New Report Envisions Pathways for the Future of Global Higher Education

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Estimates an increase of 120 million in tertiary enrollment around the world, and 2.3 million internationally mobile students by 2030

What are the megatrends shaping the future of global higher education and mobility of international students? New report by Rahul Choudaha and Edwin van Rest of Studyportals envisions internationalization strategies.

Report: Megatrends shaping global higher education and international student mobility

Globally by 2030, higher education enrollment is projected to grow with wide variations within and across countries.

What are the megatrends shaping the world around us? How are these megatrends transforming the future of global higher education? What are the implications of these trends for the mobility of international students and global engagement strategies?

These are the questions addressed in a recent report, “Envisioning pathways to 2030: Megatrends shaping the future of global higher education and international student mobility,” published by Studyportals, the international study choice platform.

The authors of the report, Rahul Choudaha, executive vice-president of global engagement and research, and Edwin van Rest, CEO of Studyportals, note that the theme is set in the context of the major changes happening around us at several levels, including political, technological and societal.

Globally, higher education enrollment is projected to grow with wide variations within and across countries. The report projects that tertiary enrollment will reach 332 million by 2030—an increase of 56%, or 120 million students, from 2015. Likewise, the number of internationally mobile students will reach 6.9 million by 2030—an increase of 51%, or 2.3 million students, from 2015.

“We analyzed the landscape of global higher education in the context of megatrends and provided a framework for institutions to reflect, assess and discover their future strategies. We found that megatrends could suppress enrollment growth, especially in high-income countries, unless institutions innovate and explore the potential of online/blended learning, lifelong learning, transnational education and international students in their future strategies,” said Choudaha.

The report studied the case of 15 high-income countries—United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Korea, Switzerland, New Zealand, Spain—in the order of the number of international students. Total tertiary enrolment in these 15 countries grew by just one percent between 2014 and 2015. These 15 countries enroll 2.75 million, or 63%, of all globally-mobile students, and contribute to 55% of global GDP in 2015. Many institutions in these countries are urged to examine ways of expanding enrollment through innovation and internationalization.

The authors provide an “institutional archetype of success” to help institutions identify their pathways to a sustainable future. Van Rest noted that, “while higher education institutions at the top of the pyramid will fiercely compete on reputation, remaining institutions must figure out their areas of primary focus and differentiation related to experience, access or career. For some institutions, the opportunity of providing access to the large underserved population around the world is manifold more than what is available at the top of the pyramid.”

The report also identifies several drivers that will shape the internationalization of higher education institutions, and encourage them to complement traditional mobility with innovation in program offerings and delivery mechanisms. These drivers include innovation and expansion of transnational models, a surge of English-taught programs in Asia and Europe, higher ambitions and investments for world-class universities, and increases in growth of multi-institutional global networks.

A complex interaction of external forces or megatrends will transform higher education enrollment and international student enrollment patterns, especially in high-income countries. This makes it highly critical for institutions to be proactive and strategic in further enhancing the relevance, affordability, and flexibility of their academic offerings to meet quantitative growth, and a qualitative shift in the demand.

A panel of university leaders shared their perspectives in the context of the findings of the report, and discussed its implications for future strategies during a recent webinar. A video recording of the webinar, along with a digital copy of the report, is available for free to registrants.

About Studyportals
Studyportals is the international study choice platform, enabling students to find and compare their study options across borders. With over 114,000 published courses, 2,450 participating universities, and 19 million users in 2016, Studyportals is a leading information source for study seekers. Studyportals 190-person team represents over 35 nationalities. For universities, Studyportals is a results-based channel for international student recruitment.

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