Beth McMurtrie, Washington. A panel discussion on Thursday about how to better promote American higher education abroad turned into a debate over the dangers of seeing international students as revenue generators for cash-strapped colleges.
The discussion was part of a three-day EducationUSA conference that has brought together 250 college representatives as well as staff members from EducationUSA's 40 offices overseas. As global competition for international students accelerates, the State Department has put more resources into EducationUSA, whose network of more than 400 centers is the primary means by which the United States promotes American higher education abroad.
Thursday's session focused on how the State Department could better work with national organizations, including the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and the National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals. Also on the panel were representatives of Community Colleges for International Development and the National Association for College Admission Counseling, or NACAC.
A proposal by NACAC to ban its members from using commission-based recruiting agents abroad was the topic of a session on Wednesday, drawing questions about why a national organization would get involved in what some colleges see as an internal decision on the best way to recruit students.