US professionals support national strategy

Published 15/03/2024

International education professionals in the US have agreed on the need for a national education strategy to boost its competitiveness in the global education market, a new survey has found.

The report, carried out by IDP in consultation with leading education organisations across the US, highlighted the need for reforming visa policy, expanding diversity and increasing the country’s internationalisation efforts, among other strategic priorities for international education in the US.

The US is the only major study destination without a national strategy for international education. NAFSA, one of the organisations involved in the research, has been urging for the US to create its own national strategy for several years.

Drawing on more than 400 responses, the most frequently identified priority was the need to modernise pathways for international students to work and gain residency post graduation.

This was closely followed by the necessity of updating F-1 visas for academic students and J-1 visas for exchange students to broaden access.

Photo: IDP

Diversification emerged as a strong area of consensus among respondents, showing support for strategies proposed to address visa denial rates, provide scholarships for underrepresented groups, and promote study abroad opportunities to a wider range of students.

“In the effort to diversify education abroad, 88% of respondents pointed to the need for dedicated scholarships/funding for Americans to study abroad, especially those from low-income families, underrepresented groups, or non-traditional backgrounds,” the report stated.

More than half of all respondents said there is a need to “better promote education abroad to underrepresented groups, offer a more diverse list of study destinations, and expand the range and format of study away options to increase access and participation”.

Four in five respondents said that a national strategy should be funded by the US government, with one third acknowledging that institutions and organisations should contribute.

There was “strong consensus” that the US government’s role should focus on reforming and enhancing student visa policies and procedures in a bid to make them “more accessible, transparent and consistent”.

Photo: IDP

However, the survey also found concerns around a national strategy across a country comprising 50 states, DC and territories.

Closer to half (47%) said they had concerns, including doubts about achieving consensus across the country’s diverse education landscape and the sustainability of a plan amid changing administrations, geopolitical trends and resource availability.

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