Global student flows are changing as fast as the world economy. The focus of international student mobility is unmistakably shifting east, as emerging economies have started to invest heavily in their domestic higher education systems. Countries that used to be the hunting grounds for rich countries’ student recruiters have in turn become exceedingly appealing to both their home students and students from neighbouring countries in the same region.
These trends became manifest well before many Western countries were struck by the financial crisis and before public spending on higher education came under pressure in most of Europe and North America.
Although the importance of higher education for the prosperity of 21
century societies is rarely disputed and international competition for the globe’s brightest students is becoming increasingly fierce, few encompassing accounts of this new reality have yet appeared. Nuffic has set out to explore strategies and tendencies in the craft of international student recruitment: what do other countries do and what can we learn from them?
The UK, Switzerland, Germany, Australia and Singapore arguably have developed the most advanced international student recruitment strategies. With over half of all Dutch master’s degree programmes being offered in English, there is scope to attract more international master’s students. However, in comparison the Netherlands has high student visa costs, strict student immigration regulations and high tuition fees for non-EU students and offers limited scholarship opportunities. One could argue that Dutch institutions are competing with an increasing number of global players for the best minds in the world with one hand tied behind their backs. The full Nuffic report provides many more insights into global student recruitment:
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