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3 Feb

Diversify international enrolments post-pandemic

by Luuk Mulling

How to Recruit International Students

A new report from ICEF highlights 17 global markets for their potential in helping institutions and schools to build more diverse enrolments (monitor.icef.com).

Institutions and schools have given more attention to the need to build diverse international enrolments. However enrolments remain fairly concentrated in many leading study destinations across a smal number of often highly competitive markets. The pandemic however, has shifted focus to diversification strategies of many recruiters and brings focus to a greater push going forward to rebalance the enrolment base, and to recruit student from key emerging markets.

Our earlier analysis in this area has identified distinct bands of growth markets, with Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Iran in the top tier on the basis of their projected long-term impact on student mobility. We have also identified a second tier of important, emerging markets, each of which is also poised for substantial growth: Bangladesh, Nepal, Ghana, Kuwait, and Egypt. African markets feature in each of those top bands, and we have considered separately as well the tremendous potential of markets throughout the continent.

Each of those countries is projected to play a greater role in driving global student mobility this decade and next, and each in turn shares some key demand-side characteristics that will fuel that outbound growth. In particular:

  • A large population base and especially a youthful population poised for further growth
  • Rapidly expanding middle class populations
  • High-performing economies with above-average growth rates
  • Significant demand-supply gaps with respect to domestic higher education provision

A recent study brings many of these underlying features into sharper focus to identify 17 high-potential markets for student recruitment. Many of these are found in the high-growth tiers we have described above, but report sets a different framework for organizing and prioritising markets for diversification.

It begins by highlighting the high degree of reliance that some of the world’s leading study destinations have on two key sending markets: China and India. As we see in the chart below, the US, UK, Australia, and Canada all rely on those two countries alone — albeit in varying proportions – for roughly half of their foreign enrolment base.

Share of international enrolments for selected destinations. Source: Unibuddy

The paper sets out as well the business case for diversification, namely that it helps institutions and schools to balance and manage risk, and to improve the student experience. Taking that acute reliance on China and India as a starting point, the report introduces a framework for moving “Beyond India” to consider a series of emerging South Asian markets and “Beyond China” for a corresponding set of target markets in Southeast Asia.

The report additionally profiles eight more markets in Europe and elsewhere that are noted for their recruitment potential. Not all could be classed as new or emerging markets for most recruiters, but analysis nevertheless offers some interesting insights for a number of markets, including Poland, Romania, Turkey, and Ghana. After all, when institutions prioritize diversification in their recruitment efforts, they build stronger, more talented communities.

WebinarLeads4you can help target these countries through their personalized, focused campaigns including IP-GeoTargeting. When creating your Marketing Strategy it is key to focus on diversified Channels and Markets. Only when connecting the right student to the right program you ensure everybody is happy 🙂 Targeting the right markets is he basis of IP-GeoTargeting which basically are actual website-filters (similar to Netflix, who decides what you see in which country), so WebinarLeads4you large traffic of students through >230k followers in Social media as well as organic/ blogs and partners gets routed to the right information for them. Read more here or contact us to find out more information.


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