Can U.S. Universities Compete in the Southeast Asian Transnational Education Market?

According to WES’ recent survey of U.S.-bound international millennial students, 44% of students from Southeast Asia considered pursuing a foreign degree in a country other than the U.S., compared to 33% of overall respondents. International enrollment data from the Institute of International Education also shows that, although the number of undergraduate students from the region increased 22% between 2009/10 and 2013/14, the number of graduate students dropped 13% over the same time period. Last year, the total number of Southeast Asian students studying in the U.S. rose only 1.8%, which is a slower rate of growth than other developing regions such as Latin America (+8.2%) and West Africa (+3.8%). The increase within Southeast Asia is skewed towards Vietnam and Indonesia, which jointly accounted for 86% of the regional growth last year. These facts beg the question: How can U.S. schools continue competing for students from Southeast Asia?