From The Yield, Spring 2015
A Must Read: First-Ever Report on International Secondary Students
The Institute of International Education’s inaugural report “Charting New Pathways to Higher Education: International Secondary Students in the United States” provides a wealth of data for anyone charged with diversifying a school’s international student population. According to the report, international student enrollment worldwide is at an all-time high with continued growth projected.
As IIE’s report states—and SSATB member schools have long understood—the primary motivation for international students to attend secondary school in the U.S. and Canada is to prepare for, and gain access to, higher education. It is therefore logical that independent school enrollments tend to mirror trends in higher education, though there are notable exceptions. India, for example, has 100,000 students attending U.S. colleges and universities, with more than half in graduate schools, yet, only 224 Indian students are enrolled in U.S. secondary schools (IIE, p. 29).
Major findings from the report include:
1.International student mobility largely follows patterns of post-secondary students with students from Asia comprising the majority (57%) of the 73,019 international secondary students studying in the U.S. in October 2013.
2.Sixty-seven percent of international secondary students in the U.S. are on F-1 visas (48,632) enrolled in diploma-granting programs, and 33% are J-1 exchange visa holders (24,387) enrolled in short-term, non-diploma programs. The preponderance of F-1 students are from Asia. China alone accounts for 46% of F-1 secondary visa holders studying in the U.S. In contrast, 66% of exchange students are European and another 9% are from South America, suggesting that cultural exchange is the primary motivation for students from these areas to travel to the U.S.
3.Schools tend to enroll either F-1 students or J-1 students. F-1 enrollment tends to be concentrated in the East and West, while J-1 enrollment is focused in the Midwest.
4.Ninety-five percent of diploma-seeking (F-1) students are enrolled in private schools. This is likely due to visa restrictions precluding public schools from enrolling international students for longer than one year.
5.The U.S. is the largest Anglophone host of international secondary students.
Download the full report here.
International Schools – Not Just For Expats
It might surprise you to learn that international schools are not just for expats anymore. According to The International School Consultancy (ISC), though their clientele varies from country to country, “Four-fifths of the pupils they teach around the world are locals...thirty years ago, just a fifth were.”
Nicholas Brummit, Chairman of ISC, notes: “International school enrollment is increasingly dominated by the richest 5% of non-English-speaking parents looking for places at international schools in their own countries.” Therefore, English-medium schools no longer exist only to support expat mobility. Rather, a confluence of factors—growing wealth in other countries (like China), increased demand for English instruction and curriculum, continued demand for admittance into the world’s top universities, and a growing desire in other countries for the best pedagogy available—is driving the exponential growth of international schools.
Twenty-two countries boast 100+ international schools. The UAE is the leader with 505 and China is close behind with 480. Twenty-one cities boast more than 50 international schools. As the availability of English-medium instruction and curriculum increases internationally at both the elementary and secondary levels, international families’ desire to enroll their children in U.S. and Canadian schools may well decrease.
Past and Projected Growth in International Schools
Year Schools Students Staff Fee Income
2000 2,5841 million 90,000 $4.9 billion
2009 5,0152.4 million 225,121 $20.1 billion
2013 6.7343.4 million 316,000 $34.4 billion
2014 6,8873.5 million 326,571 $35.4 billion
2019 9,2164.9 million 457,026 $47.4 billion
2024 12,3346.9 million 584,839 $63.5 billion