US organizations unite to gain edge in ‘race for international talent’

Among the seven identified goals of the coalition is to expand the diversity of its international student community.

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With more than 3,000 higher education institutions in the country, the US has more capacity than any other nation to welcome a great, more diverse community of international students, according to Amit Sevak, CEO of Educational Testing Service (ETS). 

ETS is one of the 11 organizations that established the US for Success Coalition (USSC), a consortium that primarily advocates for policy changes that will help the US maintain its appeal as a destination for international students.

The US for Success Coalition members include the Association of International Enrollment Management, Alliance for International Exchange, ETS, FWD.us, Institute of International Education, Niskanen Center, NAFSA, Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, Shorelight, Association of International Education Administrators, and World Education Services.

Recovering in the international talent race

“We’re losing the race for international talent in the United States,” Sevak said in an interview with MSM Reporter. “Our organizations cut across education, think tanks, and advocacy to ensure we’re thinking holistically about our approach to how we best serve international students here in the US.” 

Among the seven identified goals of the coalition is to expand the diversity of its international student community. 

“We’ll do this through issuing policy recommendations and working with policymakers as well as offering resources to institutions to help expand opportunities for international students to succeed in the US,” said Sevak. 

As it grows, the coalition seeks to ensure expanding representation in higher education and governments. Involving government officials, said Sevak, ensures that the consortium is considering the contributions that international students make outside of the classroom and in local and state economies. 

“Many college towns across the country rely on and benefit from international student workers in their communities, and we want to ensure that is maintained,” Sevak cited as an example. 

One of USSC’s interconnected goals is to facilitate immigration pathways for international students, which is inclusive of employment-based visas and immigration for F-1 international students who are seeking to launch their careers in the US after graduation, are recruited by American companies, and protect experiential learning programs that give students work experience.

India overtakes China in biggest student cohort

The Open Doors 2023 Report of the US State Department and the Institute of International Education recently revealed that the US hosted more than 1 million international students during the 2022-23 academic year, marking a rapid 12 percent increase from the previous year or the highest growth rate in over 40 years. 

Sevak highlighted the “enormous growth” of students coming from India, which logged a 35 percent year-over-year increase. 

“ETS has also witnessed this trend, related to our own data on TOEFL and GRE test-taking volumes, shift in a similar fashion with India eclipsing China in the last few years. Regardless of country of origin, however, when international students choose the US to earn their degrees, we all succeed,” he said of the report findings. 

“International students create jobs, drive innovation and research, enrich our classrooms, strengthen national security, and become America’s greatest foreign policy ambassadors. For these and many other reasons, diversifying enrollment of international students is imperative.”

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