Total global higher education enrolment
According to the most recent recorded enrolment numbers released by UNESCO, there were 207 million enrolments during 2014, an annual growth rate of 4.4%. The number of students worldwide enrolling in higher education is forecast to grow to 263 million by 2025, which would represent 2.2% growth per annum over the next 11 years.
Historically enrolments have proved to be robust to economic crises, nor influenced by other macro factors which affect the real estate market. As a result of this, demand for student accommodation is often referred to as non-cyclical’.
Internationally mobile students
Internationally mobile students increased to just over 5 million in 2014 and are expected to grow to 8 million by 2025. A number of country-specific studies show that welcoming globally mobile students bring considerable socio-economic benefits. The USA currently raises USD $27 billion from its fee-paying system and Germany raises EURO 272 million despite having a fee-free regime in place. International students are also considered to create jobs, increase social and cultural diversity and fulfil existing skills-gaps. In summary, attracting international students is generally perceived as highly positive.
Economic benefits of higher education
International and country specific research continues to demonstrate that attracting international students brings significant economic benefits to a country.
Overall, the net contribution (total contribution from tuition, fees and living expenses minus US support) of international students to the US economy was significant, growing 72% since the 2007/08 academic year, from US$16 billion to US$27 billion.
For every 7 international students enrolled, 3 US jobs are created or supported, and in the 2013-14 academic year international students created or supported a total of 340,000 jobs nationwide.
The international education sector is Australia’s third largest export behind coal and gas.
International students contribute over 8 billion pounds to the UK each year.
Higher education in emerging markets
A number of emerging markets have very ambitious and aggressive plans for their higher education sectors.
New technology and the growing sophistication of economies have generated demand for new and different skills. The shift away from agriculture towards services and, to a lesser extent, manufacturing requires new skills including accountancy and management. By 2030 the majority of people in Africa and Asia will live in urban areas, creating demand for skills in planning and engineering. As a consequence of urban centres, new demands will arise, such as teaching, law, and other white collar business skills.
This growing demand for higher education is primarily originating from developing nations, as required skills for changing economies increases.
- By 2020, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Pakistan, India, Mexico, Egypt, the Philippines and Vietnam will have 25% of the world’s population aged 18-22
- By 2050, 1 in 4 people will live in Africa – opportunity for a demographic dividend
- By 2015, Africa needs to double the number of HE teaching staff in order to retain the current 1:20 teacher-student ratio
- By 2020, tertiary enrolments are expected to increase by 70% in Nigeria, 100% in Ethiopia and 35% in Bangladesh
- To achieve a target gross enrolment ratio of 30% by 2020, India requires 500 new universities and $100 billion investment
- Total enrolments in China grew from 9.4m to 31.3m in the last decade
- Spends $180bn per annum on higher education with plans to double by 2020 (UK spends $37.4bn with limited plans for growth in expenditure)
- Target of attracting 500,000 international students by 2020
- China is attempting to create/host as many Tier 1/Ivy League universities as the US within the next twenty years
- Currently hosts 5 universities in the Times Higher Education Top Global 100 rankings
- Total enrolments in India grew by 9.8m to 26.6m in last decade
- Stated its ambition to become a top five global scientific power by 2020
- 1 in 4 people will live in Africa by 2050
- Plans to increase university participation from average of 8% to 50% by 2063