Tag Archives: colleges and universities

Marguerite talks college admissions with St. Joseph’s College television

Marguerite Dennis explains to St. Joseph’s College Telecare TV network Transforming Communities how to demystify college admissions.

The show, hosted by Theresa LaRocca-Meyer, Vice President for Enrollment Management at St. Joseph’s, and Gigi Lamens, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management, will be replayed several times on St. Joseph’s Telecare cable network.

The interview is part of Marguerite’s book tour for The New College Guide: How to Get In, Get Out and Get a Job. And, through the good graces of St. Joseph’s and Telecare Television, we have the full interview here (feel free to share it with your friends):

Common Mistakes When Selecting a College or University

Selecting a college or university can be a daunting experience, even for the best and brightest students.

Before applying to a college or university, try to avoid making these common mistakes:


The student wants to travel as far away from home as possible but the parents will only support enrolling in schools less than 500 miles away from home.  It is essential that families decide, before beginning any college investigation, the geographic parameters for enrollment.

How Many Applications?

Too many students file too many applications because they have not narrowed their choices and done the necessary investigative work. If you ask the right questions and get the right answers, you should not file more than 7 applications.

First Apply; then Figure Out How to Pay for College

Do not file any application until you know if you can afford to attend. Do this before application, not after acceptance.

Switch and Bait

Find out if the financial aid package you are awarded in the first year will continue in subsequent years.  Make certain the grant and loan ratios stay the same.

Parent Debt and Student Debt

The majority of college students borrow to pay for their educational expenses.

Last year the average debt was approximately $30,000.  But what about parent debt?  Find out how much parents have to borrow at each of the schools on your list.

Debt and First Year Starting Salaries

Debt is manageable or unmanageable based on first year starting salaries. Try not to borrow more than 15 percent of your first year starting salary.

In the next post, later this week, we’ll look at more common mistakes. 

Mr. Cohen cuts class, misses notes; not college costs

In an opinion piece published in the March 21 edition of the New York Times, attorney Steve Cohen suggests a quick way to cut college costs would be for Congress to reduce by 75 percent the “estimated family contribution,” or EFC, for middle class families with children headed to college or university.

I believe Mr. Cohen is mistaken and submitted to the Times a letter in rebuttal:

I must respectfully disagree with a basic premise in Mr. Cohen’s Op-Ed article in today’s New York Times.

It is folly for a family to spend time and money filing many college applications and only begin a conversation as to whether they can afford the school after an acceptance letter arrives in the mailbox.

To cut college costs, a more pro-active approach to college admission and financing is necessary. Families should have in-person ( or electronic) conversations with financial aid staff to get an estimate of Expected Family Contribution. At the same time they should also get an estimate of what the family can expect in federal, state and school funding. There are many colleges and universities meeting with parents and students in the evening or on the week-end to provide early estimates of financial costs and expected funds.

Some schools may be eliminated after this information is calculated. Other schools may stay on the college list as a result of the information.

Given the political climate in Washington, does anyone really believe, as Mr. Cohen suggests, that Congress and the President will act quickly to reduce the EFC by 75%?

The best way for families to control college costs is to take control, by getting good information early in the application cycle, of their ability to afford, or not afford, each of the schools on their college list.


China Recruitment Update 2014: Fewer Chinese Students?

The second child policy, Confucius Institutes abroad, an emphasis on Chinese universities will all play important roles in the future recruitment of Chinese students at Western universities.

As I travel around the world and in the United States, helping colleges and universities write and implement strategic international plans, I am always asked about recruiting in China. The following are some trends and statistics that may assist you in future China recruiting.

Second Child Policy

There is no doubt that educational providers will benefit from the recent lifting of the single child policy in China. But the new policy will not bring a short-term boom for the colleges and universities today. It will take a long time to see a significant increase in the number of newborn children and an even longer time until those children reach elementary and secondary school.

China’s Overseas Policies

Most people reading this blog are familiar of the huge number of Chinese students who have fanned across the globe and enrolled in colleges and universities worldwide. Some may also be familiar with the number of Confucius Institutes that the Chinese government has funded over the past several years.

Confucius InstituteBut few may know of the Chinese higher education plan for the future that includes establishing campuses abroad. In 2012, China opened a campus in Laos, on the outskirts of the capital Vientiane In 2013, a Chinese campus was opened in London.

China Is Still King

In 2012-13 almost as many students from China enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities as from the other top four sending countries combined. A record 235,597 Chinese students, or 28.7% of all international students studying in the United States, came from China.

China Obstacles

According to an article in the December 19/26 2013 issue of Times Higher Education, the biggest obstacle to China becoming a major power in the higher education world is the hierarchical culture of the universities. There is well documented information of abuses in both admission and grading. Academic freedom is, at best, questionable.

Chinese leaders have made it clear in speeches and actions that the Chinese graduate of today is not what the country needs. They have created the C9 League, a group of China’s elite universities and the ones that benefit from the biggest funding. Future Chinese students will be trained to have an international perspective and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Key Takeaways

As Chinese universities evolve more students will be inclined to stay at home to study and less inclined to study abroad. This may not happen immediately but I believe that we will see a decline in the number of Chinese students studying abroad for full degrees. Short-term, study abroad programs, will continue to be popular.

Look to other countries to replace the Chinese students who may not enroll at your school, including: Iran, Vietnam, any of the “stans” and Africa, Africa, Africa.

There are so many reasons to begin developing a robust international recruitment program in Africa. I would begin today.

Chinese Students and Higher Education Trends

Chinese student enrollment will continue to increase and dominate international student enrollment in the immediate future.

However, as the Chinese government continues to fund higher education and Chinese colleges and universities improve fewer students will leave China to study. It won’t happen tomorrow but is a trend to watch with huge implications for colleges and universities around the world  who depend on Chinese enrollment for financial viability.

China plans to spend up to 4% of GDP on higher education. The U.S. spends 3% and Europe .6%.

Since 1998 China has funded the 985 Project that has channeled millions of dollars into a handful of elite universities like Tsinghua University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiaotong University and Nanjing University.

China has surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest higher education system. More than 60% of high school graduates enroll in an institution of higher education, up from 20% in the 1980s. There are more than 31 million Chinese students enrolled in higher education both in China and throughout the world.

China is using higher education as a way of expanding its global influence. The Chinese government provides scholarships to students all over the world. Confucius Institutes are spreading across the world, teaching Mandarin and Chinese culture. The annual number of scholarships to African students exceeds 4,000.

There are an increasing number of international students studying in Chinese universities. The top three sending countries are: South Korea, United States and Japan. China now ranks #5 as the host country for American students studying abroad.

Over the past two decades, the Chinese government has enacted a series of national policies to increase and promote student mobility. The China Scholarship Council is one of the key agencies responsible for implementing the government’s policies.

A March 19, 2012 article reported in “Inside Higher Education,” indicated that 94% of Chinese high school students polled wanted to study in an English speaking country and 78% were interested in studying in the United States. The reasons given: academic quality of American colleges and universities, critical thinking teaching and the quality of college and university facilities.

In an article in the April 10, 2012 issue of “Inside Higher Education,” it was reported Chinese applications to graduate education programs in the United States have increased 17%. Overall Chinese applications to American graduate schools have increased 9%.

Some of the problems in Chinese higher education are: lack of creativity (students are taught like “stuffed ducks”), the competitive nature of the university entrance examination – “Gaokao” and the
physical facilities of many Chinese universities.

A high ranking official in the Chinese Ministry of Education has indicated that the government has ambitious growth targets for the country’s international student population. By 2015, the government
would like to have 350,000 foreign students studying in China and the figure to reach 500,000 by 2020.

Trends in International Education

International higher education is a big business, a $400 billion dollar “industry.”

Since 2000, the number of overseas students, graduate and undergraduate students and exchange students, has increased nearly 80%. International education is a business wrapped around every corner of the globe.

By 2025, global demand for seats in higher education is projected to double, reaching an annual enrollment of 200 million students.

As long as the middle class continues to grow in the developing world, demand for postsecondary education will continue to outpace supply.

No one country will dominate the international student market in the future. Students will migrate to new international destinations based on a variety of factors including price, visa eligibility, work  opportunities and availability of quality education in the students’ home country.

Technology and today’s “digital native” student will determine educational delivery methods in the future.

The increasing availability of telephone and Internet connections is starting to unite the world’s rich and poor. Online education will make higher education available to students who otherwise could not afford to attend college outside their home country.

For-profit institutions in the developed world will expand their educational services, especially as distance and e-learning providers.

In the future, private financing will increase and public financing will decrease, resulting in higher tuition rates.

Technological capabilities will continue to encourage the rise of global universities. These universities, rather than single institutions, will become the norm in the future. Strategic alliances will enhance  current international recruitment practices.

Colleges and universities throughout the world will consolidate and merge several universities into fewer “mega” universities. There will be a growing emphasis on regional and global collaboration.

Erasmus Mundus will expand the EU network past Europe to a global scale.

Most countries consider international academic mobility and educational exchanges as critical components for sharing knowledge, building intellectual capital and remaining competitive in a globalized world.

Countries that have historically been “sending” countries have developed their own internationalization strategies to attract foreign students to their countries to study.

The movement of students from developing to developed countries is changing, as unexpected players are now engaged in what can best be described as a global competition for international students.

On-line educational opportunities will become increasingly important to students from developing countries that do not have the financial resources to study abroad.

In the future, the balance between in-country enrollments and offshore enrollments will shift in the direction of offshore.

Demand for alternative methods of delivering higher education in the future is expected to outstrip demand for traditional methods by 6% before 2020.

Although some U.S. colleges and universities have closed their overseas campuses, other U.S. schools have expanded their overseas operation, especially in the Middle East and Asia. The Institute of International Education has created the IIE Center for International Partnerships in Higher Education, to assist colleges and universities in developing and sustaining institutional partnerships around the world.

International Education Interesting Facts and Trends

Education is the fourth largest source of exports from the U. S. behind: royalties and license fees, business, professional, and technical services and financial services.

Approximately 10% of all U.S. undergraduate students study abroad. The most popular fields of study are the social sciences, business and management and the humanities. The United Kingdom was the  number one destination followed by Italy, Spain, France and China.

According to data compiled by the Education Policy Strategy Associates, the most affordable international colleges in the world are located in: Finland, Norway, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, The  Netherlands, France, Latvia, Canada, New Zealand, England and Wales, USA, Australia, Japan and Mexico.

The Fulbright New Century Scholars have examined access and equity in higher education around the world. Some of the issues they investigated are: quality of academic programs, physical infrastructure of the university, curricula development, faculty standards, access for low income students, assessment and quality assurance.

Although the decline in international student enrollment in the United States was exacerbated by the events of September 11, 2001, the decline in the number of international students began long before that time.  In 1970 the U.S. market share of international students studying outside their home country was 36.7%. In 1995 the number was 30%.  In 2004 it was 25% and by 2009 that percentage was 20%.

Twenty-five years ago, nearly 80% of all international students wanted to stay in the United States after graduation.  Currently, many international students, including students from China and India, consider employment opportunities in their own countries better than the work opportunities in the United States.

The governments of India and China will pour millions of dollars in the future to develop and strengthen their own universities.

The U.K., Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia and China are increasing their market share of the international student population.

In the Middle East the educational outreach policies of The United Arab Emirates and Qatar continue to internationalize the region and its student population.

The United Arab Emirates has announced plans to boost space science in higher education as well as space research and development. The plan will position the UAE as a regional hub for space science and education.

There are more women enrolling in higher education worldwide than men.

Future international educational enrollment is tied to the world economic outlook.  College and university enrollment, especially in Europe, will be impacted for a long time by the economic distress experienced in many European countries.

An uncertain financial future is forcing many U.K. students to forego the traditional gap year and enroll directly into college or university.