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Policies towards International Students in the USA and EU


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Prepared for and presented at the Bulgarian-American Commission for Educational Exchange 9th biennial conference "Education for the New Age: Tradition, Reform, Innovation", held on 7-8/08/2010 in Bansko, Bulgaria, accessible at the official site

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Policies towards International Students in the USA and EU

  1. 1. Approaches to Globalized Education: Policies towards International Students in the USA and EU<br />By HRISTINA PETROVA, M.A.,<br />9th Int’l Fulbright Conference held in Bansko, Bulgaria, 06-08/08/2010 <br />
  2. 2. International Students<br />2<br />According to OECD(2002), students represent a form of skilled migration; students’ mobility is a precursor to further migrations/ Int’l student mobility is the main form of cross-border higher education (IOM 2008)<br />The number of Int’l students increased by 50 % 1998-2004 to 2.7 million (IOM 2008) <br />The US share of int’l students = 20 % in 2006 (25 % in 2000); Germany(9 %) and France(7 %) among the biggest recipients; En-speaking countries take 47 % of all (IOM 2008)<br />Major export industry in Australia and New Zealand; solution to both skills and demographic structure <br />
  3. 3. USA: International Student Visas<br />Nonimmigrant visas – Academic Study – F; Cultural Exchange –J; Vocational study- M;<br />Since 2005 – the first 20,000 Advanced students (MA +)from US uni’s can be granted H-1B visas <br />SKIL Act (Rep.)– 2006; 2010 – advanced students can stay(no intent to depart); flexible caps for H-1B <br />DREAM Act (R;D): Legalizing those children of illegal immigrants who have spent 5 years in USA, graduated from US schools (discussions at present)<br />3<br />
  4. 4. USA: International Student Visas II<br />4<br />F, J and M visas – 374,000 in 1989 =5 %, over 500,000 in 2005 =8 % of all nonimmigrant visas<br />Applicants’ partners and children can join them<br />F visas – applicants can stay up to 1 year after expiry as interns to US companies – no need to adjust status<br />Foreign residency requirement for J visas : 2 years in their home countries before they can return to USA and apply for another visa if (1) there is skills shortage in their field in their country; (2) their stay was financed; (3) medical training<br />Origin F, J, M visas 2005: 41 % Europe; 40 % Asia; Business and Engineering -each 20 % (Haddal 2006) <br />
  5. 5. Trends and Emerging Issues<br />5<br />Foreign students – in 2006 56 % of PhDs in electrical engineering and computer science/S&E Post docs (NSF 2008, 2010)<br />Students’ flows from the Middle East diverted after 2001 to other En-speaking countries (MPI 2006) <br />Stay rates for PhD graduates from China and India are high (90% intent to stay vs. 66 % on average for the rest); However, return rates for Cn/In professionals b/se of opportunities home/visas wait times (Wadhwa 2009) <br />
  6. 6. Trends and Emerging Issues II<br />6<br />Financial concerns for domestic students; lack of Recruitment Strategies (CGS to Obama adm. 2009)<br />‘Open doors’ : 670,000 foreign st in 2009 – biggest nr ever but the report didn’t reveal (Head; Fischer 2009): <br />11 % rise in the n of foreign undergraduate students BUT 2 % rise only in the n of graduate students; 60 % growth undergraduate Chinese vs. 14 % graduate<br />Foreign undergraduate 2% of all undergr. but foreign graduate -10 % of all graduate st. ; 16 % growth of first-time foreign students (contribution of the Chinese) <br />Decrease in enrolments - India, South Korea, Japan<br />
  7. 7. EU Mobility-Migration<br />7<br />EU Students very mobile: 23% studied abroad > 1; visited on average 5 c’s in the last 2 y. 35% prefer to work abroad, 45 % didn’t know (ESN Survey 2007: 8,000 respondents)<br />The Nr of lang’s - preference of working abroad. Most of them 3,4 lang’s (mother tongue incl.) but mostly Be, Fn, (bilingual c’s) + Lt, Ro (New Member States to the EU) (ESN Survey 2007)<br />Economic growth/creating jobs was important as a value- students from Pl, It, Nl, Be, Tr (ESN survey) <br />Overeducation – 33 % of all EU; (low NL, high Estonia) - emigration<br />Only Bg, Es, Si and the UK decrease in the proportion of graduates in S &T (due to migration ?) 10 % of all EU tertiary graduates in science, math, computing(Eurostat 09); De (59,000), UK, Se, Be, Fr, Lu are net recipients of S & T graduates (in 2000). BUT expenditure on edu in De < 10 % vs. > 14 % in Denmark, Ireland (Eurostat 2009: data as of 2006)<br />ESN – Erasmus Student Network<br />Overeducation – source: CEDEFOP 2009<br />
  8. 8. EU: The Blue Card (BC) Proposal <br />Jacob Weizsacker coined the term in 2006, referring to 3 components: 1. Wide Blue Card points-based scheme following the Canadian/Australian points-based schemes; <br />2. Blue Diplomas – Master’s graduates from any EU university would have these attached automatically + graduates from the first 100 non-EU universities; <br />3. External min. wage for the then new MS Bg, Ro and Turkey – eur 30,000 p.a.; 24,000 for young people (in DE), to be lowered over time and not necessarily applied everywhere in the EU<br />8<br />
  9. 9. EU: EC & EP Directive on Third Country Nationals for Highly Qualified Employment<br />When the EU Commission drafted the directive in 2007, two dispositions were proposed: <br />(1.) No salary threshold for foreign graduates from EU universities (aged under 30); <br />(2.) 2/3 of threshold for those aged under 30 graduated outside the EU; <br />The EU Parliament cancelled both of them in 2008, b/se of ‘discrimination on the basis of age’. The Council reaffirmed the EP decision in 2009, when it adopted the final version of the Directive (effective 2011) <br />9<br />
  10. 10. Education is Beautiful<br />In the three versions of the directive, higher professional qualifications are defined as: <br />EU Commission: 3 year diploma or 3 years professional experience<br />EU Parliament: 3-5 year diploma or 5 years professional experience, 2 of which higher position<br />Council: 3 year diploma or 5 years professional experience<br />Nevertheless, derogations for students were cancelled <br /> contradiction<br />10<br />
  11. 11. The Case of Bulgarian Students<br />11<br />In 2009 BG students in USA 10 % less than in 2008 – from 3205 to 2889 -1,511-BA, 1,017 MA/PhD. Students from other new EU MS decreased but those from the old EU members and Turkey increased – esp. those from Germany, Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands (10 %;It – 20 % ). Overall, 4 % increase of incoming European students (88,000). <br />Displacement in Europe as the new MS benefit from mobility and prefer to study in Europe, while the outflows of students from the old MS may be due to lack of good business & management, computer science/engineering programs. <br />
  12. 12. Bulgarian Students Abroad<br />12<br />According to education consultancies , 80,000 BG students abroad – 10 K in Germany, increase in the UK (40 % for 1 year), Denmark and the Netherlands are also among the most desired countries. (articles 2009)<br /> Survey in Manheim, De (2009): 60 % of BG students don’t want to return home – no job opportunities, corruption. Specialties: business, management, law. <br />Students return from Germany and Denmark b/se are unable to find jobs. They don’t go to the US anymore as they are unable to pay high fees (not b/se they are unwilling to study there). <br />Among foreign students in De, Bulgarian students 2nd in nr after the Chinese. <br />
  13. 13. Europe Recruits Bulgarian Students<br />13<br />Strong presence of UK at edu fairs in BG, with several universities alone from London; Dutch and Danish uni’s. In addition, the French institutes organize annually fairs across the country and French uni’s are well represented (attractive b/se tuition fees are low)<br />In 2010 the Netherlands started a direct campaign – students from Sofia mathematics high school to be enrolled in the 2nd year of BA ‘Sensor Technology’ <br /> at Hanze Institute of Technology (Groningen ). Norway has recently started promoting its universities in BG through its embassy(esp. hired people for that purpose).<br />For more information on Norway’s initiatives, see<br />
  14. 14. The Situation at Home <br />14<br />In 2010 applications to BG uni’sdecreased 25 % (but 32 % to the Technical Uni Sofia) although from 2004/05 to 2009/10 20 % increase: from 230,000 to 280,000 students (data: NSI). In addition, programs and universities are mushrooming – colleges become universities, the opening of new universities is being currently discussed. <br />The ratio uni’s/popul. in BG is very high – in 1999 Austria with comparable overall population and n of students enrolled had 20 uni’s/academies vs. 41 uni’s & 47 colleges in Bulgaria (nrs: Sega Bg 2001); <br /> 51 uni’s in Bg in 2010<br />
  15. 15. The Situation at Home II<br />15<br />Universities increased the application periods – 2,3 per year. BUT they also increased fees instead of offering scholarships to students. A new law will soon enter into force: students with lower entry scores in ‘’paid education’’ (Bg is experiencing massive internal migration – more than 1/3 of BG live in the capital)<br />In June/July 2010 – students (Arts; Medicine) protested against raised fees . Min. of Education/Sofia University: these were ‘technical’ mistakes and tuition fees were lowered three times (Medicine). <br /> No codes of ethics/ care/practice exist – students’ papers can appear at any time in professors’ textbooks/papers; students-professors obligations in terms of supervision ‘unknown’ ; no uniform requirements on writing BA/MA thesis (e.g. general req. – 60p., some dept’s -120p., etc) <br /> Electronic repositories at uni’s – esp. for Professors and Doctoral students; AND NOT for Ba/Master’s students as it is the case in other countries<br />
  16. 16. Conclusions & Rec’s (BG Case)<br />16<br />No adequate measures were taken in BG- emigrationwill increase. As BG students are traditionally very competitive in math and computer sciences, active recruitment from abroad will benefit students and the foreign uni’s both in Europe and beyond. It is unlikely that BG students return home, given the political barriers and the low living standard. <br />Exchanges (whether in Europe or US) are not likely to solve the problems – generally mobility increases the possibility of further migration. In the case of BG, for those who return culture shock may even exacerbate problems.<br />BG students are very gifted in math and computer science, they win medals in int’l competitions on a regular basis, see – news (Google chrome translate) <br />
  17. 17. Conclusions & Rec’s II (BG Case)<br />17<br />For those unable to leave - implementation of University Codes and relevant ministerial body that would follow students’ complaints and possibly resolve cases; more scholarships for students; more services and el. resources at universities for STUDENTS and not only for professors <br />The best measure would be the creation of ‘emigration’ rather than immigration agency. As it’s clear that BG Gvt and uni’s will oppose the idea in absolutely any way, this should be done either from abroad and/or electronically with the joint efforts of the BG diaspora. <br />
  18. 18. Implications of Policies<br />18<br />Highly educated people are highly mobile and can change their preferences according to the ‘offer’ <br />Any restriction in one of the major receiving countries has implications on the import in the neighbouring countries – USA/Canada; Australia/New Zealand; EU/Switzerland, Norway; UK, Ireland and Denmark in the case of the Blue Card (the three opted out)<br />Any new policy - implications for competitors - it has to go a step further rather than copy + paste, e.g. NZ ‘Silver Fern’ policy is innovative <br />Quantity-Quality (financial gains only vs. long-term strategy in which cultural and other factors are taken into account)<br />EU: selection/retention – no link yet  loss for the EU<br />