phenomenon, which has led elite public universities to accept much-reduced state subsidy in return for greater autonomy, which has meant in practical terms more aggressive recruitment of out-of-state and international students who pay higher tuition.

Writing for the Hechinger Report, Matt Krupnick has explored “How China’s Economic Slump Could Hurt American Colleges,” an article that has been re-published by Time.

Here are some of the salient statistical highlights from the article:


“This pipeline [of Chinese students] is an increasingly important revenue source for U.S. colleges, which enrolled nearly one million international students last year,according to the Institute of International Education. Collectively, those students pump almost $31 billion per year into the economy in tuition and other spending while they’re here.

“Almost a third of the international students were from China—which means that the country’s economic slump could hit U.S. institutions hard. China’s economy, the world’s second largest, is slowing, and exports and share prices in the stock market there are down. And while the numbers of Chinese undergraduate and graduate students in the U.S. increased last year by 13% and 4%, respectively, that pace was down considerably from the 18% and 12% growth of 2013-14.

“That decline, along with aggressive competition for international students and mounting scrutiny of visas, could mean yet more trouble for American schools that increasingly rely on full-paying foreign students both to subsidize Americans’ tuition and to make up for budget shortfalls caused by drops in domestic enrollment and state government support. . . .

“China isn’t the only place in the world where attracting students may get tougher for U.S. schools.

“India, which sends the second-biggest number of higher education students to the U.S., is spending $3.4 billion establishing 278 new universities and 388 colleges at home that may absorb some people who might otherwise have gone abroad. And in economically ailing Brazil, the budget for an ambitious scholarship program that sent 26,300 students to the U.S. in 2014 has been cut by more than 40% this year and frozen for 2016, with zero new scholarships expected.

“U.S. lawmakers, meanwhile, have proposed changes to the student visa system, including stricter background checks and closer monitoring of international students once they arrive in the country.

“This comes as global competition for international students has grown intense. Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom have all pushed hard to lure foreign students, and China itself has suddenly become a major player in international education.

“China last year passed the United Kingdom as the hosting country with the third-highest number of international students, said Rajika Bhandari, a deputy vice president at the Institute of International Education. . . .”


Krupnick’s complete article is available at:


International Enrollment


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