If we’ve learned anything from last year it’s to always expect the unexpected. Still, here’s our best bet on what will shape international education in 2017.
The global English-medium pathway market was valued at $1.4bn in 2015. While around a third of pathway programmes are university-run, the majority are developed by third-party providers. In October, the US, slated to be the new frontier for pathway programmes, delivered long awaited guidance on pathway provider operations which will force many to explore new business models. SEVP requires pathway programmes to provide credit-bearing courses and guaranteed progress to a degree programme. Students must also meet a minimum of English language requirements before they start the course.
Some providers have already reacted to the policy by entering into marketing and recruitment-only partnerships with universities who set up the programmes themselves rather than entering into joint ventures with private providers. We can also expect to see more growth in pre-master’s pathways.
The year of TNE
A report by the OBHE estimated some 20 international branch campuses are currently being developed which will add to the global total of 249. The growth in IBC numbers has remained consistent over the past five years, with China emerging as the preferred country to set up shop. Although IBCs are cost-heavy, they provide the biggest returns and reach to institutions – two factors of international education that could now be at risk for UK institutions. It’s not surprising that after the Brexit vote, fears of immigration clampdowns have spurred providers to build on pre-existing TNE operations. A report by HE Global found that of the 134 universities in the UK, 99 participated in some form of transnational education in 2014/15 and four out of five plan to expand their TNE activity in the coming year.