Update on ‘Will shifting currency exchange rate differentials (2005-2007) redirect flows of foreign students?’

This 11 October 2007 entry (‘Will shifting currency exchange rate differentials (2005-2007) redirect flows of foreign students?’) has always attracted a lot regular visits, perhaps from university students considering international options for their education, and from university and ministry officials.

In response to a reader’s request for an update, I got curious so quickly updated the currency exchange rate differential graph and have inserted it underneath the original, so you can see what has happened since 11 October.

I’ll place both graphs below too.

As you can see the most notable diverging currency in 2008, at least with respect to the US$, is the AUS$. Also see this recent entry (‘Analysing Australia’s global higher ed export industry’) for more information on the Australian scene.

I am curious how long the strong inflow numbers to Australia can continue given the rising strength of the AUS$ against that of the US, the world’s No. 1 foreign student destination, and location of most of the world’s highly ranked universities. But then again students and parents think about much more than exchange rates.

For example, the trends evident in ‘Analysing Australia’s global higher ed export industry’ should be related to these figures on tremendous increase in the number of Asian students, a social and demographic transition that Australia has managed to hook into, such that many students are angling for landed immigrant status above all. Thus, despite some critiques of the level of quality of higher education services on offer (partly spurred on by structural changes profiled in graphs like these), and the currency exchange rate differentials noted above, Australia’s export promotion machine appears to be chugging along.

Kris Olds

One thought on “Update on ‘Will shifting currency exchange rate differentials (2005-2007) redirect flows of foreign students?’

  1. I don’t think currency conversion is the only issue. The college I work at (Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska) once averaged around 15 percent international students, partly because of our affiliation with the Seventh-day Adventist Church world wide, partly because of our recruiting strategy at the time. However, since 2001 and the tightening of America’s borders, our international student population has halved.

    I’m not sure what the current success rate is, but I remember in 2004 only one out of every 30 of our international applicants were granted a visa. These were kids who have shown sufficient financial resources and had their applications accepted by the college. I doubt the situation has improved much since then.

    In other words, the problem with America as a destination spot for international students is not only the cost of tuition, but also a federal government that seems intent on killing off a very lucrative source of income and an enervating source of diversity for higher education in the name of security.

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