Re: International Students continue to grow in the U.S- China and Middle East lead the way!

The Institute for International Education, IIE,  released it’s annual profile of international students in the United States today.   It is no surprise that China continues to lead the way as the largest host market for international students, nearly 200,000 Chinese students are now studying the U.S. and this accounts for more than 25% of all international students.  Saudi Arabia showed the largest growth increase, over a 50% increase from 2011 and the Middle East Region as a whole showed marked increases.

A breakdown of the top countries of origin in the U.S. follows below:

% of Total                    % Change from 2011

1) China- 194, 029-                     25.4                             23.1

2) India- 100, 270                        13.1                              -3.5

3) South Korea-72, 295               9.5                                -1.4

4)  Saudi Arabia- 34, 139           4.5                                  50.4

5) Canada- 26, 821                   3.5                                 -2.6

6)  Taiwan- 23, 250                    3.0                                  -6.3

7) Japan- 19, 966                      2.6                                   -6.2

8) Vietnam- 15, 572                   2.0                                    4.6

9) Mexico- 13, 893                    1.8                                    1.3

10) Turkey- 11, 973                  1.6                                    -1.7

California ETEC has been helping U.S. schools develop strategies to begin or expand student recruitment for many years and is pleased to offer proven recruitment strategies for institutions seeking to grow their international student profile.   California ETEC has a global reach with offices in China and Vietnam.   



















VETEC™ launch announced at 2012 NAFSA Conference in Houston

California ETEC announced the opening of VETEC™ in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam at the recently concluded NAFSA Conference in Houston, Texas.    The Vietnam Education and Training Center or VETEC™ is a partnership between California ETEC and the U.S. Department of Commerce,  International Trade Administration.

The VETEC™ booth received strong interest from attending participants at the NAFSA Conference.    Many U.S. schools indicated the need for an organization such as California ETEC-directly supported by the U.S. government-  to provide in-country branding and promotional support to better compete against highly aggressive English speaking competitors from Australia, Canada, Singapore and the U.K.   VETEC™ expands upon California ETEC’s continuous efforts over the past eight years promoting U.S. Education in Vietnam, Thailand and S.E. Asia and seeks to be an integral resource for U.S. providers seeking to pro-actively engage the Region.

California ETEC will soon be announcing Grand Opening Kick Off Events.  Please visit our new VETEC™ webportal,, for further updates.

VETEC Booth at the 2012 NAFSA Conference, Houston, Texas

CA ETEC to introduce the Vietnam Education and Training Center(VETEC™) at the 2012 NAFSA Conference- A new model for expanding student recruitment and exchange

California ETEC will be introducing VETEC™ at the 2012 NAFSA Conference in Houston, Texas.   The Vietnam Education and Training Center(VETEC™) is a collaborative partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, to provide U.S. education institutions an in-country marketing platform to begin or expand student recruitment efforts  in Vietnam.   VETEC™ will offer many advantages to schools seeking to pro-actively engage the Vietnam market including:

  • Prime Office location in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Timely market research and intelligence gathering
  • Bi-lingual, experienced staff
  • High impact branding and promotions
  • Exclusive promotion of U.S. Education and Training

VETEC™ does not accept commissions for student placements and offers an alternative recruitment strategy for schools limited to-date with either working through study agents or participating in high-cost, low yield study fairs.

Please visit our booth,  # 1311


Beyond the money trail! U.S. schools should consider long-range internationalization goals before expanding foreign student recruitment efforts.

California ETEC awarded President's E-Award for Exporting Excellence

An ever growing number of academic and vocational schools  in the United States are seeking to  test the international student recruitment waters,  largely driven by the need to make up for budget shortfalls and seek “full freight” tuition revenues paid by foreign students.   This is not a surprise as international student recruitment is a big business- bringing more than $20 billion a year into the U.S. economy.

While the allure of increased revenues is enticing,  California ETEC has learned repeatedly that U.S. institutions seeking to expand student recruitment efforts must first establish a longer range internationalization vision for the campus in order to succeed with the more narrow goal of increasing foreign student recruitment.    Some of the common traits of schools succeeding in expanding campus-wide internationalization efforts are documented below.

Key success factors for sustaining international student recruitment success:

  • Historical commitment by the host institution to grow international student population, including ongoing funding and staffing support
  • Campus-wide commitment to support internationalization efforts include faculty participation in exchange and study abroad programs
  • Strong integration of Intensive English Programs(IEP)  on or nearby campus
  • Strong student services in-place to support international students, including affordable housing
  • Leveraging diverse community populations and strong diasporas of emerging markets

California ETEC provides strategic consulting services for U.S. institutions seeking to develop long-range plans to expand international student recruitment and campus-wide internationalization.

A Contrarian View on Japan

In international student outreach circles today, a preponderance of attention is devoted to China, India, Vietnam and Korea – and for good reason. Seasoned practitioners and newcomers to the field alike know that large and growing numbers of students from these countries are currently studying in the U.S. What’s more, shrinking budgets are forcing international recruitment professionals to adopt low cost, high impact strategies. Focusing on the aforementioned countries seems like a logical step.But what about Japan? While recruitment experimentation in unproven areas may be considered a comparably low Return On Investment proposition, Japan is anything but unproven. To be sure, we have witnessed a significant decline in Japanese student enrollments in the U.S. over the past 5-10 years:

Academic Year    Japanese students in the U.S.
2001-02         46,810
2002-03         45,960
2003-04         40,835
2004-05         42,215
2005-06         38,712
2006-07         35,282
2007-08         33,974
2008-09         29,264
2009-10         24,842
2010-11         21,290

Data from Open Doors:

However, in absolute terms Japan today is #7 on the Open Doors list of leading sending countries. And, it is #4 among both intensive English language programs and community colleges, respectively.

Savvy investors routinely boast of how their success derived from buying when others were selling (and refraining from doing the opposite.) Forgive the rough-edged metaphor, but could investing in Japan be effective, counterintuitive though it may feel?

Like any relationship worth having, partnerships with Japanese schools, agencies, and others – from Hokkaido to Kyushu – reveal their true value slowly, and over time. At Ohlone College we have taken the long view in Japan, and we’ve seen results. While modest in absolute terms, we are pleased with our Japanese student enrollment growth: about 2 dozen more Japanese students today than 5 years prior. What’s more, we see credible signs that this growth will continue.

A little more than a year ago a Tokyo-based colleague asked me if schools in the U.S. were giving up on Japan. Looking back on that now, the question pains me a bit, for 2 reasons: 1) I felt the answer in some cases might be yes; and 2) I don’t think it has to be.

Post authored by California ETEC Board Member- Eddie West,  Dean of Counseling and International Programs,  Ohlone College, Fremont, CA.


International Students are finding the merits of U.S. Community Colleges

When I faced the decision many high seniors are grapping with today as they decide where to pursue a higher education,  the community college route  was non-starter.  In my home town,  a junior college( as known in the 80’s) was just that- a last resort for students who were low achievers  in high school. Things have radically changed in the past 25 years and it seems that community colleges have finally ascended to an exalted place in the eyes of students, parents and the higher education community.   In fact,  the Obama Administration recently announced major federal funding increases to enhance program delivery and vocational training at U.S. community colleges.

What exactly is a Community College?

Primarily, these schools are publicly-funded facilities offering higher education to anyone who is interested, especially those in the local community. A community college traditionally offers certificates, diplomas and/or Associate’s degrees in several courses of study. At many community colleges, credits can be transferred to a four-year university for those students seeking a Bachelor’s degree. Students who attend community colleges often come from a variety backgrounds and purposes including high school students participating in dual enrollment programs to adults who are seeking a career change or skills enhancement for career advancement.   In the past few years,  the domestic and international student seeking academic pathway into a four-year university has been a fast growing segment of the community college population.

Community Colleges are widespread in the U.S., particularly in the State of California

As of January 2012,  there were more than 1100 community colleges operating around the United States.  California, alone,  hosts 112 community colleges and some college districts span entire metropolitan basins, such as Los Angeles City College District.  Community colleges enroll more than seven million students nationwide, including nearly 2 million students enrolled in community colleges in the State of California . International students are also a fast growing segment whom make up as much as 15% of the student enrollment on some campuses.  In fact, the latest Open Doors Report( 2010-2011) indicated nearly 90,000 international students were enrolled at U.S. Community Colleges .

What is the allure for international students?

  • Vocational training programs that feed into local and global industries needs- Aviation,  Business Management, Fashion Design, Hospitality/Tourism,  Logistics,  and Nursing.
  • Transfer pathway into leading four-year undergraduate programs- community colleges and four-year institutions, including the UC system, have formalized transfer admission guarantees(TAG).
  • Affordable Cost-  U.S. community college tuition and fees are approximately 50% lower than those at 4-year colleges and universities.
  • A good starting point for students who have TOEFL or IELTS scores below requirements of traditional 4-year institutions.    Many community colleges have strong intensive English language programs and programs that allow international students to quickly mainstream into academic classes.

Community Colleges importance promoted by the U.S. Government overseas. 

The growing importance of community colleges has also been acknowledged the U.S. Department of State.  EducationUSA offices are increasingly coordinating stand-alone fairs to promote community colleges overseas and even the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs has created a J1 exchange program- Community College Initiative- dedicated to promoting the merits of community colleges overseas.  California ETEC co-administrated  this program from 2008-2011, a program that brought 1000 Egyptian students to 16 host colleges in California and another 25+ community colleges around the United States.

Most importantly,  visa approvals appear to be way up for community college applicants around the globe.   As  community colleges step-up student recruitment efforts globally,  more foreign students will begin their study in the U.S. at 2 year institutions.  As acknowledgement of the role community colleges are expected to play recruiting and preparing prospective 4-year students globally,  many 4-year institutions have begun efforts to develop joint-promotion strategies and expand TAG agreements with partner community colleges.    California ETEC will encourage such cooperative efforts and aggressively promote the benefits of community colleges in our promotions throughout Asia. 



The Vietnam Education and Training Center(VETEC™) Advantage

California ETEC’s first contact with the Vietnam Education Market was in 2006.  After coordinating a series of in-country events( customized student fairs,  agent matchmaking receptions,  school visits), we concluded the best way to support the growing interest of U.S. schools in Vietnam was to get closer to the market.  The first step in this process was CA ETEC being selected to coordinate the Meet Vietnam Education Forum in San Francisco,  November 2009.  This event was sponsored by the Vietnam Government with the express purpose of enhancing institutional linkages between Vietnamese and U.S. colleges and universities.   As a by-product, we established useful contacts at the Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training(MOET).    Follow on events were also conducted in 2010-2011 in Vietnam to encourage U.S. schools to pursue more pro-active education exchange with local high schools and universities.    While these events yielded modest outcomes- J1 scholar exchange, teacher exchanges and student placements at U.S. institutions,  the distance of the Vietnam market and its’ growing importance required a more permanent commitment.    In 2011,  California ETEC proposed establishing a stand-alone center in Ho Chi Minh City- VETEC™ – for funding support from the U.S. Department of Commerce( Market Development Cooperator Program).    On September 12th, 2011,   California ETEC received notice that the VETEC ™ project was selected to receive federal funding support- the first such initiative ever funded with a focus on the Vietnam market.

VETEC™ Opening in Summer 2012 

VETEC™ will be located in a prime location in Ho Chi Minh City, maintain a bi-lingual staff, offer year-round student advising services and ongoing assistance and support colleges and universities seeking to start or expand student recruitment and exchange activities in Vietnam.


Future student recruitment success in the highly competitive Vietnam market will require a strategic approach that can only be gained through having an ongoing presence in-country.    VETEC™ will offer U.S. schools a viable alternative and/or supplement to working through study agents or participating in high-cost, low yield study fairs that  are multiplying in Vietnam.

Visit our dedicated  website ( to learn more  how your school can leverage  VETEC™ and succeed in the Vietnam market

A competitive landscape calls for new international student recruitment strategies

In earlier posts we have discussed that a growing number of schools are seeking to expand their international student recruitment activities.   While some schools are going about this objective through passive or arm chair means other schools are deploying  dedicated recruiters around the  global  to seek out students.  What is becoming more clear, however, just participating in student fairs or selecting study agents to represent your school does not guarantee recruitment success.  Unlike a few years ago,  your school is now likely to encounter 50 or more U.S. schools at major study fairs in Asia and find agents are already top heavy  representing like schools.   Unfortunately,  Woody Allen’s quote that just showing up was 80% of success, is no longer valid.

So how does a school cope with the ever growing competition for qualified students in Asia?   California ETEC fields this specific question from  schools on nearly a weekly basis.  CA ETEC has responded by developing new, innovative recruitment models that can help schools successfully compete in these crowded markets.   Our  customized recruitment services offer alternatives to the high-cost, low-yield study fair participation or settling with an agent(s) based strategy.

What a custom recruitment program consists of: 

  • A dedicated staff person, managed in CA ETEC local country office, exclusively promotes your school
  • Continuous branding and marketing of your program in-country
  • Develop market specific collateral materials and local website presence
  • Coordinate and launch digital marketing campaign
  • Expanding from recruitment to internationalization™ program 

The above program is now being offered in China and will soon be launched in Vietnam      ( and an expected rolled out in Korea is planned later in the year.  Please contact California ETEC to learn how your school can adopt customized recruitment strategies in these important countries.