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Student migration is the movement of students who study outside their country of birth or citizenship for a period of 12 months or more. During the period of globalization, the internationalization of higher education increased dramatically and it has become a market driven activity. With the rapid rise of international education more and more students are seeking higher education in foreign countries and many international students now consider overseas study a stepping-stone to permanent residency within a country. The contributions that foreign students make to host nation economies, both culturally and financially has encouraged major players to implement further initiatives to facilitate the arrival and integration of overseas students, including substantial amendments to immigration and visa policies and procedures.
During the colonial period, the majority of student flow came from colonies to the world capitals. Imperial governments provided pathways for selected nationals to pursue higher education. The concept of studying abroad was based on the assumption that graduates would return to their homeland to serve colonial administration once they had developed skills and absorbed the values of the colonial rulers.
The Cold War era had a significant impact on foreign aid and the funding of overseas students. The policy of distributing scientific knowledge and sharing industrial progress with the developing world required the help of higher education institutions. Support for USAID linked the foreign policy mission with support to higher education. Cold war rivals funded study abroad programmes and were in competition to attract students from the developing world.
One of the most famous international exchange programmes that facilitates and encourages international student migration is the Fulbright Program. Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program provides grants for students, scholars, teachers and professionals to undertake studies and research. The Fulbright Program was initially funded by using proceeds from the sales of surplus war property and was founded on the principal of promoting “international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science”.
The Colombo Plan was another program that encouraged the movement of students between countries. The Colombo Plan was established in 1951 with the intention of strengthening economic and social development of the Asia Pacific region. The Colombo Plan has been responsible for sponsoring over 40,000 Asian students to study or train in Australian higher education institutions. Funding is provided by member countries, which includes a mixture of 26 Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries.
Since the colonial and Cold War eras, the profile of international students has made a significant shift. The way in which students travel has changed, and the majority of students seeking education abroad are now self-funded.
Financing and cost
The international student market has become an important source of revenue for local economies and many institutions rely heavily on the income brought by cross-border students. Receiving countries could benefit from qualified skilled migrants who make considerable contributions to their new countries.
In most host countries, higher education was tuition fee-free. Until the 1980s, many countries had not any provision for levying fees on domestic and international students. The UK was the first to introduce fees on overseas students; other countries, such as Australia, began to follow suit.
The international market for students now accounts for billions of dollars and, subsequently, competition between institutions is fierce. Studying abroad is expensive and in most cases is funded by the individual.
In OECD countries there are three patterns to the levying of fees:
In some countries fees for international students are higher than domestic students. This occurs in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. Sweden started levying fees for non-European students from 2011.
Some countries make no distinction between international and domestic student fees. Tuition fees remain the same for foreign and domestic students in France, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Japan.
Countries such as Denmark, Finland and Norway have not begun levying tuition fees from foreign students.
Courtesy : Wikipedia