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Tuesday March 12th, 2013 - Issue #18
International Education News

WelcomeIn this issue we dig in to the primary sources of funding data, released annually in the IIE Open Doors Report, to see what we can glean about funding trends and how they will impact international education. Affordability of higher education is always an important discussion, and we look at alarming economic trends that suggest that access to international education will increasingly be available only to students of substantial means. You can also read below the second in our two-part series on international insurance options for colleges and universities, and we share demographic data about our traffic.

Finally, we would like to welcome three new members to the Envisage family: Mac Kelly, Paul Czech, and Meredith Tanner. Mac and Paul are part of the growing Tech team and Meredith is our new office intern.

Please contact us if you have ideas for future newsletters, any comments, questions or concerns.

Envisage International Corporation Team

Envisage International News
Primary Sources of Funding

Primary Sources of Funding The number of international students on campuses across the United States has been growing rapidly. To understand the current climate, and changes ahead, there are two important financial trends shaping the world of international higher education:

1. More International Students Self-Fund Their Education

The majority of international students pay for their tuition, books, fees, travel, room and board, and other supplies right out of their own pocket. Last year, according to the Open Doors Report, 64% of international students reported that the majority of their educational costs were paid right out of their own pocket or with their family's help. This reflects a 6% increase over the previous year with no signs of changing.

While there are international students out there who paid for school primarily with the help of their college (22%) or foreign government (6%), this continues to be the exception to the rule. As many schools - which were reported to be the second largest funding source for international students - have had their state budget slashed and funding reduced, it is hard to foresee an increase in funding from this segment, placing further emphasis on self-funding.

In many countries, there are systems in place for students of lesser means to pursue higher education. In the United States, this system is in the form of scholarship aid, subsidized loan programs, state pre-paid and discount programs, community colleges and a myriad of other ways for students to afford higher education. In other countries, free or very low-cost tuition and government-funded student support are available. All of these programs work to increase the availability of higher education to talented students, regardless of means. But as a general rule, these programs are not available to international students.

2. Growing Cost of a US Degree

The cost of a college degree in the US has reportedly increased 1,120 percent in the last 30 years, according to Bloomberg - that's four times faster than CPI - and this doesn't include the additional expenses that an international student will have to bear.

According to the Associated Press, “The average tuition at a four-year public university climbed 15% between 2008 and 2010, fueled by state budget cuts for higher education.”  State budget cuts have forced tuition increases and left many institutions to become “increasingly reliant on students and their families to fund most of the costs.” For international students, the budget cuts have been twofold. On one hand, international students are increasingly more valued due to their higher fees and their self-funded tendencies. On the other hand, however, those who are unable to pay may not be able to find the financial resources to pay for college.

Bottom Line:

With growing budget cuts and increasing tuition, and limited access to affordability programs, more international students will have to pay even more for their US education. The cohort of international students will continue to trend towards the wealthier, reducing the number of talented, deserving students of lesser means.

If schools are serious about creating diversity on campus they will need to struggle against this trend by taking steps to ensure that those students with the necessary qualifications - but who may lack the financial means - will still have the opportunity of pursuing a US degree. If colleges and universities are unable to confront this growing problem, we will force many talented international students to take the option of a US education off the table, and look instead toward other countries with more affordable higher education opportunities, or to online education or local campuses.

Interested in learning more about international students and who's paying for their education? Check out our newest blog on Understanding Primary Sources of Funding for International Students.

International Insurance News
International Group Insurance Plans - Part 2

Group Health InsuranceOur two-part insurance series highlights the main international student health insurance plan options available to colleges and universities as we navigate the world of healthcare reform. Our first post concentrated on individual insurance plans - with a wide variety available for students to purchase themselves and no administration for the school, individual plans have had a recent surge in popularity.

The second part of the series concentrates on group health insurance plans. The traditional insurance solution for many schools, group plans have started to be hit by healthcare reform changes - seeing plan maximums increase, benefits open up and in the end this all means higher premiums. Despite the increasing cost, group plans are still an excellent option and the only option for many schools for many reasons, not the least of which is that schools can ensure adequate coverage for everyone. Our post details the current regulatory changes and provides some helpful pointers when looking for an insurance solution for your school or organization.

International Student Recruitment News
Web Traffic and Demographics

Our traffic is almost entirely organic, earned over 15 years from compelling content, quality online tools and an engaged social community. But it takes constant work, as search engine algorithms change and student expectations change, and we are always striving to keep up. We have seen improvement in both quantity and quality of traffic, and thought we would give some insight into numbers and demographics:

  • Traffic across our entire network is up 24% from 2011 to 2012
  • Traffic on InternationalStudent.com is up over 40% for the same time period

InternationalStudent.com 2012 Website Traffic

Monthly Visitors
Monthly Page Views
Monthly Student Inquires

Top Countries visiting our Network of Sites

1. United States 4. China 7. Australia 10. Germany
2. United Kingdom 5. Canda 8. Pakistan 11. Russia
3. India 6. Philippines 9. Malysia 12. Singapore

Site Network Demographics: Gender, Age, and Education Level

Male: 55%
Female: 45%
Age 18-24
Age 25-34

Demographic Education Level

To see more on our traffic and demos download our Media Kit or contact Wini Puglielli.

International Education Top News
Top Monthly Industry Happenings

Top NewsThe new "U-Multirank" ranking system was announced in January by the European Union with the aim of providing a better ranking system for schools across Europe, less biased towards research. Two weeks ago, 21 of the leading research schools across Europe pulled out of the system, calling it ill-conceived and biased. The new system is controversial to say the least, so it will be interesting to see if it will get off the ground.

Also this month, Twitter announced that it will start to adjust its feeds to filter tweets. Traditionally, Twitter allowed all tweets to be posted, no matter what (you just had to make sure the user was viewing their timeline to see the tweets). But now, like Facebook with its Edgrank algorithm, Twitter will be filtering its tweets. The impact of the change is unclear at this point, but it sounds like they are changing their tactics in order to monetize some of their traffic.

Our "Pick of the Week" postings come out each Friday with a short recap of some of the main industry happenings. Be sure to check it out and if you have any news articles you would like featured - let us know.

Upcoming Industry Events

Here are the upcomming conferences we will be attending:

  • WETM/ IAPA - March 13-15 - Rome, Italy
  • LeadsCon West, March 18-20 - Las Vegas, NV
  • AAIE - Alabama Association of International Educators, April 4 - Auburn, AL
  • NAFSA Annual, May 26-31 - St. Louis, MO

Contact us and schedule an appointment if you are attending any of these events, as we would love to see you.