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Clipping is a handy way to collect and organize the most important slides from a presentation. Envisage International Blog - Online marketing and international education company offering help and assistance to students around the world. Sexual assault has been increasingly discussed on campuses across the United States, as repeat issues of sexual violence continue and schools try to find the best way to comply with Title IX. In fact, when polling schools at the many NAFSA conference we visited, Title IX was on the forefront of many peoples’ minds. 1 out of every 5 women is sexually assaulted in college and in 75-80% of cases, she knew her attacker. This, in conjunction with the legal obligation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, has made schools cautious about how to approach the topic of gender discrimination. Back in 2011, a Dear Colleague Letter on Title IX was sent to schools who received Federal financial assistance by the Department of Education. Many schools used this Dear Colleague Letter as the newly guiding document on how to avoid investigation – that was until a few weeks ago when the Department of Education said that this letter does not “carry the force of law”. Unfortunately for schools, the Act is the only enforceable document, and all other guidance is just that – a set of recommendations on how to comply.
We will continue to follow the discussion and debate surrounding Title IX, and would love to hear from you! Change and evolution is a part of any industry, and its how you adapt, develop and react to these changes that are key.
Most notably we have been dealing with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, and how this has affected international students and schools. More recently, the major movements in the industry are appearing not from direct changes or regulation adjustments, but rather as a knock-on effect. As experts in the field, that is where we step in and work constantly to provide information and resources to the industry that is both insightful and helpful, but also keep our colleagues updated on all the latest developments and trends.
The guide is designed to be a complete overview of all aspects of international insurance as it relates to the international education industry. We will be updating the guide a few times during the year, making sure we include new trends, changes and adjustments within the market. The guide is part of a long list of resources and benefits that we are building for the international education industry, more of which you can see on our school resources page. Valencia Community College is very effective marketing themselves and their value proposition online.
First, let’s outline a few of the benefits of a two-year community college Associate Degree, then we will address how to effectively market the value of a community college to international students.
They do not have some of the rigorous admission requirements many institutions have, making the admission, transcript and enrollment process easier. A lot of community colleges offer English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, putting aside any language obstacles. They have done a great job formulating 2+2 partnerships and articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities. Now let’s look at how your school can effectively market the value of a community college to international students.
Agents – The use of Agents is gaining more and more traction as this recruiting tactic becomes accepted in the US. Online Marketing – We all know students are searching for and researching schools online. Word of mouth – There is no better form of advertising or marketing than word of mouth. These are just a few ways your school can effectively market the value of a community college to international students. The first is that community colleges are increasingly proactive about recruiting international students.
Community colleges are also doing a good job forming and marketing their 2+2 programs and partnerships, working with EducationUSA and showing the value and benefits of a community college education. As the number of Chinese students in the US continues to grow, the percentage growth has been slowing for a variety of factors – read last month’s blog post for an overview. Now that Affordable Care Act (ACA) group insurance plans have been in the marketplace for a few years, the effects of moving to this style of insurance plan are starting to take shape. We are also starting to see insurance carriers in the USA, traditionally offering just ACA style plans, now looking to offer non-ACA compliant plans either alongside, or in replacement of ACA plans. Contrast that process to building a single site that is responsive to the device used to access the site, and which deploys the correctly sized site and appropriate content. 2015 proved to be a tough year for US for-profit colleges and universities, which lead to a big push towards international student recruitment into US campuses and the development of new campus locations overseas. Devry also reported a 176% new student growth rate in their Brazil division in the third quarter, with total student growth of 76%.With diving revenues and enrollments, and stricter regulations on US soil, US-based for-profit schools will continue their shift towards the international market, with Brazil remaining a primary in-country target despite the ongoing recession in Brazil as students and families are driven to less costly, private domestic education options.
Topics like sexual assault, mental health, Title IX, and racial discrimination were in the news and engendered a lot of discussion in 2015, but 2016 will be the year that schools make real strides on these touchy topics.
We admit, we predicted this in 2015 as well, but it is kind of a no-brainer with the NACAC decision from a few years past.
Early benchmark tests indicate that PHP 7 is twice as fast and uses just half the memory of version 5.6. Although many companies and webmasters skipped the upgrade to PHP 6, as there wasn’t a clear enough benefit to all of the update work, we think that same analysis will push people to adopt PHP 7. Dependent insurance coverage has come into the spotlight in 2015, and we expect this trend to gather pace into 2016. As insurers look to reduce their risk, dependent coverage is usually the first to go on these plans. Miraculous, because China’s economy has grown over 10% per year for the past 20 years, according to official government data, an amazing feat, particularly for such a large economy.
The stock market crash, where the Shanghai Composite Index lost 34% of its value from June to September this year, also got a lot of attention – how will it impact household wealth, and consequently student’s access to international education? Naturally, a faltering economy can reduce student mobility, particularly for a market as expensive as the US, so much attention has been focused on whether the rate of growth from China will slow. As the overall number gets bigger, it naturally gets more difficult to grow at the same rate.
I won’t try to rehash each of these points here – read his excellent blog post for that.  But he makes a compelling case, not so much based on economic slowdown as on these other factors.
We made ten predictions related to the world of international education back in January of this year. The number of international students in the US will exceed 950,000 in the 2014-2015 academic year. Insurance has been on the front burner in international education, as the ACA and J1 regulations have had schools and participants variously concerned, engaged and paying attention. However, for schools committed to ACA plans, there’s a whole a new set of issues to grapple with. While the desire is there and the market continues to grow, we have not seen the domestic recruiters do much more than dip their toes into international recruiting. What we have seen is companies that have a focus on international recruitment change course a bit and work to upgrade their models and technology to focus on more trackable results to catch up with the domestic side. This prediction is tied directly to #4 above, whereby a previously profitable domestic business looks to beef up revenue from international sources. Continued growth in international students flocking to the US, coupled with a difficult financial picture for many schools, will drive more colleges and universities to adopt non-traditional recruiting methods and online marketing strategies. This is backed up by the fact that, according to the Agent Barometer, 80% of all agents surveyed anticipated sending more international students to the US in 2015 than 2014 and 91% felt the US was the most attractive destination to send international students. We all know that students are researching colleges and universities online and this trend will continue as students become more savvy. President Obama, inspired by a new Tennessee plan, has announced a proposal to provide free community college tuition for two years to anyone in the country, regardless of age. Not that any state program will change the overall financial picture for international students – the US is not on a path to become the next Finland (which has just reversed an earlier decision to start charging tuition to international students). We didn’t see a surge of free two year college programs sweep the nation, but we did see strides in the right direction including two other states (Oregon and Minnesota) follow Tennessee in creating a free community college program, ten other states introduce legislation to create a free community college program, and numerous other states begin to offer performance based funding at either two-year institutions, four-year institutions, or both.
You will start to see SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) everywhere – that means the little lock icon and yellow url that lets you know you are on a secure site. Mobile and tablet traffic will to continue to grow and there will be a rush to convert non-responsive sites to accommodate those visitors. Mobile device traffic has grown to about 48% of our site visits from approximately 35% last year.

Visitor engagement and site speed will become increasingly important aspects of a website’s SEO signals. Site speed is a major factor in a positive user experience and studies have shown that 74% of users will abandon a site if the mobile view takes more than 5 seconds to load.
And here are our sites, clocking in at 1 to 1.5 seconds, faster than at least 80% of the sites out there.
This year Brazil fell into a deep recession as the numbers continued to show more and more unfavorable evidence that the light at the end of the economic tunnel was dimming. This is especially bad news as Brazil is the second largest economy in the Western Hemisphere after the US and the seventh largest economy in the world. In the field of international education, colleges and programs are scratching their heads trying to make sense of this. With less disposable income and a poor financial outlook on the economy, Brazilian families are going to have to think long and hard about what programs are worth investing in. Not only will programs be further scrutinized by families, but a greater importance will be placed on scholarships and other aid to help fuel student’s ability to afford their study abroad. In addition to these considerations, families will also be evaluating the location of their program. Mr. Visa work restrictions during and after a student’s program will greatly influence the ultimate decision of if and where to go. As domestic enrollments decrease, increased government oversight and revenue falling, more for-profit schools turn to international as a way to boost falling profits. A quick visit to DeVry’s site will show you they are welcoming international students to their US campuses. As college students, we are constantly on the Internet either researching for a paper or just wasting time on Facebook or Perez Hilton. 3) Zumeo- This is a great website for a college student who is interested in networking, looking for internships, or even a career. 5)Campusbooks – So if you are sick of paying inflated prices on textbooks at the college bookstore, then campusbooks is for you. This letter reminded schools that they must have at least one employee to help schools comply with their legal responsibilities under this Act.
This vague instruction, as some see it, is intentionally vague, so that schools are forced to apply the law in the strictest of applications, so that they do not end up on a list of education institutions that have open Title IX investigations going on. This is especially true when it comes to the international insurance industry, while not the most fast-paced industry in terms of change, over the last few years we have seen developments that have impacted most in the international education sector. Coupled with this, we then had the changing insurance requirements for the J1 Visa, one of the few visas to include minimum insurance requirements. As we highlighted in our predictions for 2016, we envisage a decline in the popularity of ACA plans along with lack of insurance options for dependents.
This is especially true when a field such as international insurance is so important to educators and their students, but is often a secondary field that many may not have the opportunity or time to research and stay abreast of all the changes. While our yearly trends and insights are a great way to do this, over the course of the last 6 months we have been developing our best practices guide for the industry, titled “Selecting and Managing International Student Health Insurance”. Starting with the healthcare system in the USA and how it interacts with international insurance coverage, to legally mandated insurance requirements, what you need to consider when looking for international student coverage and all the way through different plan setup, options and benefit requirements.
It will therefore not only be an excellent guide for someone new to the industry, but also for seasoned professionals who are looking to find out the very latest news and developments when it comes to insurance. But this year the slowdown will hit the real numbers, which have grown by a low of 29,587 to a high of 41,568 every year for the past six years.
Most notably, rates are increasing as insurers come to grips with plans that now have much richer benefits, and therefore higher utilization. As schools become more educated about the differences and benefits of both plan options and do side-by-side comparisons, the popularity of ACA insurance plans will decline over the year. Responsive CSS frameworks like Bootstrap, Foundation and Skeleton have eased the pain involved in building beautiful sites, and by starting the development cycle from the smallest phone screens and working up to the desktop, we can now create sites that look great on every device imaginable. Title IX and mental health discussions are everywhere, and schools can no longer hide any dirty laundry. Costs of RAM and more CPU cores are the main factors in pushing up the price of your monthly hosting bill.
Coverage for dependents has always been expensive on insurance plans, but now with ACA plans requiring full maternity, wellness and pre-existing condition coverage, many school insurance plans are suffering from much higher utilization in these areas and therefore higher premiums at renewal. Despite this social platform having the means to appeal to the masses, data continues to support that more traditional means of communication like email and phone calls prove to be more effective in reaching students. China now has the largest middle class in the world, with 109 million Chinese with wealth between $50,000 and $500,000. Even the official Chinese government numbers, which many view skeptically as overly positive, show GDP growth below 7% in the latest quarter. Of course, the financial impact to families from a weakening economy play into some of these factors, particularly #2, as the assumption is these students are less financially secure than those from the big cities, and #4, as home-grown options cost less.  We have already seen data showing a slowdown in Chinese graduate students. And John Hudzik, quoted in a September 11 Inside Higher Ed article, makes the point that saving for education is a long-term commitment for middle-class Chinese families, and there’s already a tremendous pipeline of high school students abroad and English learners.
With a slowing Chinese economy and a slowing growth rate from China, for sure, but that’s not the end of the story. That’s a big number, but we think its possible as China (though slowing – see below) will continue to send more students, while major growth will come from countries with a strong home country government scholarship program like Brazil, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. There are nearly 300,000 Chinese students studying in the US, more than the total number of international students in all but a handful of countries.
There’s been a lot of discussion about what to expect going forward from Chinese student mobility, with a lot of factors in play, including the slowing Chinese economy, the rapid development of the Chinese higher ed sector, and saturation in some markets – read our blog post for more China analysis.
Don’t get us wrong, we’ve enjoyed the limelight – but now we expect insurance to fade back as schools, exchange organizations and insurers all have a much clearer picture of the requirements and expectations. With ACA plans now covering a whole range of benefits that were typically excluded in the past, the cost of these plans is rising. As the domestic market becomes more regulated and tougher to thrive in, 2015 will see more of these “domestic” recruiting and lead generation companies commit to international education in a bigger way. As an example, other than a $1,000 scholarship for international students, there is no other mention of international on the Cappex site. There is a lot of work to do to get to where the domestic recruiters are, both on the school side and the vendor side, but they have begun to evolve over the last year. While the for-profit sector will continue to come under scrutiny and even continue to see schools sold off, closed down and turn to non-profit status, you will see the ones that are trying to survive (yes, the big ones) begin to compete more aggressively for the pool of international students.
From personal observations, we are seeing schools like Full Sail, who have been ahead of the curve in recruiting international students for a few years, at workshops like ICEF and representatives from Devry at NAFSA conferences.
As we know, in 2014 NACAC laid out their International Student Recruitment Agencies: A Guide for Schools, Colleges and Universities. Clearly there has been an increase in schools that are turning to both the use of agents and digital marketing efforts.
We see the interest in digital marketing increasing first hand, by the growing acceptance of online marketing at conferences, by the number of schools that contact us, and by the number of school partners that we have added this year. Just as the Affordable Care Act looks a lot like what Massachusetts did a few years earlier, this federal proposal also seems modeled on the exciting new world of college affordability in Tennessee. While a greater number of students will rely on home country sponsorship, personal and family support will continue to make up the largest percentage of student funding. Between data protection issues as we go from one high-profile hack to another, and Google’s announcement late in 2014 that secure pages will enjoy a slight increase in ranking signals, webmasters will be transitioning their non-secure sites to SSL in droves. Major sites like Netflix, YouTube, Facebook and a few others did automatically move everyone to SSL encrypted traffic this year.
Google has already added the words “Mobile-Friendly” to the search results pages for mobile devices.
Faster sites that keep visitors engaged (think content, layout and navigation) will continue to rank well and sites with a poor user experience will suffer as Google refines its algorithms. As indicators continued to confirm that Brazil was in a recession, many people in international higher ed have been concerned about the impact on international students and exchange visitors coming to the US, especially as Brazil is the #6 sender of students to the US. There are reasons to believe that with such a large economy linked to global markets that these troubles could eventually travel internationally as well.
According to a recent survey by BMI, 61% of agents are expecting fewer students to go abroad compared to 2014 – however 39% said they expected an increase.
Programs like the Science Without Borders (Ciencia sem Fronteiras, or CsF) – a one-year, non-degree program for Brazilian college students in STEM majors – are going to be even more important if Brazil wants to continue to send a large number of students to the US and other countries.
Basseggio went on to say, “Canada, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia are all taking tremendous advantage of their weaker currencies and are therefore regaining the market share they once had. These and other questions will impact the competitive advantage of countries to compete for these students. They are not only recruiting international students to their campuses in the US, they are opening schools overseas.

Take a second away from Facebook and check out these websites, which will make our lives a tad easier. It is easy to use and allows you to create an online resume, which Zumeo connects with social networks so you can find likeminded professionals. This is a great resource for students interested in an internship and want fellow students reviews.
In both cases, there was lots of confusion and misinformation swirling around the international education community (and there still is), as schools were trying to understand and work out how these changes impacted them. There’s been a lot of discussion and analysis about the slowing growth rate, but that slowdown hasn’t yet meant a true drop in the number of net students coming to the US – this year, it will.
With international students exempt from the individual mandate under the ACA, schools are increasingly looking at non-ACA compliant insurance plans as they are often more competitively priced and more appropriately tailored to the needs of international students.
Universities will be ready to drop the veil on any potential areas of improvement, and also armed with the necessary resources to turn any of these areas of weakness into areas of strength. However, since 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35 and 75% are outside the US, in 2016 more colleges and universities (especially international student offices) will jump on the Instagram bandwagon as the social platform continues to grow amongst their target market.
Dueling reports from consultants have the number of millionaires in China at over 1 million millionaires, according to Bain & Co, and at over 4 million, according to Boston Consulting Group.
The Council of Graduate Schools reports that the number of graduate applicants from China to US schools was down by 1% this year,  following a 5% decline last year. Rahul Choudaha, in his own piece in the University World News, seems to agree, arguing that the US continues to have the strongest allure among Chinese students as compared to other top English-language destinations.
Most commentators seem to agree that we’ll continue to see some growth in the number of students from China – that alone is significant, considering the size of the current population. The Saudi Arabia KASP program will expand further (Saudi Arabia now is the #4 sender of students to the United States), while Brazil’s Science Without Borders program announced 100,000 more scholarships this year for STEM students (Brazil is currently the #10 sender of students to the US). The big story that we missed on this was India, going from 102,673 to 132,888, growth of 29.2%. With international students exempt from the ACA for their first 5 calendar years in the US , and new J1 visa insurance regulations going into full effect in May, regulatory uncertainty is behind us for a while.
Schools are working to redesign or reconsider their ACA plans, as many carriers are dropping dependents and rising premium puts a strain on budgets.
Companies like Cappex and Education Dynamics will look to take their domestic models and internationalize them. The one exception to this would be Chegg with the acquisition of Zinch and their expansion outside of what Zinch did in China to other markets across the globe.
As mentioned in our blog on the topic, Devry’s overall revenue is down, yet international is up by 15%. Colleges and universities have now had 2014 to digest the report and integrate agents into their strategies for 2015 and beyond. According to ICEF, their conference in Miami that focuses on the North American market has seen an increase in agents attending the conference by almost 10% and represent 12% more countries than last year. Other online marketing companies are experiencing the same growth and increased interest in the international space. And though the Obama proposal is unlikely to go anywhere considering the current political climate and makeup of Congress, simply putting the proposal out there will spur other states to look creatively at college affordability programs.
There are still a few large sites that aren’t doing it, Amazon and Bing being two of the largest. Emails will also need to look good on phones, tablets and other internet connected devices, and mobile-friendly emails will become the norm in 2015. It will be interesting to see how this changes as mobile devices are released with high resolution screens.
Conversion rates are also negatively affected by slow loading times – for every second saved loading a page you can expect a significant boost in your site’s conversion rate.
What had once been a Mecca of recruitment for schools and agents, it appears to be fizzling out – at least for now. While the results of the study show a difference in opinion, that difference could rest on the notion that families have savings, and have already put aside money for their children to study overseas. Instead, families may not send their child to a language course abroad and instead invest their money into a bachelor’s or graduate degree instead where the rewards seem greater and more tangible. Not good news, though, considering that the pressure on public finances has suspended new scholarships in 2016. This website allows you to manage all the daily tasks that sometimes we allow to slip away. The letter further discussed ways to comply with Title IX, along with procedures that should be followed. We are part of this trend, as we plan to follow up our Mental Health Awareness video and NAFSA sessions with a similar treatment of sexual assault on campus. There also seems to be some consensus that unless it becomes more extreme and more prolonged, the economic slowdown in China won’t have a big impact.
Most of this growth was at the postgraduate level, which was fueled by the recovering rupee, a growing Indian population in the US, and an improved US economy that is viewed to offer better training opportunities. This year, we expect growth in the numbers from China to drop into the 10-12% range, down from over 16% this past year and 21% the year before. We saw proof of this in Miami at ICEF 2014, having yet again their best attended Miami conference to date.
There will also be 26% more colleges and universities in attendance this year, showing the increased interest by US schools to use agents.
Read more in our blog post about states putting affordable access to higher education as a top priority.
The current crop of mobile phones like the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 Plus all have screen resolutions rivalling those of a desktop monitor. This could be a blow to schools and agencies around the world, as there were 23,675 international students in the US in 2014-15, up staggeringly 78.2% over the year before. This suggests instead, that the international education field may feel the true impact of the recession over the next few years and not immediately.
Schools will also play an important role, where they will be evaluating their diversity profile on campus, and determine whether aid should be extended to these students as well.
DeVry also has been expanding its international presence, most recently with several acquisitions in Brazil.” DeVry’s additional expansion into Europe, Asia and the Caribbean has meant that while their overall revenue is down, their international revenue is up over 15%. The best part of Remember the Milk is that you can sync it to your Google Calendar or many other social networks.
These and other questions continued to resurface in our conversations, especially when trying to also deal with the complexity of international students in the mix.
At some point, though, there will come a tipping point, when all of the factors examined by Todd Maurer will actually freeze, then even start to reduce, the number of Chinese students in the US.
Brazil, on the other hand, had staggering growth, but leading indicators are suggesting that this growth may start to drop off in the years to come. A few reasons – a cooling economy, cooling relations (as a result of retrenched communist party control, including significant travel restrictions), as well as the continued difficulties for US campuses to absorb such large numbers from a single country. Most of the larger for-profits are now set up with advisors that are only dedicated to international recruitment, similar to traditional schools.
From an online marketing perspective, we are seeing tremendous growth in our school partners as well as the amount of interest in schools coming on board in 2015.
Several large and scary bugs surfaced this year like FREAK, Logjam and POODLE and probably slowed the adoption of SSL everywhere. The resolutions are higher, but with physical dimensions of the screens being around 4.5-6,” will people want the full desktop view on a handheld device? No one seems to be holding their breath that this growth will be sustained in years to come. Moreover, the types of programs that students are pursuing and the location of those programs will matter more than ever. Experts are on hand to answer your questions, and you can also connect on Facebook with Course 2.0, which allows you to upload your schedule and connect with fellow classmates. The biggest difference is that their marketing budgets are much larger that traditional schools.
We are seeing the effects of the growing numbers of international students that want to study in the US in our own site traffic numbers, showing dramatic year over year growth.
Better yet, Cramster is a Chegg Company (the company that we rent textbooks and plant trees when we rent the textbooks).
The question we have moving forward is – how much of those large budgets will be dedicated to the international piece of the pie?

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