5 Reasons to Hire an Online Marketing Company to Help Reach and Recruit International Students

You have an in depth website, are active Facebook & Twitter. Your campus videos are uploaded to your school’s YouTube channel and you are getting into Google+. So why would you hire and online marketing company to help reach and recruit international students? Here are five reasons to hire an online marketing company to help reach and recruit international students.

1. Reach – How many students find your website or engage with you via your social media channels? Clearly those that are searching for it. But what about those that are not specifically looking for you, and maybe what you offer? By partnering with third party online marketing companies, you can expand your reach, brand and messaging to an audience much larger than you can reach on your own.

2. SEO – Online marketing companies, at least the good ones, know an awful lot about Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. A simple explanation of SEO, is the behind the scenes things that webmasters and web developers do to ensure a site can be found on search engines like Google. So if you partner with the right online marketing company and by listing your programs on their site, you will expand your reach significantly and more students will find out about your school and programs. You will benefit from their SEO efforts.

Take the example below. If you offer business programs and want to attract international students how are they going to find you? They do a simple Google search. If you search for, “Study business in the US”, our site InternationalStudent.com is ranked first in the free or organic listings. This is due to our SEO efforts. Notice there are not any schools listed other than through paid search.

Google Search Result

3. Expertise – In addition to SEO expertise, online marketing companies are good at many other things aspects of marketing. They will look at things such as traffic and how to increase it, time spent on each page, what the visitors are doing on the site, what do they want to do, how many are engaging with our sites and how many are converting to leads? They optimize everything from what the users sees to the forms on the school landing pages to make sure they convert. In addition to their own website or sites, they should have an email marketing team, that looks at many of the same things listed above, such as open rate, clicks and conversions all to maximize the campaign.

4. International – Another reason to hire an online marketing company is that domestic marketing or marketing to US students can be much different that marketing your school to international students across the globe. With different customs, languages, social media platforms, search engines, getting your message across and have it relate to an international student can be difficult to accomplish by trying it alone. When looking at an online marketing partner, make sure they have experience marketing to the parts of the globe where you are interested in reaching students.

5. Time and resources – Are you busy now? Can you handle all the online marketing efforts on your own in addition to everything else you have on your plate? By outsourcing or hiring a professional marketing company can be a cost-effective way to offload some of your duties. It will allow you to focus your team on what they are good at, whether that is managing agent relationships or traveling abroad to fairs, you will know your online marketing plan is in place and working without having to dedicate full time resources to it.

Have you considered working with a third party online marketing company?

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International Education Pick of the Week – 11 April 2014

pick-of-the-weekThis week we our international education pick of the week focuses attention right in our own backyard – international students and campus internationalization in Florida.  According to the Open Doors Report, Florida ranks 7th as far as hosting international students, with a grand total of 32,746, behind California (111,379), New York (88,250), Texas (62,923), Massachusetts (46,486), Illinois (39,132) and Pennsylvania (37,280).  The direct economic contribution to the state from these students is closing in on a billion dollars at $945,001,999.

The University of Florida leads the way, with 5,961 international students.  Here’s a sampling of a few more:

Florida International University: 3,018
University of Miami: 2,765
University of South Florida: 2,648
University of Central Florida: 1,925
Florida State University: 1726
Miami-Dade College: 1,579
Nova Southeastern University: 1,130
Embry-Riddle: 915
University of Tampa: 813
Broward College: 474
Valencia Community College: 471

This is certainly not a complete list, just a sampling, as there are many more colleges and universities in Florida that host sizable international student populations.  Nor is this list likely to be stable – many Florida schools are aggressively trying to grow their international student populations. An article this week in the Orlando Sun-Sentinel looks at the plans at a few Florida schools, which indicates that the number of international students in Florida will continue to surge.  According to the article,  UCF wants to more than double its number of international students to 5,000; the University of West Florida wants to double or triple its number of internationals; and even UF, with almost 6,000 international students already, is aggressively looking to increase that number.

The forces driving the increased recruiting of international students in Florida echo those around the country.  In an era when state funding for higher education has taken big hits, international students are a welcome source of money.  In addition, increasing campus internationalization is seen as a tremendous advantage for the school, helping to train future leaders in an interconnected world.  And Florida is a desirable location for many international students, offering big city opportunities in Miami, great research facilities in Gainesville and yes, plenty of beach access.

The article explores the critique that international students will take places from Floridians, as many of the schools on the list are public schools.  The schools, UF in particular, deny the allegation, saying the spots are unused transfer spots that do not reduce spots available to Floridians.   Of course, there’s a host of private schools in the state as well, not subject to such constraints, and the are also aggressively recruiting.  In any event, it seems fair to say that in five years, campuses and student bodies throughout Florida will look a lot more international than they do now!

As always, comments are welcome on this post, and we’ll answer them as quickly as we can. And if you have any suggestions for the pick of the week, please email or tweet us at @EnvisageIntl.

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Mobile Email Strategies

mobile-responsive-email-designWhat device, browser, or app do you use for email? According to Litmus, email opens on mobile devices topped 50% for the first time in December 2013. This means that overall more users were checking email on a phone than on a computer. Numbers will vary based on the target audience, however this is a trend that should continue.

So what can you do to best target these on-the-go users? There are several strategies in email design, each with pros and cons.

1. Scalable

A scalable email design is built with a single layout that is used across all devices, from mobile to desktop. The email is generally built for the desktop view and in mobile the email looks like a zoomed out version of the desktop view.

Pros: Easy to implement. Looks great on desktop.

Cons: Poorer user experience for mobile. Smaller text and buttons means the user needs to pinch and zoom.

2. Mobile First

A “mobile first” email design is usually a simpler, cleaner design, with content in a single column. The main body text is larger, usually 16px, and buttons are larger and easily clickable on a mobile device. The basic intent of a mobile-first email design is to make sure the email is easily viewable and clickable on a mobile device. The desktop view looks the same as the mobile view.

Pros: Looks great on mobile devices. Simpler design is usually easier to implement.

Cons: Desktop view can be less than ideal, with larger buttons and text.

3. Fluid

Email width changes to fit the screen size. Sizes for content and images are percentage based instead of fixed width, with text wrapping automatically.

Pros: Images and text resize automatically to fill the screen

Cons: Text can look really stretched out on a wider screen.

4. Responsive

Responsive email design uses media queries to show different content to different size devices. Basically, you can define a set of rules for how each item in the email displays on different size screens. Responsive design gives you the most control over how an email renders. This can range from simple changes to the font or hiding or showing entire elements on one screen size or another.

Pros: Very flexible. Able to create designs that work well on different size devices.

Cons: Not supported by a few key email providers (most notably, Gmail). More complex. Needs lots of testing.

Summary

There are several different options for designing email templates. All have pluses and minuses and range from simple to complex. With more and more emails being opened on mobile devices, mobile-friend emails are a must. Responsive email design is certainly the way things are moving today.

Responsive design gives you the most flexibility, with one big drawback…lack of support in some email clients, including both the Android and iPhone Gmail apps as well as web-based Gmail on the desktop. To counteract the lack of support for responsive design, consider designing an email that looks great on Gmail without media queries. Once your email looks good there, then apply responsive media queries to make your email look great on any device.

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Health Insurance Best Practices for the J1 Cultural Exchange World

j1-visa-best-practice-insuranceWith growing emphasis on improved experiences for cultural exchange participants on the U.S. State Department J1 Exchange Visitor Programs, we find it surprising that inadequate participant insurance coverage is still allowed and in place for a significant number of the eager young travelers who come to the U.S. each year. Each year during the renewal process, program sponsors have an opportunity to ensure their Plans provide accident and sickness insurance that not only meet program regulations but more importantly provides coverage adequate to meet the actual needs of their participants. The quality of participant insurance is a health and safety issue and directly impacts participant experience and public perception of the J1 program both in the US and abroad. In our opinion, it is only a matter of time before the issue of too lenient requirements or non-conforming coverage brings unwanted media attention or State Department sanction, or both. The question is, in drafting the new General Provisions (Sub-Part A) of the Exchange Visitor Program regulations, will the State Department sufficiently address and police insurance coverage requirements or will sponsors be allowed to continue to cut corners on an element of the program vital to the wellbeing of participants?

On September 22nd 2009, the US State Department published a proposed rule with request for comment regarding the proposed amendments to Sub-Part A of the Exchange Visitor Program regulations. Covering a wide range of topics, the proposed rule also included changes to the levels of insurance coverage that were originally put into effect back in 1993 and redesignated in October of 1999.

With these new insurance requirements looming, here are our health insurance best practices for the J1 Cultural Exchange world into the USA:

Coverage Maximum

It’s very clear that the current levels of coverage aren’t enough. Having come into force over 20 years ago, what was once adequate coverage, is now in-adequate. To give you a better idea, here are some real-life examples of injuries and illnesses and their related costs over the past 12 months:

  • Acute Appendicitis – $60,000
  • Major Car Accident with ICU – $260,000
  • Back Injury from Bicycle Accident – $85,000

Clearly with the rising costs of medical care and medical inflation over the last 20 years, the current levels are too low, and the introduction of Sub-Part A is very welcomed. Our guidance has always been that $50,000 is not sufficient, and that coverage should either be at $100,000, or better yet at $200,000. If Sub-Part A does come back again this year with $200,000 as the guide for the policy minimum, this will certainly bring the level of coverage to 2014 standards – it would be in very rare circumstances that $200,000 would be necessary but in the case of the care accident highlighted above, it can happen.

Carrier/Underwriter

Your insurance carrier/underwriter is the financial backbone of your insurance plan, and for this reason you should be very mindful of all aspects about them, such as their reputation in the industry, experience in the market and of course their insurance rating. A few key areas that should be pinpointed:

Foreign/Domestic

There are both foreign and domestic insurance carriers/underwriters that offer great coverage for the cultural exchange market. Domestic carriers such as Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and AIG/Chartis tend to offer organizations a name they know and trust, along with usually a good reputation and a strong PPO network in the US. The issue to watch for is that a domestic carrier may lack the expertise to deal with the large number of foreign participants all descending into the USA at the same time. Issues such as accepting international names, where a participant might have the same first and last name or hyphenated names could create problems in systems not designed for these formats. Billing and admin processes that are setup for the US market, the sheer influx of participants over the summer months and the corresponding spike in claims and service needs can overload systems not programmed to manage such volume.

International carriers like Lloyds of London, InterHannover and ACE are typically more adept at handling international travelers, with technology and support systems in place around the globe and in the US. Foreign carriers also tend to be a little more flexible with benefits and pricing, as they have more experience with the global markets. The main point to look out for with a foreign carrier is to ensure they have a strong PPO network in the USA. The PPO network will be the primary point of access for your participants to seek treatment, and can also reduce your claims as strong PPO networks can negotiate good discounts. Without a strong PPO, claims can sometimes balloon out of control.

With that all said, there are good domestic and international carriers serving this market, so the choice will come down to the product, pricing, and reputation and experience in the market.

Reputation

When reviewing insurers, their reputation in the marketplace can be one of the strongest guides to how well they are performing. Look for 2 or 3 clients who are similar to you that are using their services, and even try to find past clients (if they have any) and find out the reason they moved. References from past and existing clients will give you an excellent window into their world and how they operate.

Market Experience

There are new carriers/underwriters that enter the cultural exchange market every few years. With little experience they can often offer lower rates and it can be a tempting option. However, you see these carriers exit the market a few years later due to either large claims or through their lack of experience with dealing with international participants. The experience factor can be vital to a successful plan, so that they understand how the business works in terms of claim patterns, billing arrangements, working with a solid PPO provider to obtain good network discounts, etc… A good question to always ask is “How long has the carrier been working in the cultural exchange market?” For a truly stable insurance solution, you want to see 5+ years experience as that would give them the time to really understand the marketplace.

Insurance Rating

A requirement of regulations for the J1 visa is that the carrier/underwriter needs to possess one of the following ratings:

  • an AM Best rating of “A-” or above
  • an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd (ISI) rating of “A-I” or above
  • a Standard and Poor’s Claims Paying Ability rating of “A-” or above
  • or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or above

In practice, carriers seem to rely on their AM Best or S&P rating, as the ISI ratings are no longer relevant and Weiss is not often used. The insurance rating needs to be held by the exact same entity that is underwriting your business, and is easy to check. Look on your insurance certificate for the name of the insurance carrier. Then search for them on the Standard and Poors or AM Best website. Each of those sites require that you create a free account, but once you do searching is simple:

http://www.standardandpoors.com/

http://www.ambest.com/

Ratings are a way to know how financially solid the insurance company is, and therefore how likely is it that the carrier will be able to pay claims as they come due. For a rating to be valid, it must be held by the same entity that appears on your certificate, not a parent company, subsidiary or member of a family of companies. Many insurance companies have complicated corporate structures, with many parent and subsidiary companies, often as a result of compliance requirements around the world or as liability protection. The rating of a parent company is no good if the subsidiary writes the business – that corporate structure protects the parent from the debts of the subsidiary. You cannot use one company’s rating to meet the requirements, while another company in the group writes the business.

Finally, you should check your carrier’s rating annually, as ratings change as the financial condition of the company and the risks it is exposed to change.

Service

The service and support your participants receive is one of the most important aspects of your insurance plan. Knowing that claims are being paid efficiently and participants are being responded to in a timely and professional manner are key points. When looking at the service aspect of your plan, there are a few key points to remember:

Location. For the J1 market it is imperative that the administration of the plan is located within the US, for service, support and a good understanding of the US healthcare system.

Provider Network.  A strong provider network (PPO Network) will help your participants with access to care and also provide important pricing discounts, as network providers have negotiated rates that will save your plan money in the long term.

Features. The extra features that your plan provides will make the administration easier for you and your participants. Do they offer online claims tracking? Access to documents online? Online enrollment?

Experience. The J1 market is very unique, and having an administrator that has experience in the market is vital. For example, with the summer work and travel program you have a huge number of participants entering the US, stay for a few short months, and then leave. Claims will all come in at one period, and your administrator will need to handle this large influx. Also dealing with international students should be taken into account as there may be a language barrier and claimants could be outside the USA when they follow up their claims.

Summary

With the increasing scrutiny on the J1 programs over the last few years, non-compliant or insufficient insurance coverage should not contribute to further issues. The changes due in Sub-Part A will address some of the concerns, but items like sufficient carrier ratings and industry experience are key areas that many can quickly check when looking at insurance providers. When participant health and safety is concerned, it should be a top priority.

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International Education Pick of the Week – 21 March 2014

pick-of-the-weekOne of the best and most inspiring parts of international education is the opportunity to exchange with people from around the world, regardless of the official relations between the respective countries.  The Open Doors Report shows international students in the US from countries where the US has difficult, strained or even non-existent government relations, including 8,744 Iranian students, 87 Cuban students and even 17 North Korean students. So we know that international educational exchange can continue in the face of rocky relations.  But with history in the making on the world stage, complete with chilling images of Russian troops occupying a sovereign nation, today’s international education pick of the week has to look at the Russian annexation of the Crimea.  First, we will look at the existing international education landscape, then I’ll highlight some of my favorite media pieces addressing the current crisis.

By the Numbers

There are 131 Americans studying in the Ukraine, and 1,777 in Russia, again according to the Open Doors Report.  Conversely, there are 1,490 Ukrainians studying in the US, and 4,898 Russians.  In addition, we know from direct experience that there are thousands of Russian and Ukrainian J1 participants, particularly on the Work and Travel program.

Insider Higher Ed reported earlier this month that several US study abroad programs had indeed been evacuating participants from the Ukraine.  I haven’t yet seen any reports of other international students leaving Ukraine’s universities, but according to the article, there are over 61,000 international students in Ukraine, mostly from Asia and former Soviet states.  Other US study abroad providers are considering cancelling certain programs in Russia.

Program cancellations are almost always as a result of participant safety considerations, not political ones. Therefore it’s unlikely that Ukrainian or Russian students would need to leave the US, regardless of the course of events.

Soviet re-Union?

There’s been all sorts of opinions and analysis in the Western press about the meaning of Russia’s actions, some of it really insightful, and you could spend weeks reading it all.   Does Putin want to rebuild the former Soviet Union? This article in the Star looks at multiple angles on the question. Should the Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) fear that they are next?   Although they are NATO members, where Ukraine isn’t, would that alliance protect them?   Reuters reported on recent Russian statements comparing treatment of Russian speakers in Estonia to the treatment of Russian speakers in Ukraine, the very issue cited by Putin for the move into the Crimea.  On the other hand, Russia says that it will fully protect the rights of minority populations in the Crimea, including Tatars.  But what does history and the reality of the current situation tell us on this point?  This New Yorker article makes you wonder, reporting that a group of four baton-carrying young men had marked all of the houses occupied by Tatars, but not those occupied by Russians.  One bone-chilling line from a Russian Crimean woman quoted in the article:

“Whoever did it was just joking,” one woman, who did not wish to be named, told me. “We get along with our neighbors fine,” she continued. “But it would be helpful if Crimean Tatars stopped supporting Kiev.”

Some joke.

Punishing Putin?

With the initial frenzied media and government response to the Crimea annexation behind us, more thoughtful analysis has begun to spring up.  Putin has said he was pushed to the actions in the Crimea by the eastern expansion of NATO and to protect Russian speakers there, and that he has no intentions of going any further. Obama has said there will be no military intervention in Ukraine.   So where do we go from here?  Alexey A. Navalny, former reformist candidate for Mayor of Moscow and currently under house arrest in Russia, authored an op-ed piece in the NY Times, How to Punish Putin.  His short answer: to punish Putin, really attack his oligarchs, cutting them off from their plush Western lifestyles, and attack corruption directly, including corruption that involved Western countries. Finally, this NY Times blog post looks at how Ukraine’s deteriorating economic situation could ultimately drive more parts of Ukraine towards Russia.

As always, comments are welcome on this post, and we’ll answer them as quickly as we can. And if you have any suggestions for the pick of the week, please email or tweet us at @EnvisageIntl.

 

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Optional Practical Training (OPT) Tightening?

social media 184385966Breaking News:
Last Friday, March 7, 2014, the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) produced a report listing five recommended actions “to better ensure DSOs’ and students’ compliance with OPT requirements, and strengthen efforts to identify and assess potential risks in OPT.” This report is expected to change current procedures and cause Optional Practical Training tightening for international students, DSOs, and ICE officers.

Background:
This report came as a response to a letter from Senator Charles Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee from Iowa, which asked the GAO to investigate the use of OPT as “OPT is vulnerable to abuse.” In his letter back in May of 2012, he wanted “to fully investigate the use of OPT, including who uses it and how students are tracked, determine what weaknesses exist, and suggest ways to improve the procedures and policies that govern its administration.”

OPT Report Findings:

The report found that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not maintain complete records on OPT students as they are required by existing regulations. The analysis found that of the 126,000 records of OPT students, 38% did not have an employer’s name. Many of these records did not contain when students started their employment period.

After their analysis, the report recommended these five findings:

  • DSOs should be required to record the students’ employer information for pre-completion and 12-month post-completion OPT students in SEVIS
  • ICE should provide guidance to DSOs on how to determine whether a job is related to a student’s area of study and record how this was verified in SEVIS
  • DSOs should be required to record initial date of employment and any periods of unemployment in SEVIS
  • ICE should provide guidance to DSOs and USCIS on how much time constitutes 1 full academic year for the purposes of recommending and authorizing OPT
  • Develop SEVIS monitoring system to determine if students accrue more OPT than allowed by ICE regulations

OPT allows international students to gain temporary work experience in their field after completing their academic program. Last year, only 10% of international students were approved to participate in OPT, a fraction of all the foreign students in the United States. At the same time, the number of foreign students that participate in OPT has more than quadrupled in the last six years.

Response:
It is expected that we will get more information on changing regulations in the near future on how OPT is recorded in SEVIS and new oversight measures.

In response to this report, Senator Grassley stated, “Foreign students, sometimes aided by school officials, are currently abusing the Optional Practical Training program to acquire unauthorized employment in the United States.”

As always, share your thoughts with us and the impact you expect to see in the comment section of this blog or through Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

>> Read the full report from the GAO here

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Online Marketing is a Cost Effective Way to Move Students Through the Enrollment Funnel

Enrollment funnel Online marketing is a cost effective way to move students through the enrollment funnel. By dedicating some time, energy and resources, you can help drive students down the funnel, using the resources you already have at your disposal. With the right strategy and plan in place, online marketing can be an effective way to get a student to graduate from each phase of the funnel, from prospect to enrollment, and one day, to a diploma.

Prospects:
Prospects are arguably the most important part of the funnel. Without the ability to fill the funnel, nothing will come out the bottom. So how can you fill your funnel with the resources you currently have at your disposal? The first is by transforming your website from one where prospects can get information to one where they can become an inquiry. With a few easy changes, such as a prominent link to your international student section on the homepage, along with an inquiry form on the international page is a great start. This is an easy way to instantly turn the prospect to an inquiry from your school’s website.

Inquiries:
Inquiries are “hot” leads. They are students that have given you their personal contact information and said, “Yes, I am interested in your school.” Inquiries need nurturing. After all, you are not in an exclusive relationship with them yet. They need to know why they should pick you. The great thing about the inquiry is they have told you things like what they want to study, when they want to study, etc. You can use to move them further down the funnel. This is where a good communications plan comes into place. You can use online marketing tools to communicate, such as using emails and social media.

Applicants:
Applicants are a great way to measure the success of the first two phases of the funnel. You have turned a prospect into an inquiry by providing them with information about your school and then provided them relevant information about why they should study at your school. Now you have to continue to push them to the decision point or towards admit and enrollment. This is where you can have more serious online and offline conversations about enrollment dates, financial ability and aid, testing, grades, etc. This is when you are not only qualifying the student but also closing the deal. Social media, email reminders and other methods can be used to communicate these things or even to invite them to a Google Hangout or Skype to review the next steps.

Admits:
Now you have them right? At this point, you are still not the only school still courting them. Online marketing should be used to communicate and engage the student. To drive them to enrollment. The pool of schools is much smaller now, but this is the most important time to connect with the student. Really show them why to select your school.

Enrollments:
The communications plan cannot stop here. You now need to continue to share information via various means such as text, emails, Skype, Instagram videos and other means. Students now need to know deadlines, orientation information etc. Online communications can be a very effective way to communicate with them. Why not try a congratulating them and welcoming them aboard message on their Facebook page? After all, it will reach all of their friends too.

Do you use online marketing to help move student through the enrollment funnel?

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International Education Pick of the Week – 28 February 2014

pick-of-the-weekWe talk a lot about recruiting international students, and follow closely developments on the use of agents, technology and other fast-moving trends.  But this week we’ll discuss a trend in international education recruitment we’ve noticed over the past couple years, but have not yet really discussed or researched – the growing number of public school districts in the US that are recruiting international high school students. We think its worthy to be the international education pick of the week as the whole landscape of high school exchange is changing rapidly.

State Department Guidelines

Under the existing legal and regulatory framework, public school districts can issue I-20s for F1 visas for international students that want to attend high school in their district.  Districts must charge, and students must pay, the full, unsubsidized cost of attendance in their district.  For instance, if it costs $8,500 per year per student to educate a high school student in that district, the foreign student must pay the district $8,500 in “tuition,” in addition to any housing, insurance and other fees.  Students are limited to 12 months, a limitation that does not apply to private schools where students can stay for their entire high school career.  But districts are not limited in the number of international students that they can bring in for 12 months at a time.  Visit this section of the State Department site for full guidance on the program.

Turnaround in Newcomb, New York

This USA Today article explains how enrollment in one rural public school district in upstate New York had plummeted from 400 down to a low in 2007 of 55.  Then new superintendent Clark “Skip” Hults arrived in Newcomb:  “In 2007, however, the new superintendent realized that his greatest weakness — empty seats — might actually be his greatest asset. He’s now selling slots at his high school to foreign students willing to pay $10,000 for one year of an American education.”  Of the ten thousand total, half is tuition, so $5,000 per student goes directly to the school district, and half covers room, board, etc.  

The explosion of the use of F1 visas for high school students, and the corresponding move away from J1 high school exchange, has brought the number of high school students in the US on F1 students from 6,500 in 2007 to 65,000 in 2012.  But the scale of international students in US public schools is still not very great, as US State Department statistics show that only 3,000 of those 65,000 students attend public schools, with the rest at private schools.  Even in Newcomb, there are only 18 international students – but the internationalized campus has drawn additional students from the area, doubling total enrollment from the 2007 low of 55 to the current total of 109.

Canada Far Down the Path

In Canada, its a different story, as public school districts are far down the road of recruiting international students.  The Canadian Association of Public Schools – International (caps-i) boasts 95 public school district members that host international students.   Realizing a few years ago the revenue boost that international students can provide, cash-strapped public school systems in Canada started recruiting heavily.  For instance, The Vancouver School Board has a website helping to recruit potential international students, translated into 7 languages, and Canadian public school systems are very visible at international recruitment conferences like ICEF.  With over 20,000 international students at caps-i public schools, at roughly $10 – $13,000 per student, these public school districts have brought in hundreds of million dollars this way.

With successful examples like Newcomb (on a small scale) and Canada (on a much larger scale), and with no regulatory inhibition on the horizon that I could find, I think we can expect a surge in the number of school districts in the US that see international students as a financial salvation to their public school funding woes.

As always, comments are welcome on this post, and we’ll answer them as quickly as we can. And if you have any suggestions for the pick of the week, please email or tweet us at @EnvisageIntl.

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Responsive Mobilization with Bootstrap 3

As more of the consumers of information on the web turn to phones and smart devices for their browsing, it becomes ever more imperative to have a site that responds to the needs of the user. Bootstrap from Twitter is the single most effective method found on the web today for structuring a website with a mobile responsive layout.

We have been using Bootstrap 2 for some time on many of our sites, such as www.iefa.org and www.internationalstudent.com, but we are beginning the switch to Bootstrap 3 as we implement mobilization within www.internationalstudentinsurance.com — so watch for ever greater mobile responsiveness from that site as our mobile refresh continues! Continue reading

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Envisage International Launches New Pricing and Packaging for 2014

InternationalStudent We have been busy at Envisage International HQ over the past year. In 2013, we redesigned our flagship site, InternationalStudent.com. We gave it a cleaner look and feel, made it easier to navigate and focused it on what the student’s want, the USA School Search. The USA School Search allows students to find schools that meet their search requirements and only matches them to all schools accept international students and that match the search. It is free for the schools as well as the students. Since 20% of our traffic comes from mobile devices, we also optimized all of our sites for mobile. Lastly, we redesigned the Featured School profiles for those schools that have upgraded to the featured level of service and are looking for more exposure and leads than the free profiles can deliver.

The new Featured School profiles offer our school partners an enhanced profile that includes unlimited content including; Photos, videos, social media streams, student profiles, program listings and detailed descriptions, financial and scholarship information and more. We now even offer profile translations into 14 different languages at affordable rates. Since the site redesign and the roll out of the new profiles, out partners are benefiting by seeing better conversion rates from students visiting their profile to them becoming an interested lead or inquiry.

Now that we have the site optimized, it allows us to offer new packages that start at $1,995 for a year’s worth of exposure on InternationalStudent.com. Our partners can also choose one of our other packages; the Outbound, SEO or Platinum that add in social media marketing, email and newsletters, blog posts, promotion on other network sites and more. You can also customize your package with translations, banner ads and additional customized email marketing campaigns.

We are almost two months into 2104 and excited to deliver more content, more school choices and more student leads to the students turning to us as a resource and schools that turn to us to help attract students.
Visit our corporate site to learn more about how we can help your school reach and attract international students.

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