W4: U.S. Student Mobility

I chose to focus on the section in the reading pertaining to student mobility as I take a personal initiative in these programs and hope to work in a study abroad or for a student exchange program after completing my masters. I was excited to see the scholarship programs available in the US to international students choosing to study in the United States and particularly happy about the graduate student scholarships, as I wonder if a higher percentage of these students wish to stay and work in the US after receiving their graduate degree. However, I do know only a small percentage of international students receive scholarships and due to the high sticker price international students must pay and their ineligibility to apply for financial aid, studying in the US seems out of reach for many international students.

While reading this document, its clear that the process of internationalization in the US is very segmented, with the government supporting some initiatives, each college and university having very different policies and programs, and influence from non-governmental agencies. Much of the scholarship initiatives for inbound students are only funded by the State Department; however, the scholarship programs for outbound students are much more robust, with funding from the State Department, the National Security Education Program, and the Paul Simon Study Abroad Act which provides $80 million per year for study abroad to individuals and institutions.  In addition to these governmental funding of scholarships, I did some research on private and non-profit organizations that offer funding for students wanting to study abroad.  NAFSA provides a list of search engines to use and the Institute of International Education (IIE) provides and entire search engine website specifically for IIEPassport Study Abroad Funding.  According to the Institute of International Education, a total of 304,467 students studied abroad for academic credit in the 2013-2014 academic year.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 17.5 million undergraduate students at postsecondary degree granting institutions in the United States in the Fall of 2013.  If these numbers are accurate, that equates to approximately 2% of the entire undergraduate population who is actually “mobile” and successfully studying overseas.  President Obama’s 100,000 Strong initiatives: one from 2009 which aimed to have a national effort to increase the number of students studying in China and another in 2011 which had the goal of doubling student mobility (both inbound and outbound) between the US and Latin America and the Caribbean.  The former program was originally housed by the State Department but now is an independent foundation.  The second program is a collaboration between the State Department and NAFSA- Association of International Educators and Partners of the Americas.   I had not previously heard of these initiatives, so I continued to investigate and it looks like President Obama’s goal was reached in 2014, when 100,000 US students studied in China that year.  In addition, there was a 5% increase in Americans studying in China last year and a 23% increase in Chines students studying in the US last year.  I think these are amazing statistics and proof that a program like this, coming from the President, has the power to reach big goals in only a few short years.  While the document talks about whether an overarching national policy would be truly effective in advancing internationalization in the US, I think this example proves that it may help more than we think.  I think to successfully increase the overall percentage of mobile students,  collaboration from the government, non-profit organizations and the colleges themselves is essential.

CNN Article: Americans are moving to Europe for free college degrees

Hi All,

I read this article a few days ago on CNN and thought I would share with everyone since it is sort of relevant to the course. It feels like in almost all of my higher ed courses we have discussed the high costs of tuition and fees in the US and how so many of our students are graduating with debts they are unable to pay back. Here is an example of a few American students who decided to save money by getting their degree abroad. I wonder if this trend will get bigger in coming years? And if it does, is Europe able to sustain their system of offering practically free degrees to non-native students?



W3 – Cross-Border Education & Assessing Policy Effectiveness

Having taken an educational policy course last semester, I learned that implementing a policy and accurately assessing the effectiveness of the policy is a long and time-consuming process, which the reading also touched upon. In regards to internationalization of higher education, the implementation seems to be easier than the follow-up assessment of the outcomes and impacts (and not just on the outputs). But at the same time, there has been concerns that implementation, specifically in regards to branch campuses, can cause chaos and confusion as well. As with different cultures and customs in different countries, it seems each country has different meanings for the various terminology used in a higher education setting.

The confusion caused by not being on the same page for things as simple as what a “joint-degree” means can have great impact on the subsequent effectiveness of the branch campus and the policies in place. It is hard enough to measure the outcomes and impacts (which the reading emphasizes are the two thing that can better determine the effectiveness of a policy), but when the implementation is already causing negative effects, the policy in place won’t be accurately assessed. Therefore, as mentioned in the reading and in the article, it is ever more important for the parties involved to be aware of what the policy and implementation are affecting.

Another issue that came to mind as I was reading through other articles was the impact of branch campuses and transnational education on the local institutions. The article mentions how the branch campuses often are able to hire better faculty because they can offer better pay than local public institutions, which takes away from the local institutions. And there is concern that graduates from the branch campuses will be more attractive in the eyes of potential employers. While it is great and understandable why a country would want to engage in more internationalization, it is increasingly important that policies are created and implemented with an all encompassing picture of the entire higher education landscape in mind (both local and international).

The reading also touches upon how there is little focus on helping students returning from abroad transition back, which undermines the effectiveness of the internationalization initiative. I remember when I returned from studying abroad, even something as simple as being able to speak with others who were returning helped with the transition and also with how to better promote the skills learned from the experience to future employers. If one of the motivations to internationalization is to better the economy and society, then it is definitely important to help those who return learn how to effectively use the experiences they gained.

W3- Assessment of International Higher Ed.

This week’s portion of the ACE Report touched on a topic that has been the “hot button” topic in higher education in recent years and how it is certainly relevant to the success of international higher education programs around the world. This topic is assessment: how do countries or institutions show that international higher education programs and policies are actually achieving the outcomes and objectives they claim to achieve. Organizations such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recent made it clear that assessing learning and outcomes should be a global effort. As higher education expands beyond national boarders, it is important to identify what we want students to get from studying or living abroad and what quality of education they are receiving. As the director for education and skills of OECD states “Unless we measure learning outcomes, judgements about the quality of teaching and learning at higher education institutions will continue to be made on the basis of flawed international rankings, derived not from outcomes, not even outputs—but from idiosyncratic inputs and reputation surveys”.

The assessment of international higher education learning objectives should require more than just simply counting the number of students in international programs or leaving the country. Assessment should involve assessing the promises of having an international education, such as cultural understanding and job marketability. As we discussed in class, education abroad constantly promises that these experiences help the student develop their soft-skills, which would make them more desirable in a competitive and globalized job market. Like the report states, measuring the effectiveness of the long-term goals of international higher education is more difficult because these goals involve intangible variables that are difficult to measure and they require more studies that expand over time and countries. However, it can be done and it is necessary that institutions and countries to do these assessments.

I believe that conducting these assessments and having the information to back up what international higher education promises will allow it to expand and to grow as an essential part of education, especially in the US. Without assessment and its findings all those promises about how great international higher education is for students are just empty claims to potential students and their parents. As skepticism about US higher education and it value increases along with its price, parents and students need to be won over with solid data from assessment in order to be sold on international higher education. Students and their parents need to be able to see the end results and outcomes for programs and how it benefits the student before investing in it.

W3-Ace Report (Part II)

This week’s reading in the ACE Report focused on a myriad of issues concerning Internationalizing Higher Education Worldwide and highlighted additional key elements to build upon our previous readings.  For example, in the context of cross-border education, the concept of mobility as a cornerstone of international higher education policies was discussed as well as the crucial role of “other influencers” and the central role of national governments.  Cross-border education has been defined as “the movement of people, programmes, providers, curricula, projects, research and services, across national or regional jurisdictional borders” (ACE Report, p. 38).  This week’s reading highlighted the “importance of jurisdictional boundaries when it comes to policy frameworks and regulations” (ACE Report, p. 38).

While in previous readings, I had focused on the role of regional governments, particularly in Asia, this week emphasized the key role national governments play in regulating cross-border educational activity.  I was particularly intrigued by the regulatory policy example of India.  As the reading details, while India is one of the largest exporters of students seeking higher educational opportunities outside of India, the country has a definitive international higher education policy regulating cross-border activity within its own boundaries. This fact was somewhat surprising to me and I wonder if it fosters notions of reciprocal benefits and common values in the internationalization arena or stymies those goals.

For example, the ACE Report explains that India’s policy toward international higher education is not static, but instead “debated intensely” such that it does not allow independent branch campuses on Indian soil.  India requires that international higher education programs be carried out through partnering with Indian higher education institutions.  And these partnerships are themselves highly regulated such that there are “specific parameters” to govern them.  Most interesting to me was the requirement that Indian law requires foreign educational institutions to be accredited and been offering educational services for at least twenty years.  In addition, there are specific ranking requirements that must be met to for an international higher education institution to operate in India. (See generally, ACE Report, p. 41-42).

These various requirements seem like smart ones and would appear to mitigate against sham operations and ensure quality of educational services in the cross-border context that may be otherwise difficult to monitor.  However, do such specific requirements thwart flexibility in internationalization efforts and a lack of agility to develop robust and innovative partnerships?  An interesting question that has been framed for me in the ACE Reports analysis of India’s regulation in the cross-border context is how does a country’s national government ensure quality and standards in educational services against flexibility and reciprocal benefits in the cross-border context.

The ACE Report suggests that India may be moving toward more lax rules to make way for independent branch campuses and allow for foreign curricula and teachers.  But current criticism remains regarding stringent rules and the politicization of higher education in India (see https://www.timeshighereducation.com/comment/philip-altbach-indias-passage-might-not-be-simple-but-it-can-climb-to-elite-tier).  And there are no definitive calls for change to policy among the Association of Indian Universities’ International webpage (see http://www.aiu.ac.in/International/International.asp).

With respect to the role of national governments in cross-border issues and internationalization, India appears to be an interesting case study as a nation that heavily regulates in this space but may be at the cusp of certain, more open policy reform to make entering the Indian higher education market easier and more dynamic.  If such changes take place, it will be interesting to see how the internationalization trajectory in India develops and whether it can balance quality against collaboration and flexible regulatory requirements.