Tag Archives: international students

Violent Attacks on Higher Education Globally

January 10th, 2020

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The protesters inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Monday, photographer: Lam Yik Fei (NYT)

 

According to a 2019 report from Scholars at Risk (SAR), there have been “97 violent incidents involving attacks on higher education communities across 40 countries. At least 32 students, scholars, staff, campus security personnel and others died as a result of these attacks, with many more injured.”

University campuses have been turned into battlegrounds where demonstrations have turned violent and at times deadly. An article in World University News provides a disturbing look at the level of violence against students and faculty that seems to have escalated on university campuses across the globe. Click here to read more.

Here is a glimpse into four countries where recent protests have impacted universities and the lives of students:

Chile

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In November 2019, anger against metro fare hikes sparked mass demonstrations across the country with students protesting against the high cost of higher education. Demonstrations turned violent forcing several universities in Chile to close their campuses in response to safety concerns.  Source: Scientific American

Ethiopia

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Ethnic tensions have claimed the lives of seven students at universities across the country in the past three months. This has prompted Ethiopian government to deploy its federal police to universities across the country to help calm the tense situation. Source: Reuters

Hong Kong

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The pro-democracy student protests in Hong Kong which started more than six months ago have continued into this new year. Hong Kong’s universities have been sanctuaries for the young protesters who wish to preserve Hong Kong’s autonomy from China. Several university campuses have become the battleground of the student protests resulting in the temporary closure of some universities and suspension of classes. Source: The New York Times

India

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On Sunday, January 5, 2019, dozens of masked men and women armed with sticks and iron rods shouting slogans used by India’s ruling right-wing Hindu nationalist party attacked students and professors at India’s prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, injuring more than 30 people. Eyewitnesses alleged that police did not stop the violence but had joined the attackers in beating up students. Source: University World News


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Countries Offering Virtually Free Higher Education

January 3rd, 2020

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Source: german-u15.de

It is a known fact that higher education in the U.S. is a costly endeavor. When one factors in the cost of tuition, housing, text books and living expenses, a student can look into tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars debt on graduation. Some are able to offset the cost by qualifying for grants and scholarship but many will have to take student loans and carry the burden of paying them off over a long period of time. According to a 2011 report from OECD, the average annual tuition for US public colleges cost more than $6,000. And, according to Value Penguin, the average cost of US in-state public university can total $25,290 a year, when you take into consideration the cost of living, books and other expenses.

There are countries where the cost of attending university is not only affordable but in most cases free. These countries manage to subsidize higher education for their citizens through higher taxes in order to guarantee access to affordable education. Some Americans are looking abroad to pursue their higher education in countries that offer international students free education.

Here are seven countries where higher education is virtually free:

Norway
Sweden
Finland
Germany
Slovenia
France
Ireland

Here are the countries which offer virtually free education to their citizens and international students:

  • Brazil: For international students, university education is free when taking classes taught in Portuguese
  • Czech Republic: For international students, university education is free when taking classes taught in the Czech language
  • Finland
  • France: Free classes available to  European Union citizens
  • Germany
  • Greece: For international students, university education is free when taking classes taught in Greek
  • Classes are taught in Greek
  • Iceland
  • Kenya: Free tuition available to high-scoring secondary school students
  • Luxembourg
  • Norway: Tuition is fee but living expenses come at a very high cost
  • Panama
  • Slovenia: Free education for EU citizens
  • Sweden: Free education for EU citizens

Sources:
http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/countries-with-free-college/
https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/080616/6-countries-virtually-free-college-tuition.asp
https://www.businessinsider.com/countries-with-free-higher-education-no-tuition-college#ireland-has-paid-tuition-fees-for-most-full-time-undergraduate-students-since-1995-4


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Don’t Give up, Keep at it! 7 Steps for US HEIs to remain competitive in International Education

December 13th, 2019

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The reports are coming in, and they each speak of declines in the number of international students at U.S. institutions of higher education (HEIs). Panic has set in and decisions based on panic never turn out to be sound or prudent. They are short sighted and cause more damage than good. Panic prompts HEIs to retrench, which leads to laying off staff in international admissions and cutting back on student recruitment. The drop in international student numbers shows itself quickly with a decline in dollars generated from tuition and fees which prompt universities to slash their budgets, cut back on staffing that translate to reduced course offerings and less seats available for prospective domestic students. People forget that the tuition from international students help subsidize a large portion of the infrastructure of institutions, supporting more courses and faculty and more seats available to domestic students. International students also help by participating in the general economy, they are, after all, consumers just like you and me and besides paying their college tuition, they are also spending dollars in the local community.

No matter who or what political party is in power, we forget that the U.S. economy hinges on the global market and our global competitiveness is in trouble, which includes our competitiveness in the international student market. Combining the number of international students in the US government’s net migration target is a flawed policy. We have and continue to have a political environment laden with extreme political opinions where one group is adamantly pro and another passionately against internationalization. Neither point of view is accurate since extremes in any which way tend to be flawed and too simplistic on how the domestic and global market are intertwined and function together as a unit and not separately. The more we remain engaged globally the more we can encourage the coming together of people, ideas and innovations, that will help us better address the challenges that face us.

When the political climate insinuates that internationalization is bad, it trickles down to all sectors of the economy and community, and those of us in international education feel its immediate effects on our campuses and in periphery services supporting our HEIs. Suddenly, there is a dis-ease within the international student community about coming to the US to study. They fear for their safety, they anticipate difficulties in obtaining a student visa and express concern about how they will be treated on arrival at a U.S. airport by customs and immigration officers and by their peers on the university campuses. We have, unfortunately, not been sending a warm welcoming message to the world in this past year and it is resonating loudly and clearly around the globe.

Say what we want, but we live in a competitive world, and when it comes to international education, the U.S. HEIs are competitive to the extent that they remain in the field. Rather than retreating, U.S. HEIs must stay in the game and compete successfully with their counterparts in UK, Canada, Australia, and emerging markets such as China and India. In fact, this is exactly the time for HEIs to collectively work on maintaining a robust marketing and promotion campaign to counter the negative perceptions about international education and students by dispelling myths that deter students from wanting to study in the U.S.

What must US HEI’s do?

1. Intellectual Contribution: Reinforce and Raise Awareness

In an article in The Times Higher Education, Dame Nemat Minouche Shafik, Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science states: “…we need to reinforce, raise awareness of and spread the well-established principles that govern what constitutes a valid intellectual contribution. Practices such as peer review, competitive process for funding research, requirements to publish data, and transparency about conflicts of interest are fundamental to academic life. Most people are unaware of these practices, which are the bedrocks of academic quality and progress – we need to spread the practices to other domains such as think tanks and the media.” These are the hallmarks of U.S. higher education and US HEIs need to carefully craft the language that expresses and conveys this to the public without sounding elitist or academic.

2. Messaging

Which brings us to messaging. Where we seem to have faltered is in our messaging and doing a so-so job at communicating without sounding self-serving. We need to turn things around and emphasize the benefits brought to the community and country by international education and students. We need to use the Internet and social media platforms effectively and share personal stories and progresses in research in a language that is approachable and inclusive, one that will draw in the very camp that is opposed to internationalization. In the same report in the Times Higher Education, Dame Shafik suggests one way to accomplish effective messaging is by “working with thoughtful and effective storytellers to reach a wider public – consider, for example, Sir David Attenborough’s work to raise awareness of the environment or Michael Lewis on the risks inherent in financial markets.” Here are a few suggestions to incorporate in our individual and collective messaging on the unique benefits of international students and scholars:

  • Promotes U.S. foreign policy and international leadership
  • Helps the growth of U.S. knowledge economy
  • Spending by the international students and their dependents contributes significantly to the U.S. economy (approximately $13.5 billion)
  • Education exchange is benefits U.S. education as much as it does the international students
  • Education exchanges enhances and ensures U.S. security

3. Tools to Train an Informed Citizenry

While we craft the messaging to the world outside our campuses, our work as educators means that we must also commit to teaching and training our domestic students to become more discerning citizens. We need to teach them the tools they need that will instill in them an appreciation to be critical thinkers, learn how to distinguish propaganda and disinformation from facts so they are better prepared to engage and debate as informed citizens. Our domestic students will serve as our campus ambassadors and who better than they to welcome the international students.

4. Promote Healthy Debate

From teaching and training students to be critical thinkers, we segue to what is deemed as challenging by most and that is creating a space that respects different opinions and allowing both sides to debate and share their points of view, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel. Absence of this neutral zone for public debate hinders any progress we would like to see in raising awareness on the importance and benefits of institutions of higher education. By allowing and fostering healthy debate on our campuses, we can help broaden the minds of our domestic students who may have a narrow opinion on what it is to be an international student.

5. Promote Diversity and Foster Inclusion

Whether it is our intellectual contributions, messaging, training and informed citizenry, and promoting healthy debate, one thing we cannot and should not forget is that the USA is not a homogenized nation but one that is uniquely diverse whose citizens have ancestry representative of every country on the planet. Simply put, what makes the USA unique is the sheer magnitude of its diversity of people. In fact, this diversity must and should be front and center in our conversation with potential international students. It is this diversity that sets the US apart and we should embrace and promote it.

6. Support Study Abroad

Promoting internationalization on our campuses, is a two-way street. At the risk of sounding repetitive, since this message has been expressed before by others, our HEIs need to demonstrate their commitment by being global leaders in higher education by having in place a robust study abroad program and encourage and support study abroad opportunities for their domestic students, and preferably to countries where learning a foreign language is a prerequisite. This experience will foster a camaraderie and mutual understanding between a returning domestic student from studying abroad and a fellow international student at his/her home campus.

7. Don’t Abandon the Marketing Plan

At the sight of trouble, or a downturn in economy, businesses tend to quickly react and slash their marketing budgeting. HEIs do the same, they cut back on recruitment, outreach, and promotion of their programs overseas. Rather than putting marketing on an indefinite hold, a plan needs to be thoughtfully put into place as to how to keep the messaging alive and robust. The first sign of retreat and defeat is to slam on the marketing brakes when the economy is slowing down. We need to keep the messaging consistent, clear and loud.

If we are not careful and let panic set in, the years of work that have made the US an attractive destination for education for students from around the world will be lost and regaining that competitive edge will take a very long time to recover.

HEIs needs to demonstrate the benefits of international education and international students and their value to the community and US economy. HEIs must not simply accept the current dictates set by government as a given. Rather than retrench and retreat, we need to push on and keep at it!

Is your institution experiencing a decline in the number of international student applications? Please share with us what steps your institution has taken or is taking to address this issue.

Sources:

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/opinion/experts-must-fight-back

http://www.nafsa.org/uploadedFiles/NAFSA_Home/Resource_Library_Assets/Public_Policy/restoring_u.s.pdf

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/01/22/nsf-report-documents-declines-international-enrollments-after-years-growth

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Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

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International Students Enrollment Numbers Drop

November 22nd, 2019

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On Monday, November 18, 2019, the Institute of International Education (IIE) released the latest 2019 Open Doors report confirming that international student enrolment in the US is steadily declining. The annual Open Doors report is compiled jointly by the IIE and the US State Department.

In this week’s blog we will offer a quick summary of the outcomes of this report.

  1. For the 2018-2019 school among 19,828,000 total students in institutions of higher education in the U.S.,1,095,299 were international students which is 5.5% of all college and university students in the U.S.
  2. According to VOA new: The numbers showed a slight increase in total international enrolment, 0.05 percent from the previous year, but a decrease in new international student enrolment, -0.9 percent.
  3. The Open Doors Report shows decreases in undergraduate (-2.4%), graduate (-1.3%) and non-degree (-0.5%) enrollments.

Subsequent news reports reacting to the 2019 Open Doors cite the following as reasons for the declining numbers of international student enrollments:

  1. Negative perception of President Donald Trump and the growing negative rhetoric regarding international visitors, immigrants, and non-U.S. citizens.
  2. International students concern about gun violence and their safety on U.S. college campuses and cities at large.
  3. Sharp rise in value of S. dollar in 2015 and 2016.
  4. Saudi Arabia’s decision in 2016 to cut back on its scholarship impacted the number of Saudi students coming to study in the U.S.
  5. According to an OpEd by Justin Fox in Bloomberg, “public universities in the U.S. aren’t quite as desperate for full-tuition-paying international students as they were a few years ago, with state per-student spendingup 15% in real terms since 2012-2013.”
  6. S. higher education faces fierce competition from Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom when it comes to attracting international students. Lower tuition and safety make these countries a more attractive option.

According to estimates from NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the continued decline in international student enrollment since the fall of 2016 has cost the US economy $11.8 billion and more than 65,000 jobs.

Can the U.S. reverse this tide? Can it reclaim its #1 ranking as the destination for international students and regain its dominance? If so, how?

Helpful links:

https://studyinternational.com/news/trump-blame-decline-international-students-us

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-11-18/trump-is-scaring-away-some-foreign-students

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/19/business/international-students-decline/index.html

https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2019/11/18/international-enrollments-declined-undergraduate-graduate-and


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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What is Transnational Education?

November 1st, 2019

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We have been hearing the term “transnational education” used when referring to distance learning programs, teaching partnerships, off-shore campuses, and MOOCs. And we can be sure that with the global demand for higher education overpowering supply, transnational education will continue to grow and assume permanency in our lexicon.

Although there are many definitions and interpretations, the definition provided by the UNESCO/Council of Europe Code of Good Practice in the Provision of Transnational Education (Riga, 6 June 2001), states “all types of higher education study programmes, or sets of courses of study, or educational services (including those of distance education) in which the learners are located in a country different from the one where the awarding institution is based”.

Transnational Education may include any one of these arrangements:

  • Articulation
  • Course-to-Course Credit Transfer
  • Branch Campus
  • Franchising
  • Joint Degree
  • Dual Degree
  • Distance Delivery
  • Progression Agreement or Sequential Degrees
  • Degree Validation

If your institution is exploring engaging in any one of the above-mentioned arrangements, there are a number of informative papers and articles on the subject. Rather, than repeat the same information and guidelines, below is a list of a few reports with links you may find useful to visit.

CIMEA: http://www.cimea.it/files/fileusers/5592_2004-What%20is%20transnational%20education.pdf
EAIE: https://www.eaie.org/blog/key-elements-transnational-education-tne.html
NAVITAS: https://medium.com/navitas-ventures/transnational-education-partnerships-and-internationalisation-gei-75-6fc581aa5122
INSIDE HIGHER EDUCATION: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/world-view/transnational-education-what-impact-local-institutions


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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8 Quick Facts about Canada’s New International Education Strategy

September 6th, 2019

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If you haven’t heard, Canada has outlined a five-year CA$148 million plan to bolster its international student recruitment and study abroad. The government sees this as a valuable investment for a future work force that will have an international perspective with strong global networks and cultural savviness in new markets and regions that will only strengthen Canada.

What is Canada doing to diversify its global recruiting efforts in the tertiary sector?

  1. First, it’s the federal government’s financial commitment to the initiative and Canada is doing this by pledging nearly CA$30-million over the next 5 years for its diversification efforts.
  2. Targeting countries with a large and growing middle class which may have limited capacity to accommodate the higher education needs of their student population.
  3. Focusing on regions of the world where receiving a Canadian education in English or French is appealing.
  4. Brazil, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine, are the countries where the Canadian government will focus its marketing efforts.
  5. The government will also attract international students to attend schools in Canada’s smaller cities to bring economic benefits to regions that have received fewer immigrants.
  6. The government will make it possible for some of the international students who complete their studies in Canada to apply for permanent residency in an effort to retain their knowledge and networks.
  7. The government has also planned to allocate $95-million to encourage and support Canadian students to study abroad in countries in Asia and Latin America.
  8. The initiative will also dedicate financial support for study abroad opportunities for Indigenous and low-income students, and students with disabilities.

Sources:

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-trudeau-government-outlines-five-year-148-million-plan-to-attract/

https://thepienews.com/news/canada-federal-budget-millions/


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Dispatches from 2019 EducationUSA Forum, Washington, DC

August 2nd, 2018

educationusa

For the uninitiated, EducationUSA is a “U.S. Department of State network of over 425 international student advising centers in 178 countries. The network promotes U.S. higher education to students around the world by offering accurate, comprehensive, and current information about opportunities to study at accredited postsecondary institutions in the United States. EducationUSA also provides services to the U.S. higher education community to help institutional leaders meet their recruitment and campus internationalization goals. EducationUSA is your official source on U.S. higher education.”

Each year, EducationUSA hosts its Forum in Washington, DC bringing together representatives from U.S. higher education institutions and EducationUSA REAC (Regional Educational Advising Coordinators) and Advisors. For the first time this year, EducationUSA opened its registration to non-U.S. HEIs such as NGOs, agents, and third party service providers such as credential evaluation organizations. On the first day of the forum, as a first time attendee, I decided to attend the sessions offering the regional overviews where REACs and Advisors offered first hand information on the regions and countries they represent.

The overviews in most cases are general snapshots of the current state of a country’s economy, student population and trends concerning study abroad. Here’s a brief summary of some the key takeaways from the sessions I attended:

South American Overview

  • 10% of international students coming to the U.S. are from this region
  • There is a rise in the number of students coming to the U.S. from the Caribbean
  • Uruguay is showing a 25.8% increase in number of students it sends to the U.S.
  • Colombia receives a large number of students from the U.S. for study abroad
  • Colombia and Ecuador favor the U.S. as a study abroad destination

Bolivia

  • Impacted by the 2019-2010 local political changes
  • Growing middle class
  • English is a barrier
  • Has strong economy but not sustainable
  • Central and regional governments have put in place a scholarship initiative
  • Visits to Bolivia by U.S. HEIs yield immediate results

Colombia

  • Students and their parents seek affordable options for their international education
  • Government offers scholarships mostly at the graduate level
  • Has strong local universities which are well-positioned for partnerships with U.S.
  • HEIs
  • COLFUTURO is an NGO set up to help with partnerships between institutions

Ecuador

  • Experiencing an economic recession
  • Changes in local education policies might make parents sent their children overseas
  • Other countries have a strong presence in Ecuador to recruit students
  • Coastal and highland regions are very different and require different recruitment strategies
    Enjoys a strong network of local institutions

Peru

  • Government invests in higher education
  • Quality of education at the high school level has improved
  • Increase interest from Peruvians to study abroad
  • Local economic environment has students concerned about their education and future employment opportunities

Venezuela

  • U.S. Embassy in Caracas is temporarily closed
  • Visas are issued at U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia
  • Venezuelans are applying for admission to U.S. HEIs while based in other countries

Southern Cone Region: Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay

  • Safety and security is not as much of a concern since their own regions have security issues
  • China is a big competitor, e.g. Confucius Institute
  • Canada, Australia, France, German and Portugal (focus on Brazil) are the other big players in the region
  • Foreign governments offer scholarships and affordable higher education
  • Student mobility from the southern cone regions of S. America is on the rise
  • Big trend is Brazil’s partnership programs at the Grade 10-12 levels.

Chile

  • Creation of the Math, Science, Technology, Innovation and Knowledge initiative in 2019
  • Chilean universities looking to internationalizing their campuses

Paraguay

  • Showing interest in internationalization and partnerships

Uruguay

  • Popular fields of study for its students studying abroad: Law (LLM), Social Sciences,
  • Business/Economics, Engineering, Computer Science and Design

Europe and Eurasia Overview
U.S. HEIs would need to highlight the following features of U.S. education to attract students from this region:

  • Liberal Arts education
  • Internships, Co-ops and OPTs after graduation
  • Financial incentives (e.g. merit-based or athletic scholarships)
  • The multicultural aspects of U.S. college campuses
  • Research takes place at the smallest and largest HEIs
  • Vibrancy of campus communities that provide a fully immersive experience
  • English language skill development

Additional takeaways:

  • Top majors favored by Ukrainian students include Business, STEM, and Law (LLM)
  • Germany, France, UK, and The Netherlands are the key competitors of U.S. as they offer more affordable higher education and have 3-year degrees
  • U.S. HEIs would need to attend more education fairs in Europe and show their presence
  • Hold webinars
  • Use alumni to help promote
  • There has been an increase of 40% in the number of Albanian students studying in the U.S. in the past 5 years and majority are enrolled at U.S. community colleges
  • Serbia is showing interest for study abroad
  • Russian students are supported by families who have funds to support their study abroad
  • 50% of Belgian students in the U.S. are enrolled in undergraduate programs, some are enrolled in short-term program and some are part of student-exchange and language programs. Why? Less time spent time from home.
  • Most popular short-term programs: England language
  • Countries with large number of ESL students: Switzerland, France, Germany, and Russia

I also attended the following sessions: East Asia & Pacific Region Overview; Advancing Institutional Partnerships in Europe and Eurasia; Recruiting in Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh; Recruiting in Francophone Africa. There is still one more day left before the EdUSA Forum ends, but for the purpose of this blog, I’ll stop here and hope to have more to share in a follow-up post.

Before I forget, Assistant Secretary of State, Mary Royce spoke at the luncheon yesterday. I best leave you with a link to the article written about her speech issued by InsideHigherEducation as I will not be able to do it justice. In a nut shell, Ms. Royce painted a disturbing picture of Chinese students studying at U.S. institutions. As the article asks: was hers a “welcome message or a warning?” Unfortunately, the attendees saw nothing welcoming about the message.


jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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