Chelsea Samantha

Managing risk with holistic diversification strategies


Multiple governments, universities and consultants have flagged the underlying financial risk of a lack of diversification for universities.  Global study destinations face growing uncertainties: border closures, disruptions to international travel, currency fluctuations, diplomatic rows, and government interventions make internationalization a balancing act. International students from India and China make up over 40% of international enrolments in UK universities and over 50% of international enrollments in North American universities. For Australian universities, roughly 6 out of every 10 international students enrolled is from India or China.   

Diversification lies at the core of international recruitment strategy: it helps universities create the right mix of students and programmes to be successful in their future planning.  

Of course, geographical diversification should be a major focus of university decision-makers. The pandemic has introduced even more uncertainty with border closures and disruptions to both international travel and on-campus teaching. These uncertainties add to the complexities of currency fluctuations, diplomatic rows, and government interventions. The concentration of students from certain countries not only impacts the diversity of perspectives in the classroom. It lowers the resilience of universities to changes in global demand.    

Geographical diversification, however, is interrelated with other aspects of diversification. Decisions about which recruitment countries universities should focus on must consider student interest in different disciplines and subjects, across different levels and formats. Diversification can be thought of from a strategy and portfolio point of view. ​However, a robust diversification strategy must also consider the diversity of students in the classroom in a more holistic way.  

Edwin van Rest, Studyportals CEO says: “A diverse classroom mitigates risk, but more importantly, it drives education quality and prepares students for a global world. Diversification is a cornerstone of international higher education, so being informed of the latest trends in student interest across the world gives universities an advantage.” 

A new report from Studyportals and Unibuddy, The next frontiers – Diversifying student recruitment focuses on diversifying source countries in the context of broader diversification. It provides insights into the behaviour and aspirations of students in 17 countries that might be interesting for universities based on growth and student interest. For these 17 countries, the report identifies the fastest-growing destinations and subject areas, key demographic factors, and student concerns across 6 categories, from money to admissions. 


For more updates, follow us!


More Blog Posts