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Tuesday April 9th, 2013 - Issue #19
International Education News

In this issue we discuss the rise of online education as it relates to international education. Without a doubt the expansion of online learning has been meteoric in recent years, spurred on by advances in internet services, software, and public perceptions towards collaborative learning. Surprisingly, it is no longer the for-profit, private sector leading the way, as traditional not-for-profit schools with online programs are now growing faster.

April is also tax month and since international students must file taxes, please read up on the international student tax filing requirements and share the information with your students.

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

The Envisage International Team

International Student Recruitment News
Trends in International Online Education

Primary Sources of FundingAs the cost for higher education continues to increase and the value proposition of post-secondary education comes under increased scrutiny, a trend is developing where traditional colleges and universities are turning to online degree programs as a way to service a larger student population, fulfill students' educational needs, and, let's face it, increase revenue. Until now, online learning has been a market largely served by for-profit schools but as student loan debt continues to skyrocket, there is a growing demand for traditional colleges to offer high quality and affordable online degrees.

Higher Education Value

We all know that from the students' perspective, they are looking for the best value for their educational dollars. This rang true in President Obama's State of the Union address in February where he called for accreditors to take into account "performance and results" in evaluating colleges and universities. This will give current and future students the ability to evaluate the potential return on investment and weigh the price versus the educational value. Online degrees are one way in which schools can balance this value proposition.

Not-for-profits Go Online

Until recently, online degrees belonged largely to the for-profit universities. So how are traditional, non-profit universities competing with the for-profit schools for online students, who in 2012 spent over $2 billion in advertising?

One answer is cost. More and more traditional schools are offering affordable, quality online degrees. In fact, looking at the 20 least expensive schools that offer online degrees, only one for-profit school offered credit hours under $400 and of the top 10 most expensive schools for online degrees, there is only one non-profit school on the list. Furthermore, traditional colleges and universities continue to offer in-state tuition for online programs for students located out of state. That is not only a great trend for domestic students but international students as well. These in-state solutions are now offered in 29 states, including the 15 largest states (including New York, California, Texas and Florida).* Some schools are offering credit hours as low as $200 per credit hour compared to the $400-$600 charged by the for-profits.

International Education Online

Now, let's look at the international student market potential. International students are looking for the same thing that a domestic student is looking for: return on investment, and in many cases, a US-based education that will give them the best opportunity for success. Unlike domestic students, government grants and US scholarships are largely unavailable for international kids, so the value proposition is even more critical.

Many international students will still want to come to the US, for all of the obvious reasons. For those that cannot, though, either for cost reasons or career/life disruption reasons, online education opens up a whole new world. International students can earn a US degree online at a reputable state school at in-state tuition, with no visa required and no travel costs.

We would love to hear from you with thoughts on this topic. Please visit our LinkedIn Group page to let us know if your institution offers or is considering offering online degrees for international students, or any other thoughts you may have on the topic.

*Thanks to Paul Ginocchio, Deutsche Bank, for his excellent discussion of not-for-profit online education at LeadsCon and for sharing his backup research.

International Financial Aid News
Tax Guide for Your International Students

Group Health InsuranceTax rules for international students can be quite difficult and complex, and many of your foreign students may not even think that they need to file their taxes this year. All international students and scholars (as well as their dependents) are expected to file tax forms with the IRS, even if they didn't have an income last year. Here are some common questions so that students can determine which tax forms are necessary to submit by the April 15th deadline:

  • Do all international students have to file Form 8843?
    All international students and scholars - along with their dependents - must file Form 8843 with the IRS. Regardless of their age and how long they were in the US last year, all F, J, M or Q visa holders need to submit this form by the April 15th deadline. Students do not need a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to submit Form 8843.
  • Did the student have a US source of income in 2012?
    International students and scholars may also need to submit additional forms if they had a US income source in 2012. This could be a salary, wage, scholarship, or fellowship sourced in the United States. Here is the complete list of Source of Income that would qualify according to the IRS.
  • What other tax forms do they need to file?
    If the student held a job or had some other US source of income then they will need to complete Form 1040NR or Form 1040 NR-EZ in addition to Form 8843 as discussed.

Equip your students and scholars with the information they need so that they can start preparing their taxes ahead of time. If you are looking for tax information to provide to your students, check out our Student Tax Return center geared with help students with their questions and concerns.

Tech News
Enhancing Your Search Engine Visibilty with MicroData

Group Health InsuranceWe are continually working to stay up to date on the latest techniques and strategies to enhance online visibility for our partner schools as well as our own sites. Through our tech blog we share some of the fruits of our efforts, and this month we discuss enhancing search engine listings with microdata and "rich snippets."

As search engines and the structure of the web continue to advance, it becomes ever more challenging to provide information in a way that is both user friendly and easily read by search engines. It also becomes more important to differentiate your search results from those of similar content. One method of doing so is the use of 'microdata' tags to identify the key information on the webpage and pass that information on to the search engine. Read our tech blog for the full article.

International Education Top News
Top Monthly Industry Happenings

Top NewsThe UK continues to make international education news as it tackles immigration reform. This time, the Home Secretary for the UK, Theresa May, announced the dissolution of the UK Borders Agency. The agency only existed for five troubled years, and the Home Office will now resume control.

Also in the past month, we saw Russia leap forward with their plans to become an international education powerhouse. With an initial injection of $270 million in funding into 15 universities, Russia has indicated its resolve to become a major participant in international education.

In the social media/marketing world, March saw Google+ overtake Twitter as the number 2 social media site, based on number of active users. And as we highlighted in our January newsletter, as it grows Google+ will really impact search engine results as Google integrates more metrics from the social media world into its algorithms.

You can keep up-to-date with all the latest industry news with our pick of the week by following our blog.

Upcoming Industry Events

Here are the upcomming conferences we will be attending:

  • NAFSA Annual, May 26-31 - St. Louis, MO
  • OACAC - Overseas Association of College Admission Counseling, July 9-11 - Poughkeepsie, NY
  • LeadsCon East, July 24-25 - New York, NY

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