The numbers are in and they do not look good for US universities.
The country’s higher education industry have been predicting a drop in enrolments since last year, and the latest stats from ICEF confirm the bleak outlook for autumn 2017.
According to University World News, a ICEF report had a survey that found only a third of US colleges and universities are expected to hit their enrolment targets for September.
ICEF Monitor last week reported first-time international enrolment in US graduate programme has fallen by 0.9 percent, the first such decline reported since 2003.
A good deal of senior admissions officers (85 percent) report they are very concerned about reaching their institution’s targets for the next academic year.
Marguerite Dennis, a consultant on higher education matters, argues in an article that the poor recruitment results in US and UK this year is a result of rising nationalism on its soil.
Certain segments of society in these countries, especially those who aren’t doing too good economically, are blaming their plight on their country’s porous borders. Globalisation and cosmopolitan elites are said to be the reason why they are losing jobs and their national identity.
We saw this in the election of US President Donald Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again” and in the anti-immigration rhetoric floating about during Britain’s referendum to leave the European Union.
They may have some valid points and their anger may be justified, but the methods taken to express their discontent may not be the most effective.
“Internationalisation is increasingly construed as an ideology of urbanised so-called ‘elites’ and is increasingly feared, resented and now actively opposed by those who perceive they are being left behind or left out altogether,” Dennis Murray wrote in University World News last December.
“Our confidence in the positives of increased engagement and integration of communities, economies and education systems, and in deepening international and intercultural engagement generally, is receiving a reality-check,” Murray said.
The consultant Dennis, suggests universities take note of these changes in geopolitics, as well as hiring the right people and carving their international recruitment strategies based on this.
“Nationalist movements have the potential to threaten and disrupt the global and collaborative nature of higher education and also to disrupt the enrolment and financial stability of colleges and universities around the world. Current recruitment practices may no longer be as relevant tomorrow as they were yesterday. Or today.”