Survey: Int'l Student Recruitment a Top Priority for Universities in Australia, Canada & UK

Australia Oceania International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Oct 16, 2023

Students

International students remain a priority for university leaders in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, a survey has found.

The study from international management consultancy Nous Group and global education provider Navitas found that the focus on international student recruitment is, among others, related to the need to recover from pandemic losses.

According to the authors of the report titled “Thriving in a Hyper Competitive World,” the need for more international students can also be attributed to lack of public funding for universities, rising operational expenses, and reduced numbers of Chinese students, Erudera.com reports.

48 percent of university leaders strongly agreed that internationalization is a high priority at their university, while 46 percent answered with “agree.”

According to the report, in all three surveyed countries, about half of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the university where they work has the skills and capabilities. However, the share of leaders who disagreed was somewhat higher in Australia and the UK than in Canada.

33 percent of respondents said they strongly agree that internationalization is well supported across senior levels at the university where they serve, 43 percent said they agree, and 15 percent expressed neutrality.

“To ensure they can deliver on their institutional strategy, international leaders must present a vision that takes into account the university’s constrained resources and the competing agendas of diverse stakeholders,” the report reads.

University leaders said they are counting on local representatives, and private partnerships, including companies that facilitate student admissions to universities.

When leaders were asked about their priorities in the recruitment process, like earning more from international students, admitting more students, having a diverse student body, and improving education quality, they said that earning more was the most important.

In other words, 52 percent of leaders said money is the most important, 28 percent said attracting more students, and less than 15 percent mentioned diversity or quality as their priority.

“There are thus very few universities that are planning to achieve quality and diversity by turning students away or substantially raising acquisition costs per student,” the report states.

Many survey participants predict their university will increase tuition fees for international students in the upcoming years. This expectation stems from 2020 and 2022 when increases in fees were either minimal or nonexistent.

Australia, Canada, and the UK are among the countries with most international students. Data indicate the number of international students in Australia totaled 710,893 for the January-July 2023 period, while in Canada, there were 807,750 study permit holders, including those in higher education, in 2022.

According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), 679,970 international students studied in the United Kingdom in the 2021/22 academic year.

>> International Students Are Returning to Australia, 60,000 More Entered This July

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