US professionals collaborate on national strategy for international education

International education professionals and stakeholders in the United States have come together to address the urgent necessity of a comprehensive national education strategy. A recent survey in collaboration with leading education organisations across the US has shown the important priorities and reforms needed to strengthen the nation’s international education sector.

The need for a national education strategy

The survey findings underscore the majority’s call for a coordinated approach to reform visa policies, foster student diversity and amplify the country’s internationalisation efforts. Notably, a staggering 88% of respondents emphasised the importance of establishing dedicated scholarships and funding opportunities for Americans to pursue education abroad. Additionally, more than half of all respondents highlighted the significance of promoting education abroad to underrepresented populations, offering a more diverse list of study destinations and expanding the range and format of study-away options to increase access and participation.   

Key findings and priorities

Among the clear points of consensus identified by respondents is modernising pathways for international students to work and obtain residency post-graduation. This was closely followed by an imperative to update visa regulations to broaden access for academic and exchange students. Diversification also emerged as a central theme, with overwhelming support for initiatives aimed at addressing visa denial rates, providing scholarships for underrepresented groups and expanding study abroad opportunities for a more diverse student cohort. Respondents were also strongly in favour of a central coordinating mechanism for such a strategy.

Momentum for strategies and action

The momentum for a national strategy has also been gaining traction. Specifically, 91% advocate for the reform and improvement of student visa policies, while 87% call for similar reforms in international student work policies. Prominent stakeholder groups are also coalescing under initiatives such as the US for Success Coalition. Spearheaded by organisations including AIRC, NAFSA and IIE, this coalition aims to elevate the competitiveness of the US in the global education market and advocate for the implementation of a comprehensive national strategy. 

Government’s role and stakeholder support 

Respondents strongly support the US government’s involvement in the development and implementation of a national strategy. Stakeholders envision a coordinating mechanism, either within the White House or via an independent cross-sectoral body, to oversee the execution of the national strategy effectively.

Advantages for institutions and international students 

The establishment of a comprehensive international education strategy in the US promises significant benefits for colleges, universities, institutions and international students alike. This strategy can enhance global competitiveness by attracting a diverse pool of talent, expanding post-graduation career opportunities, fostering institutional collaboration and partnerships, and bolstering global reputation and rankings. Overall, such a strategy can contribute to creating a more inclusive, diverse and globally engaged higher education ecosystem in the country.

Leadership and competitiveness 

While challenges persist in the dynamic landscape of international education, the survey results provide a comprehensive framework for advancing dialogue and driving tangible strategies in the sector. With concerted efforts from professionals, experts and stakeholders across the education sector and strong support from the government, the vision of a national strategy for international education in the US can be transformed into a reality, ensuring the nation’s continued leadership and competitiveness in global education. 

 

To know more about the opportunities available for international students and updates about education in the US, please reach out to our North American team at [email protected].

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