Record International Student Enrollment Shows The Importance Of Digital Marketing

According to a recent article on USAToday, international student enrolled in U.S. colleges climbed 6% to a record 764,495 last year. If this wasn’t enough the article also shares that U.S. students earning credits abroad also continues to increase but at a slower rate. The article goes on to say a lack of studying abroad and absorbing this enhanced understanding of our world is a potential disadvantage to U.S. students. More importantly the article goes into the big financial incentives created by recruiting and enrolling international students.

International Students Are Big Money For U.S. Higher Ed

International students and their dependents contributed $22.7 billion to the U.S. economy last year in tuition, fees and living expenses according to a study by the Institute of International Education (IIE). A separate account published by the NAFSA estimates the contribution to the economy at $21.8 billion. Either way these students generate a lot of revenue for the schools they attend. One of the biggest generators of this revenue is that international students tend to pay full tuition.

Because international students represent full price paying customers, recruiting them has extra advantages. Recruiting international students can also create its own set of challenges.  We believe that one of the best ways to recruit and market to these prospective students has to be through offering a solid website. Your website is your storefront that is open 24/7, and international students are almost always are in different time zones. You can’t expect that someone in China, the biggest group of international students, can call or even email quickly someone at your school when their communication would come in the middle of the night to the receiver at the school.

Also, we know how important the physical campus tour is to the recruitment process, but it is also that much harder and more expensive for the prospect to take this step when they are time zones away instead of a couple of towns over. Because of this we believe the value of tools like interactive campus maps and virtual tours are that much more a requirement when recruiting internationally. We have blogged previously about the importance of interactive tours to international prospective students. This new data further proves that it’s becoming more important and profitable for schools to cater to this audience successfully.

An International Student Interactive Map

If you are curious about where international students are coming from and the top states and universities getting these students USA Today has already created a really cool map.


It’s really interesting to see where the students are coming from and which states and schools are making the most to cash in on the opportunity. Unsurprisingly the states that have the largest populations are the ones that are the biggest destinations of international students.



Is your school doing anything to recruit international students? We obviously believe in the compelling value of an interactive map or virtual tour for recruitment purposes, but when you are talking about international students it is that much more valuable. International students are part of a trend that is here to stay and is only growing. As our world continues to become more international and “flat” studying abroad will continue to pick up adoption. It really isn’t that farfetched to see a time in the not too distant future when studying abroad isn’t just an elitist thing but something that every higher education student does for at least part of their education.

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