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Student-to-Faculty Ratios and Graduation Rates

Are universities with smaller class sizes graduating more of their international students?

Career Services: Required for International Students

Attending university in the United States is about much more than gaining a solid education; it’s also about gaining valuable experience and skills necessary for securing a job. Educators know this and have been petitioning for students’ participation in internships and career preparation for decades. At American universities, internships and co-ops are the norm and becoming increasingly competitive for students to participate in.

Record Number of International Students in the U.S.

Last year, 974,906 international students were studying in the U.S., according to the most recent Open Doors report released today. Not only is that an impressively large number of international students - more than double that of the UK - but it's also the largest growth rate the U.S. has seen in 35 years.

First-Year Retention Rates

First-year retention rates measure the percent of first-year undergraduate students who return for their second year at the university.  Click on any of the states within the map to isolate institutions within that state.

2016 U.S. News & World Report Rankings

Highlights from the latest U.S. News & World Report National University rankings are typically hard to come by. At the top of the list there is rarely any change. In fact, the top eight universities on last year’s list are in the exact positions as this year’s list. At the bottom of the list (and I say “bottom” knowing that these 200 institutions are some of the best in the U.S.), five new universities cracked the top 200:  East Carolina University, South Carolina State University, Ashland University, New Mexico State University, and University of Colorado-Denver. 

The biggest improvement near the top of the rankings came from Tulane University, jumping 13 spots to 41 on the list. The largest jump of any university came from Southern Illinois University, up 36 spots to 153.

We put the latest rankings on the interactive visualization below so you can scroll through to see how they have changed since last year. Look for more updates next week as we dive into data on international students and ranked universities.

What if international students were 10% of enrollments?

Every year, U.S. colleges and universities enroll more international students than any other country in the world.  In fact, with nearly 900,000 students, the U.S. enrolls twice as many international students as that of the next largest host country, the UK. According to the latest Open Doors report, about 1,400 institutions enrolled at least 10 international students, and 30 of those institutions enrolled more than 5,000 international students. 

At the very top end of that list are four institutions that enrolled more than 10,000 international students: NYU, University of Southern California, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Columbia University.

Compared to our UK and Australia counterparts, massive numbers like these make it seem like U.S. universities are the clear leaders in international student population. Yet, in the U.S., international students only account for about 5% of the overall enrollment; compared to 19% of overall enrollment in the UK and 26% in Australia.

What would U.S. higher education look like if international students made up 10% of enrollments rather than the current 5%? What would have to change to make that possible?  How would that affect U.S. higher education? 

Interstate Student Mobility

455,089 out-of-state freshmen students

50 states

1 visual

Knowing where students are coming from is important for the success of any university.  Most freshmen students enroll in institutions within their home states, but growing numbers of students venture to an institution in another state.  We looked at all 50 states and put into graphs the numbers of students crossing state lines to attend university. Find your state below for insight into where students are going out-of-state – the data does not include in-state students. 

Choose any state to see where its residents are choosing to study.  Interact with the graphs and see which universities students are going to by clicking on an individual state or go straight to the interactive here.

Click the image below to see full zoomable PDF 

Crossing State Lines: Where Are Students Going to College?

Last week we dove into the data to help explain where out-of-state students come from.  We found that the number of out-of-state and international students attending elite public institutions is on the rise, and that at some public institutions, the number of out-of-state students outnumbers in-state students.

Where do out-of-state students come from?

Among elite public institutions in the U.S., out-of-state and international student enrollments are on the rise and in-state enrollments remain flat.  That’s the conclusion of a recent NY Times piece analyzing trends in higher ed enrollments from 2002 to 2012. 

In our previous post we found that yes, this is true, but there’s more to the story.  We found that analyzing growth rates in isolation masks the fact that in-state students still make up a vast majority of enrollments at most public universities.  Our analysis also raised some questions about where these out-of-state students are coming from.  In Alabama, which is seeing a decrease in the number of high school graduates, institutions are recruiting more out-of-state students.  These students come from all over the country, but most often from the neighboring state of Georgia, which is seeing an increase in high school graduates.  The same trend - decreasing high school graduates and higher out-of-state students - is happening in other states as well, including Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and several smaller states in the Northeast. 

To analyze all of this data at once, we looked at the home residence of every freshmen student from 2002 to 2012 and compared that to the institution they attended.  Let’s dive into some of the trends.

The Truth about Public Universities & Out-of-State Students

The Upshot at The New York Times recently wrote a timely piece on the rise of out-of-state students (including international students) attending elite public universities.  The author makes a compelling argument that the prioritization of out-of-state students is a growing problem in higher education. His argument is that elite public universities in the U.S. have increased the number of out-of-state students they admit while simultaneously decreasing the number of in-state students. 

This article intrigued us, so we decided to take a deeper dive into the data around out-of-state students at U.S. universities. What we found was that the issue is much more nuanced and layered than it would first appear.

NAFSA Day 1: Gladwell's Mustardization of Education

Day 1 of NAFSA 2015 is in the books!  Our team checked out the expo hall, attended several high quality panel sessions, and managed to find a seat at Malcolm Gladwell's packed plenary session.  

See you at NAFSA 2015!

NAFSA is coming to Boston next week!  We’re excited to see old friends and meet new ones, and we’re delighted to host a panel session – Building a Global Community:  Student Retention, Integration, and Access.  Join us at the session on Thursday, May 28th at 2:00 PM in room 253A. 

Moderated by Amy Baker of The Pie News, the panel will feature leaders from UNESCO, Bath Spa University School of Business and Entrepreneurship, and Shorelight Education.  We want you to walk away from the session with real examples and strategies of how to integrate international student success across the functional areas of a university.  

Likelihood of retention rates by institution size

This is the second article in a series that looks at evaluating retention statistics among institutions in the U.S. and around the world.

Last week we analyzed retention rates among first-time full-time undergraduate students and found that on average 75% of freshmen return for their sophomore year at the same institution.  We noticed that there might be a correlation with size and retention rates because of the number of larger institutions at the top end of the graph with high retention rates. 

How many freshman return for their sophomore year?

This is the first article in a series that will look at evaluating retention statistics among institutions in the U.S. and around the world.

First year retention is something we use here at Shorelight to indicate student success somewhat early on in the student lifecycle.  We measure retention as a student’s progression from term-to-term and year-to-year and know that student success is achieved upon degree completion.  As we come to the end of the 2014-15 academic year, we decided to look into the relative health of first year retention at higher education institutions throughout the U.S. 

Proportion of International Student Enrollment by Institution Type

Community colleges enroll approximately one-fifth of all international undergraduate students in the United States.  For a quick snapshot of states that enroll a large number of international students within their community college system, check out our interactive Tableau below.  International student enrollment within community colleges is in blue.

First-Year Retention Rates Have Improved... slightly

First-year retention rates measure the percent of first-year undergraduate students who return for their second year at the university.  Among institutions ranked within the top 200 the average retention rate is about 12 percentage points higher than the national average (86% compared to national average of 74%).  From 2006 to 2013 many universities managed to improve their retention rates, most notably those ranked 80th or higher in 2015.

International Students Attending Community Colleges - Four Leading States

Several prominent community colleges within California, Florida, Texas and Washington have taken advantage of their local international community as well as established strong ties to four-year universities to ensure progression for their alumni.

China’s new Gaokao reform and its global implication

China’s 38-year-old college entrance exam was set to undergo major changes, as the country’s State Council released guidelines last year to reform the gaokao system. This year, the new system will see its pilot in Shanghai and Zhejiang Province.

How would the international education sphere be influenced by the test reform in one of the world’s highest-scoring countries (be it a good or bad thing), with the most outbound mobile students?

University Presidents Split on Obama's CC Proposal

54% of Public University presidents think that President Obama’s community college grant proposal will increase enrollment at their institution.  Private college and university presidents are less optimistic, with only 8% saying the proposal will increase enrollment.  In fact, a majority of presidents at private institutions think that their enrollment will either not be impacted by the proposal or will result in decreased enrollment.

That's one of the conclusions of an Inside Higher Ed survey of 647 university and college presidents.

These results speak to the complexity of the higher education model in the U.S. and the disagreement (even among presidents within the same sectors of higher ed) about potential impacts of large-scale proposals such as Obama’s.  

Is the business model in higher education sustainable?

Is the business model of higher education sustainable?  According to the latest Inside Higher Ed survey of 647 college and university presidents, a surprising number say no. It appears that most presidents believe that sustainability is dependent on institution type. For example, the answer for elite private universities and public flagship universities is yes.

For non-flagship public universities and “other” private four-year institutions, however, the answer is no.  As the chart above illustrates, an alarming number of presidents believe their business model is unsustainable.  Take, for example, all private institutions not included in the “elite” category  with endowments of more than $550 million.  Of those private universities that have endowments – approximately 1,300 in the U.S. – only 89 have endowments above $550 million, according to The National Center for Education Statistics. That means that less than 10% of all private institutions fall into the “elite” category. In other words, most presidents believe that the private college/university model is dying. 

Record Highs of U.S. Foreign-Born Population by 2025

Last week on the blog we looked into how community colleges have influenced international student mobility to the U.S.  We noticed that in places such as Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, and Seattle there are high concentrations of international students attending community colleges.  These are cities that, according to the U.S. Census, also have large amounts of foreign-born families, which creates the conditions that result in large numbers of international students living and attending university there. 

Compass Blog Launches in China

We are excited to announce that the Shorelight Compass Blog has officially launched in China! The “China blog” will continue to establish Shorelight as a trustworthy voice on global education in the Chinese market. It will also connect our Compass blog readers with the latest updates on trends and policies in U.S.-China higher education.

Does Obama’s Community College Proposal Affect International Students?

President Obama’s recent proposal to offer free tuition to students attending community college raised some questions for us: does this help international students? Do international students even enroll in community colleges? What percent of international students who are enrolled in U.S. higher ed are attending 2-year institutions? 

Student-to-Faculty Ratio by State: California and D.C. on opposite ends of the spectrum

Our last post analyzed the impact of student-to-faculty ratios on international students in the U.S.  The data clearly showed, as expected, a positive correlation between higher international student graduation rates and lower student-to-faculty ratios.  However, we also found a number of universities – more than 200 – that go against conventional wisdom.  

Are smaller class sizes always better?

How can you accurately assess an international applicant’s potential for academic success and persistence at your university?  This is an essential question that all universities must answer, but in truth, it stops short of looking at the whole picture.  

Just Launched! The Global Intelligence Library

We have some exciting news: we recently launched our brand new Global Intelligence Library. The purpose of this collection is to provide instant access to higher education and international student data, provide contextual insights and, even better - give you user-generated control over the data.  This means that you will be able to interact with the graphs, so you can see the data that you care about. 

These analytics tools present data that was either not readily available or not readily comprehensible.  We provide insights by combining data sets from multiple, detached sources and diving deep into issues that are relevant to understand trends. This helps us understand the big trends in international education, or, as we learned with our Enrollment  viz, understand the outliers.  Within the library, we’ve highlighted a few visualizations that are the most popular, and then categorized the rest of them in two categories: “University Analytics and Peer Benchmarking” and “International Student Mobility”.  Occasionally we’ll post tools that aren’t interactive but can tell their own story. 

Which Countries are Most Popular?

The United States isn’t always the preferred destination for study abroad.  We’ve taken the top 10 internationally mobile countries to see where their students prefer to study.

Percent International of Undergraduate Enrollment

Click on any circle to see data on a particular institution.  Click on any of the characteristics down the right side of the visual to isolate groups of universities for analysis.

Student Mobility to the U.S. by Origin Country

The number of international students studying in the United States increased by 8% this year to 886,000, according to the Open Doors report released in November 2014.  Our map shows the top 100 countries of origin studying in the United States .

2014 Update: Net Flow of Student Mobility by State

The latest study abroad numbers released by the Institute of International Education (IIE) on Monday are better – no sharp increases, but an overall positive trend.  The number of Americans abroad increased by 2% over last year, bringing the total of American college students studying abroad to nearly 290K.  To put that in context to inbound student mobility volumes, for every three international students studying in the U.S. there is one American student studying abroad.

2014 Update: Mapping Student Mobility to the U.S.

886,052 international students are studying in the U.S., up 8% over last year, according to the latest Open Doors report released on Monday.  Nearly half of them are studying in six states – California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.  We’ve mapped all of the states according to their international student enrollments and visualized how much they’ve changed since last year. (Check out Arizona, Kentucky, and Idaho – increased enrollments twice as much as the national average!)  Interact with our map by clicking on one of the states or choose a region for closer analysis. 

Five Trends from The 2014 Open Doors Report

The number of international students studying in the U.S. increased by 8% this year, according to the Open Doors report released today.  The number of Undergraduates grew by 9%, Graduates by 6%, and Non-Degree and OPT grew by about 8%.  We’ve highlighted the five most important trends from this year's report.

International Postgraduate Applications & Offers

Though many organizations have helped us understand student mobility trends – IIE, SEVIS, The British Council, UNESCO, and The College Board  – few have attempted to measure international student applications and offers.  Where are international students applying and how often are they getting in?  The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is trying to reconcile that missing link with its International Graduate Admissions Survey.

British Council Report Predicts Postgraduate Mobility Growth from India

In the next five to ten years the greatest opportunities for international post-graduate growth will come from Nigeria, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, according to a recent British Council report.  What about China, the world leader in outbound student mobility? The report finds that although China will continue to grow in outbound postgraduates and remain the largest origin country, postgraduates from India will have a higher growth rate, bringing them to nearly equal the number of outbound Chinese students by 2024.

World Map of Undergraduate Mobility to the U.S.

Nearly 340K international undergraduate students studied in the U.S. in the 2012 / 13 academic year, according to the Institute of International Education.  Where, exactly, are they coming from?

We isolated the undergraduate numbers by top 100 origin countries and mapped them.  The darker blue countries – China, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and India – are the top five origin countries.  But if you use the rank scroll bar (under “Choose # of Countries”) and isolate the top 10, you’ll notice China in a class of its own, then everyone else.

Explore for yourself!

International Student Enrollment by State and Institution Type

Last week we analyzed the top states that host the most international students as well as the top 5 universities by state.  This week we’d like to look at what type of institution international students are enrolled in.  Using data published by the National Center for Education Statistics, our interactive chart allows you to see how many international students are enrolled in public or private universities and colleges within each state. 

College Destinations Index

The American Institute for Economic Research released its latest College Destinations Index (CDI) for 2014/2015.  We usually approach such lists with skepticism simply because of the arbitrary and subjective nature of things like a “best college towns” list, but this one is different. 

The CDI takes an objective look at 12 key criteria that impact learning experiences at universities in the U.S.  Each criteria is placed into four categories – Student Life, Economic Health, Culture, and Opportunity – and the cities are ranked by type of city.  For example, cities such as Boston and New York go into the “Major Metro Areas” list, whereas a place such as Boulder, CO or Lawrence, KS go into “Small Metro Areas” and “College Towns” lists, respectively. 

Recruiting Students from China – Avoiding Tier One Cities?

With the increased mobility of students from China in recent years, there has naturally been an increase in attention being paid to student origin within the country and how to navigate recruitment activities within the country. Some recruitment managers feel that if you’re new to the China recruiting game, you’re better off staying away from the big cities to avoid being lost in the crowd.  In fact, in a recent post on the Vericant blog, Langston Smith describes reasons not to recruit Chinese students from tier 1 cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. Smith asserts that just because there are large volumes of students coming from these areas doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where you should be going for recruitment trips.  

Mapping Student Mobility to the U.S.

Using data published by the Institute of International Education, we mapped the top 5 universities and colleges by state based on the number of international students enrolled.  We also mapped the states based on international student enrollment numbers. 

Globalization of Japanese Universities

In recent years, the Japanese government has established programs to help the flow of international students in and out of the country.  Its Global 30 program was started a few years ago with the goal of increasing the number of international students studying in Japanese universities.  Through this program, it wants to double the number of international students in Japan by 2020.  In a more recent bid to support globalization, the Japanese government announced that it will be giving $5.4 million dollars a year to 37 different Japanese universities to support their globalization efforts. 

The government is focusing on globalizing two different areas: professors and students. Each of the 37 universities that will receive financing are designated by the government as either “Top Universities” or “Universities Leading Globalization.”  The “Top Universities” will focus on acquiring proficient teachers from overseas and promote cooperation with prestigious universities worldwide.  The “Universities Leading Globalization” will help promote and enhance international student mobility in and out of the country. 

World University Rankings - Per Capita Index

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings evaluates university performance across five areas: 

- Teaching (30% of overall score)
- Research (30%)
- Citations (30%)
- Industry income (2.5%)
- International outlook (7.5%) 

Their latest list of Top 200 universities worldwide shows the majority of elite universities are located in the U.S. and the U.K., accounting for 108 of the top 200.  Coming in at a distant third is the Netherlands with 12 universities, followed by Germany and France with 10 and 8 universities respectively.  But evaluating the raw numbers alone doesn’t tell the whole story.  Take The Netherlands, for example.  Relative to its population, which is about half the size of California’s, having 12 universities within the top 200 is pretty impressive. 

The sheer size of the U.S. makes it difficult to compare to other countries.  With more than 3,000 universities in the U.S., it’s no surprise to see them leading the list with 77 in the top 200.   In order to analyze this ranking on a more even playing field, we decided to analyze the list of Top 200 universities through a per capita lens.

Change in U.S. News & World Report Rankings

The latest U.S. News & World Report National University Rankings were released recently, and the higher education world gave a collective sigh – some from exasperation, some from excitement.  The yearly ritual of answering questions about where their university ranks relative to others in the U.S. is rarely enjoyable, but the reality is that international students continue to use these types of rankings to help them make those crucial early decisions during the application process.

Student Retention Tools That Work

Student retention is a hot topic these days, but it’s often difficult to see a clear path to improving your institution’s rates.  Southern Illinois University (SIU) set a goal of nearly 10% improvement in retention rate over the next three years, and is using a “secret weapon” that is already making a difference. 

Generation Study Abroad - Who's Going Where?

How do we double the number of Americans studying abroad in five years?  This question is what The Institute of International Education (IIE) is trying to answer with its Generation Study Abroad, a five-year initiative that seeks to double the number of U.S. students studying abroad.  Using expertise and insights from industry leaders, IIE has come up with 11 Big Ideas that institutions can implement right now to contribute to this cause. 

Here at Shorelight, we decided to help out.  We believe that data helps inform decisions and can reveal hidden opportunities, so we took on idea 4: “Use research strategically and more practically.” We started by analyzing international student mobility in and out of the United States. 

EAIE Conference - Data from Czech Republic

The European Association of International Education (EAIE) is holding its 26th annual conference this week in Prague.  Hosting nearly 5,000 participants from 90 countries, the EAIE Conference is the largest international education conference in Europe and one of the largest in the world. 

In honor of this year’s conference, we wanted to learn a little more about international students going to the Czech Republic to study, so we looked at UNESCO UIS statistics for the last seven years. 

International Student Degree Completion Rates

As the rate of international students coming to the U.S. has increased, so too have the conversations around how to address their unique needs.  Karin Fischer and others (NAFSA and WES head of research Rahul Choudaha) have highlighted the struggles universities are having with finding a formula for retention success regarding international students, but we wanted to see what the numbers say.

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