IIE Networker - Fall 2009 - (Page 28)

REGIONAL FOCUS: THE CARIBBEAN Student Recruitment in the Caribbean: New Strategies for Cooperation By Tim Wright, Brandy Fransen and Cleveland Sam IN A CULTURALLY, politically and linguis- tically diverse region with a comparatively high percentage of students choosing to pursue higher education outside their country of origin, the Caribbean presents a promising opportunity for U.S. institutions interested in expanding and diversifying their international student populations. It is difficult to explain why a region with so much potential has been largely left untapped by the U.S. higher education community. It may be due to the fact that the entire Caribbean region sends less than 25 percent of the total of international students coming from the top country of origin (India has over 94,563) but, by comparing international student mobility numbers to tertiary aged population figures, we clearly see that the Caribbean continues to send more students to the U.S. than any other world region.1 region, which results in decreased visibility for U.S. higher education across the board. Multiple territories in the Caribbean organize annual college fairs for colleges and universities interested in recruiting students from their nations. Looking at participant data from college fairs in Barbados, one of the leading sending countries in the region, we see that Canadian universities outnumber U.S. universities almost two to one.2 Couple this with increased competition from countries like Cuba, with strong programs in medicine; the U.K., which provided the foundation for the educational system in the majority of the region; Canada, which boasts education at lower costs than in the U.S.; and a push from local 4-year degree granting institutions to keep students in the region, we begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together. allows admissions officers from U.S. universities and colleges to be big fish in small ponds, thus improving the probability of recruiting talented students from the Caribbean than from the major senders in Asia. Second, from a global perspective, 55 percent of all international students in the U.S. study at only 153 universities and the top three receiving states are California, New York and Texas. Specific to the Caribbean, nearly 40 percent of Caribbean students study in Florida and New York, demonstrating the strength of family ties and word of mouth as pull factors and that those Caribbean students are less concerned with top name institutions and more interested in quality, personalized education. Third, U.S. students are showing more interest in the region as a destination for study abroad, as noted by the 17.4 percent increase from 05/06 to 06/07.3 While these students might not form part of an official recruiting plan, these students are unofficial ambassadors of the U.S. institutions they represent and present an easy network that can be of much value to admissions officers. Local Educational Systems: Moving Forward While the interpretation of grading systems proves a challenge to recruiting students from these territories, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), the official accrediting institution for standardized exams, certificates & diplomas in 16 English speaking territories, is making great strides towards further streamlining examinations for academic, technical and vocational courses of study within a single system of certification. Among others, the CXC offers the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), a post-secondary level exam with a 6-point grading system that can help U.S. universities and colleges better assess a student’s performance in each of its subject areas, and Associate Degrees that are based on CAPE performance and follow a 4.0 Students and parents from Trinidad and Tobago came to meet admissions representatives from more than 45 U.S. universities that attended the 2008 college fair held in Trinidad. Find a list of the 2009 fairs on p. 29. Student Mobility Trends In 2003/04, the Caribbean reached a tenyear peak of students studying in the U.S. with 16,828. In 2007/08, we saw numbers drop lower than they have been in nine years, to 13,546. The million dollar question is, “where are all the students going?” Anecdotal evidence suggests first and foremost that this decline in student numbers is paralleled by a decline in U.S. university presence in the The Good News Although the number of Caribbean students studying in the U.S. is at a nine-year low, there is plenty to keep us optimistic. First, the single most important argument for recruiting students in the region is that the Caribbean continues to be the largest sending region of international students to the U.S. compared to tertiary-aged population size than any other region in the world. This 28

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Fall 2009

IIE Networker - Fall 2009
Message from Allan E. Goodman
Public Diplomacy and Academic Exchange: Policy Priorities of the New Administration
Student Mobility Trends in Latin America
Promoting Inclusiveness in Higher Education in Latin America: A Policy Response
IIENetworker University Presidents Interview Series
Student Recruitment in the Caribbean: New Strategies for Cooperation
Bridging Borders: A Project for the Development and Diversification of Higher Learning Institutions in the United States and Haiti
Recent Challenges to Study Abroad in Mexico: Economic Crisis, Security Risks, H1N1
Special Feature: International Education Initiatives in Latin America
New York City and Sao Paulo, Public Policy and Business: A New Dual Degree Partnership
The Browser: Advertisers' Index
IIE Program Profile: The IIE Regional Office for Latin America

IIE Networker - Fall 2009