The Morning Economic Report
8:19 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Decline in International Student Enrollment - 6/4/14

In recent years, growing numbers of U.S. colleges and universities have looked to students from abroad to support enrollment numbers and tuition-based revenues.  For instance, nearly 240,000 South Korean students went abroad last year, equal to roughly 7 percent of that nation’s college population.  About one-third of those South Korean students who headed abroad came to America.  Over the past decade, the number of Chinese undergraduates at American institutions has expanded by nearly 900 percent. 

But as reported in the New York Times, after years of robust enrollment increases, demand for U.S. education appears to be weakening.  Many factors are at work.  In South Korea, the employment rate for college graduates has declined to just 60% in a still shaky economy.  A 2013 survey by a Chinese recruitment firm found that 70% of employers would give no preference to overseas educated applicants and nearly 10% said that they would prefer not to hire them.  In fact, the number of South Korean graduate students in the U.S. has been falling since 2010, in part because those who attend U.S schools often lose the chance to build strong social networks at home.