W4 – Internationalization of U.S. Higher Education – Key Players and Funding

The ACE report Internationalizing U.S. Higher Education is a follow up on the ACE report Internationalizing Higher Education Worldwide, which discusses key players, current initiatives, potential of the internationalization of higher education in the US and the most sensitive topic: funding.

One of the main points brought up throughout the report is the lack of centralized national government agency that oversees and funds the activities of internationalization throughout the whole country. Although the report does mention that having a centralized agency might not be as effective in the US due to the size of the industry at home, it still seems to be the main and biggest difference that separates the US efforts of internationalization of higher education to the rest of the world.

I do believe that creating a single entity initiating and overseeing all internationalization efforts will not be as effective in the United States as it is in the rest of the world. Here in the United States, each individual state values their independence and choices they make, and internationalization might not be at the same priority level for each state. I also don’t think having centralized agency would be to the best interest of the people. Having several agencies, individual  states and institutions involved in creating/initiating these policies will create variety of unique programs and policies, as each of them look at internationalization from the own perspective that serves different purposes, instead of just focusing on one, when only one agency makes the decisions.

On the other hand, what needs to be centralized and prioritized on the national level here in the United States, is the funding for such initiatives. The US government needs to be more involved and needs to capitalize on the future outcomes of investing into internationalization in higher education and the level of its importance for the future economy. According to the 2014 Rockefeller Report States go global: State government engagement in higher education internationalization, “The U.S Government Accountability Office reported that international student have been important sources of innovation and productivity in our increasingly knowledge-based economy, brought needed research and workforce skills, and strengthened our labor force” (P. 5-6). So the government understands the importance of internationalization, however funding is still scarce. Could the limited funding for internationalization in higher education be a part of the overall problem of increasing tuition and debt we have in this country? The funding for the global education initiatives could be a matter of priorities the government needs to make in their overall budget, but it might also be a matter of a much bigger national underlying problem that needs to be addressed first.

 

Natallia Kolbun