US higher education institutes shifting focus of recruitment from China to India in 2023: IIE report


US higher education institutions are focusing on India to get more students in 2023 owing to the “increasingly unpredictable Chinese student market”. The Institute of International Education (IIE)  in its Spring 2023 Snapshot on International Educational Exchange says that, in preparing for the 2023/24 academic year, China is still a top priority, but US educators are also stepping up their efforts to attract students in other markets – especially India.

The Spring 2023 Snapshot on International Educational Exchange focuses on the current state of in-person student mobility to and from the U.S. and supporting the diverse population of students participating in global exchange.

Established in 1919 with the founding premise that international exchange could make the world a more interconnected place, IIE has specialized in the international exchange of people and ideas. Through a wide variety of educational programs sponsored by the U.S. government, corporations, foundations and foreign governments, IIE annually works with thousands of U.S. and international educational institutions and more than 29,000 students, scholars, and professionals around the globe.

The IIE report states that top three recruitment sources of students for US undergraduate programs are India, international high-school students in the US, and Vietnam. International students contributed US$33.8 billion to the US economy in 2021/22, down from a peak of US$45 billion in 2018 but up US$5.5 billion from the pandemic-drained year of 2020/21.

The IIE’s Snapshot report, based on responses from 527 US higher education institutions collected from 27 April to 19 May 2023, states: “Institutions are prioritizing undergraduate outreach in India (57%), Vietnam (48%), South Korea (41%), and Brazil (40%) and graduate recruitment in India (77%), China (42%), Nigeria (37%), and Vietnam (35%).” It also adds, “89% of U.S. colleges and universities indicated that 2023/24 applications are up or have stayed the same compared with the previous year.”

“A vast majority of institutions are focusing on India for graduate student recruitment (77%), far outpacing recruitment in all other places of origin. China, Nigeria, and Vietnam, are also strong markets where colleges and universities are conducting outreach to prospective graduate international students. The focus on Indian student recruitment aligns with the Open Doors data, which found that the majority of Indian students who came to the United States in 2021/22 were graduate students,” the report adds.

“With the prospect of continued growth in mobility from India, many institutions are focusing on recruitment there. Similarly, Open Doors noted an increase in the number of Chinese graduate students in 2021/22. Whether this was due to COVID-19 restrictions or personal choice, institutions reported a larger proportion of Chinese graduate students and, as a result, are focusing recruitment on this population as well. Finally, many institutions (45%) are conducting outreach to international students already in the United States in undergraduate programs for continued graduate study, as this is a natural pipeline for students to remain in the U.S. higher education system for further academic opportunities,” IIE states in its Spring 2023 Snapshot on International Educational Exchange.

In 2021/22, according to IIE data, the top 10 senders of students to US higher education institutions were – China, India, South Korea, Canada, Vietnam, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria. In 2023, not all of those markets were among the most mentioned recruitment targets in the IIE’s 2023 Spring Snapshot survey. Recruiters are evidently looking at growth trends beyond the top 10 senders of students.

“In spring 2023, institutions reported prioritizing efforts to recruit undergraduate students from India, Vietnam, South Korea, and Brazil. This is in line with some of the largest senders of undergraduate students to the United States, though it is interesting to note that the largest sender, China, is listed in sixth place. This could indicate that institutions are looking to diversify their strategies for undergraduate markets beyond China. More than half of the institutions (55%) are also focusing efforts on international students already studying at U.S. high schools,” the report states.

The report states that in 2021/22, for the first time in a decade, there were more international graduate students (41%) than foreign undergraduates (36%) studying in the United States, according to the IIE.


Related posts